You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Nov 10, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

A2CT ready to have more fun with 'Legally Blonde: The Musical'

By Jenn McKee


Kimmy Hay stars as Elle Woods in A2CT's "Legally Blonde: The Musical."

Photo by Kyle Farr

“Think Pink” isn’t just a famous number from the 1957 Audrey Hepburn/Fred Astaire movie, “Funny Face”—it’s also the current mindset of Wendy Sielaff, who’s directing Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”

“Ugh, I’m so tired of pink,” said Sielaff with a laugh. “There’s pink, pink and more pink in this show.”

Why? Because “Legally Blonde”—based on the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon—focuses on pink-loving, perky sorority girl Elle Woods, who chases her ex-boyfriend, Warner, from undergraduate school to Harvard Law in hopes of proving herself worthy of being taken seriously.

“I really enjoy doing newer releases,” said Sielaff. “Being one of the first to try something, and get your feet wet, and make it work. You’re not seeing everyone else’s version. It’s just you and your creativity. And that’s exciting to me.”

Sielaff did see the original Broadway production, but she noted, “Broadway has millions of dollars to work with, so the challenge is to take the same idea and make it work for community theater.”

One way to do that, of course, is to cast the perfect Elle Woods to carry the show.


”Legally Blonde”

  • Who: Ann Arbor Civic Theatre.
  • What: Based on the hit movie of the same name, this stage musical - with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and a book by Heather Hatch - “Legally Blonde” tells the story of Elle Woods, a perky sorority girl who chases her ex-boyfriend from undergraduate school to Harvard Law. While trying to prove to her ex that she’s smart enough to take seriously, Elle learns much more than she bargained for.
  • Where: Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 N. University in Ann Arbor.
  • When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, November 15-18.
  • How much: $10-$25. Call 734-971-2228 or visit
“I watch (U-M student Kimmy Hay) at rehearsal, and I think, ‘She is Elle,’” said Sielaff. “She’s always flitting around, full of energy, and she’s a college student. … And she was off-book within a week or two, so she’s really had the chance to work out Elle’s nuances.”

Hay dyed her dark brown hair blonde to play the show’s lead role, and she’ll be working with two dogs (a cast member’s dog as well as a rescue dog), which will play Elle’s dog Bruiser, and her friend’s dog, Rufus.

With music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and a book by Heather Hach, “Legally Blonde” opened on Broadway in 2007 and became a hit (particularly among preteen girls)—but not every film-to-stage adaptation enjoys success. What made this one work?

“I think they kept it true to the movie,” said Sielaff. “The songs they wrote were so right on for the show. I think it was a good collaboration, and it was amazing fun to watch.”

With 35 cast members, 20 set changes, and loads of choreography (by Caitlin Rowe and January Provenzola), “Blonde” has presented Sielaff with plenty of challenges. But the director has nonetheless found joy in the process.

“It’s just a fun, feel-good musical,” Sielaff said. “Everybody always leaves rehearsal smiling.”

Jenn McKee is the entertainment digital journalist for Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.



Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Why didn't this show cast younger people and more attractive sorority girls? Elle was adorable but everyone else looked like they graduated from college a decade ago. Either that or they put on more than their freshman 15. More like the freshman 50. Sorry, but this show could have looked a lot better if they would hire people that can act and dance. Not just sort of sing.


Sat, Nov 10, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

Hmm...not for nothing, this is now a way-overdone musical...just locally there have been 8 productions since May and 12 more within a 30 mile drive before 2012 is over.... Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to seeing this at A2CT because I am beginning to feel this is a show that can't be done on an amateur level and I'd like to see what A2CT does with it....I've seen Croswell Opera House's; Michigan State University's; Jackon Civic Theater's...none have been terrific....all three have had great Elle Woods...