The Limelight Performing Arts and Youth Theatre in Gilbert is kicking off the new year with a musical based on one of the most popular comedy films of the early part of this century.
“Legally Blonde, The Musical” will be performed by a cast of largely Chandler and Gilbert teens Jan. 15-19 at the Mesa Arts Center. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Jan 15-18 with matinees at 3 p.m. Jan. 18 and 2 p.m. Jan. 19.
Tickets can be purchased online at ll-pa.org/legallyblonde or at the box office at Mesa Arts Center.
Like the 2001 movie that starred Reese Witherspoon, the musical follows the transformation of Elle Woods from a woman with a degree in fashion into a law school grad.
Elle is dumped by her boyfriend when he’s accepted into Harvard Law school because he is playing off the stereotype that she is a dumb blonde and he is too good for her.
Unlike the Witherspoon movie, however, the musical is an “action-packed and exploding with memorable songs and dynamic dances,” a spokeswoman for the Limelight Theatre said.
And for some people who remember seeing the movie when it first came out, consider this: Kylie Burge, the Perry High senior who plays the Witherspoon role, wasn’t even born yet.
“My mom loved the movie and introduced me to it when I was young,” said Kylie, 17. “I fell in love with the movie, too!”
“When the musical was announced, MTV put on series called ‘The Search for Elle Woods.’ My mom and I were obsessed,” she said, adding:
“Playing Elle Woods in my high school’s production and now at Limelight is truly a dream. There’s a lot of pressure because people will be coming to the show expecting Reese Witherspoon. I’m not Reese Witherspoon, but I’m doing my best to bring her spirit to this role. I’ve watched the movie dozens of times and have spent my life studying her character.”
Artistic Director Emma England said, “Limelight shows are known for strong dancing, but ‘Legally Blonde’ takes this to a whole new level. The choreography is complex and fast-paced and requires a high level of ability from our performers. We also have cool dancing mannequins and extremely challenging jump-rope routines.”
“The set design for this show is especially cool,” England added. “We have one giant set that’s 32 feet tall, 15 feet high and 10 feet deep. It’s basically like a big Polly Pocket house and stays on stage the entire show. The set rotates and opens and shuts to match up with the right scene. This also means smooth and easy transitions between scenes and very few blackouts for the audience.”
In all, 44 young people are part of the musical.
Chandler residents and their schools who are part of the cast include Cole Blubaum, Tarwater Elementary; Natalie Cline, Santan Junior High; Zoey Hart, Elite Performance Academy; Matt Kienitz, Perry High; Layla King, Chandler High; Alyse Negroni, Hamilton High; Alina Pierzga, Chandler Online Academy; Remington Rathbun, Basha High; Sophia Sanchez, Santan Junior High; and Ava Wright, Bogle Junior High.
Gilbert performers include Connor Besemer, Perry; Laine Bombard, Casteel High; Paola Crespo, Basha Accelerated Middle School; Marguerite Durma, Katie Wright and Paige Shanks, Mesquite High; Paige Erdmann, Chandler Prep; Jordan Gingel, Highland High; Sawyer Hauk, Quartz Hill Elementary; and Adele Johns, Arete Preparatory Academy.
Other Gilbert young people include Isabella Lesinski and Eric O’Dell, both Perry; Garrett Lindsey, Hamilton; Eric O’Dell, Perry; Halle Prusse, Campo Verde; Isabel Vasquez, Corona del Sol; and Meredith Woodward and Kaitlyn Woodward, Gilbert Christian High.
Several Mesa students also are in the production, including: Joshua Boenzi and Owen Grover, Red Mountain High; Vincent Farley, AAEC Early College High School; McKenna Henry and Kylie Neef, who are homeschooled; Jonathan Johnston, Benjamin Franklin High; and Hailey Laidig and Abby Springer, Heritage Academy Mesa; and Savannah Springer, Bush Elementary.