A2CT ready to have more fun with 'Legally Blonde: The Musical'
Photo by Kyle Farr
“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.“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.”