Never underestimate a law student in pink, especially if her name is Elle Woods. As the film “Legally Blonde” celebrates its 21st anniversary, Theater West will present “Legally Blonde: The Musical” July 14-23.
Director Caleb Long said the show’s script added more narrative for the development of the characters’ relationships compared to the film.
“What I’m most looking forward to is for the community to see a new version of the film,” Long said. “It’s the same story and characters you know and love, but it’s a brand new version of it. It brings a lot of fresh ideas and stories to the original.”
Austin Winter, who portrays Emmett, said this is his first role on Legally Blonde and that he’s having a great time.
“I think it sums up all my favorite things about musical theater,” he said. “It’s funny, entertaining, the music is great, there are heartfelt moments and I’m just looking forward to sharing that with the audience.”
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Long said the cast have been working over the past few weeks to develop the show and bring the footage to life through the story. This week the cast has focused on stagecraft to ensure they support the actors’ performances. He hopes audiences will enjoy the two-hour show. There is a break.
Bringing a film to the stage has its challenges as it requires many moving parts to keep the story flowing.
“With musicals, there are so many moving parts that you really want the story to be as simple as possible,” Winter said. “I think Legally Blonde does such a good job of capturing those memorable moments, making you feel like you’re seeing something you’ve seen before but also experiencing new moments.”
Long said the Broadway show was adapted to the Scottsbluff community, with hidden moments tied into the script. They also use musical accompaniment to make scene changes fluid and sliding walls to shape the space.
“The notorious problem with film musicals is that it’s really difficult to do film cuts and edits onstage,” Long said. “We created some sliding walls on the stage that will act as a kind of cinematic scene transitions.”
Another challenge for the musical production is the wardrobe of Elle (Grace Nowak). She has around 10 outfits while the rest of the actors have around four outfits. The costume design team created several outfits for Elle, which are quick changes that take place on stage.
“She’s just magical in a new dress in a second,” Long said. “I also designed the costumes for the show and the team working to make these costumes look incredible is crazy.”
Winter said that throughout his tenure at Theater West he has enjoyed interacting with both the cast and the community.
The musical’s script adds more dialogue between Elle and Emmett, allowing their relationship to unfold before the viewer’s eyes.
“What I like about what Austin is doing is the relationship that we’ve built between Emmett and Elle — you don’t see them blossom in the film,” Long said.
The show also features Bruiser Woods and Rufus. Long said the dogs bring energy to the stage and allow the actors to enjoy improvisation.
As Elle Woods progresses to law school and navigates the challenges of her relationships with others, the Theater West actors hope audiences will leave with a new perspective on the story.
“All of these characters are people you would see in everyday life. I want them to go home with that nostalgic, magical feeling,” Winter said.
The show begins Thursday at 7:30pm with additional performances July 15-16 and July 20-23 at 7:30pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit twneb.com.