Above: Tobey Patton (SHS ’20) as Emmett Forrest and Camille Foisie (SHS ‘21) as Elle Woods with left to right: Lexi Levins (SHS ’19), Macey Lavoie (SHS ’20), Teresa Shahin (SHS ’21), Chad Celini (SHS ’19), David Corro (SHS ’21) and JP Patterson (SHS ’19)
A cad from a privileged background being groomed for politics, a pretty girl in pink pumps no one will take seriously, a courtroom filled with high drama … and high-energy song and dance! Phew, that was starting to sound like a news story you’ve heard too many times before, but actually it’s a show you may have seen on the big screen. Staples Players brings the beloved story of Elle Woods to the stage at Staples High School this weekend with Legally Blonde The Musical, which runs through November 17. Tickets have sold so swiftly that a seventh performance was added (on Thursday, November 15).
This feel-good show whips up a pink storm of frothy entertainment but with a serious—and timely—message. “The humor of the film and show, the fun music, and the large number of interesting roles are what originally drew us to the piece,” says David Roth (SHS ’84), who co-directs with Kerry Long (SHS ’97). “Since we started working on it, we are very excited about what the show has to say about empowering women. It is a great show to do during the #MeToo Movement.”
Along with teachable moments will come the wow factor of a big dance show with a cast of 73, complete with an exhilarating jump-rope number. Co-Director Long says, “It’s been fun to work on a show that’s so poppy and fun. The students have been really enthusiastic about the comedy and dance.” Players fans know the choreographers, Broadway veterans Rachel MacIsaac and Christopher Hudson Myers, won’t disappoint.
Georgia Wright (SHS ’19) and Camille Foisie (SHS ’21) share the role of Elle, and have found her to be a much more complex character than your average fashion-obsessed miniature dog-owning gal. “Elle is strong, bold, kind, and, most importantly, smart,” comments Wright. “She’s a hard worker and fierce competitor, and she does it all in heels!” Bruiser Woods, Elle’s dog, is no average mutt either. Bruiser and Rufus, his canine pal, take the stage courtesy of Bill Berloni, the dog trainer behind the four-legged actors in the Broadway version of Legally Blonde as well as Annie’s Sandy.
Foisie, tackling the lead role as a sophomore, says, “With someone as optimistic and bubbly as Elle, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that she is also very vulnerable and emotional. This change is essential to the character.”
There are plenty of chauvinists around to test Elle’s rosy demeanor, like her pompous beau Warner Huntington III, played by Sam Mandelbaum (SHS ’19) and Max Herman (SHS ’19). Mandelbaum says, “Throughout my career in Players and at Bedford, I’ve never played just the ‘normal,’ ‘attractive’ male. Also, I am double cast with one of my best friends (Max) which is a blast, and it is a truly wonderful wrap-up to my Players fall shows having all of my fellow seniors be leading roles up there with me as well.” Mandelbaum’s cast includes Wright as Elle and Nick Rossi (SHS ’19) as Emmett. (Double cast performance schedules are listed on StaplesPlayers.com.)
Ben Roland (SHS ’19) steps out of his skin into a skin-tight UPS uniform as Kyle B. O’Boyle, a role he shares with Justin Dusenbury (SHS ’20). Both also play Grandmaster Chad, a reggae-loving frat boy at UCLA. “Fully becoming Kyle has been a challenge,” says Roland. “He is this macho man who is confident and good looking. I am practically the opposite! I may be confident, but getting into the mentality of a super masculine, straight man has been interesting. This role has been so fun because of its absurdity and the exuded sex appeal.”
Students also will be tickled to see their principal, Mr. D’Amico, on stage playing Winthrop, the Dean of Harvard Law Admissions. “The cast has been having so much fun seeing their principal act and even dance a little,” says Long.
For anyone looking for a refreshing break from the news and a fun outing with the family (“ear muffs” might be in order for elementary age kids), Legally Blonde The Musical is the perfect ticket. Mandelbaum says, “You’ll see Elle Woods going from a girl following a boy to the end of the earth to a woman who challenges the overbearing and tyrannical men in her life to become the hero of the story and truly show what ‘Girl Power’ is.”
Friday and Saturday Evenings: November 9,10, 16 & 17 at 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday Matinee: November 11 & 17 at 3:00 pm
Recently added due to demand: Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 pm
Staples High School Auditorium
70 North Avenue
Westport, CT 06880
$20 for adults, $15 for students, $15 for seniors (matinee only)
Tickets may be purchased online at StaplesPlayers.com or in the lobby 30 minutes prior to performances, subject to availability.
Run time is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes with one 10-minute intermission.
All photos by Kerry Long.