The Maryville College Theatre Department will present Broadway’s award-winning hit “Legally Blonde: The Musical” Feb. 14-16.
Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Feb. 14-15 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 16 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre.
Tickets, which are available at the Clayton Center Box Office, are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors (ages 60 and older), theatre alumni, area students (under 18) and college students with identification. MC students, faculty and staff are admitted free. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $10 each. On Fri., Feb. 14, the price of two adult tickets will be on sale for $25 as part of a Valentine’s Day special.
Based on the book by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon, the musical stays true to the Hollywood blockbuster with upbeat music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin. In the story, Elle Wood’s boyfriend dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law School — and she is determined to win him back. After using her charm to gain acceptance to the Ivy League law school, she soon discovers her own potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.
According to Dr. Heather McMahon, associate professor of theatre at MC and director of the production, the play is not only an endearing story about a girl’s self-discovery, but a clever twist on the “girl pursues boy” plot.
“There is a great element of female empowerment in the show, which is part of what has made Legally Blonde so popular as a movie and as a musical,” McMahon said. “It’s a very romantic story, and it isn’t hard to deduce that Elle will get her guy in the end, but what’s great is the journey she takes to her Mr. Right.”
McMahon said she chose “Legally Blonde: The Musical” for its plot and musical score, but she also wanted to challenge theatre students by the scale of the musical production. For the first time since the Clayton Center for the Arts’ construction, the MC Theatre Department will be performing on the Ronald And Lynda Nutt Stage.
“This is such a great opportunity for cast and crew,” McMahon said. “The show will allow the crew to learn about flying scenery, moving in scenic wagons and operating moveable lighting. It will challenge the actors because they have to work in a bigger space, which means physical and vocal adjustments, in addition to working with a live orchestra.”
The cast includes junior Sara Deatherage of Knoxville, Tenn., as Elle; sophomore Blaine Coyle of Knoxville, Tenn., as Margot; freshman Caroline Stuart of Cartersville, Ga., as Serena; senior Onyekachi Ononye of Lagos, Nigeria, as Pilar; senior Emily Queen of Louisville, Tenn., as Paulette and a salesgirl; sophomore Chelbe Hickle of Lenoir City, Tenn., as Vivienne; senior Matt Lyscas of Maryville, Tenn., as Emmett; junior Cameron Hite of Kingsport, Tenn., as Warner; junior Bethany Plaag of Knoxville, Tenn., as Brooke; and community member Bleu Copas of Knoxville, Tenn., as Callahan.
Other cast members include sophomore Loudine Louis of Fort Myers, Fla.; sophomore Lizzie Ruch of Chattanooga, Tenn.; junior Sarah Bond of Memphis, Tenn.; sophomore Kristian Moats of Maryville, Tenn.; freshman Trevor York of Pleasant View, Tenn.; freshman Kelby Freucht of Naples, Fla.; senior Ryan Vaughn of Cincinnati, Ohio; and freshman Zach Massey of Maryville, Tenn.
Community cast members include Hannah Williams, Taylor Jackson, Boyce Templin, Dustin Payne and Josh VanderVeen.
Dancers include Holly Higgins, Emily Fain, Alexandria Clay, Augusta Phillips, Kelly Hertzel, Sheryl Tingling and Bethany Badeaux.
Senior Rachel Jarnagin of Knoxville, Tenn., is the stage manager. Junior Daniel Noles of Knoxville, Tenn., and sophomore Haley Sullivan of Franklin, Tenn., are the assistant stage managers. Courtney Vastine is the choreographer; and Melony Dodson and Terry Silver-Alford are the music directors. Jennifer Luck, technical director of the MC Theatre Department, will act as the technical director for the production.
“Everything is just bigger for this musical,” McMahon said. “There is more scenery, there are more costumes and there will be more lighting and sound cues, so this will be a big challenge for our students, but one I know they are up to.”
She also said that the romantic story and musical score, with Broadway hits like “Omigod, You Guys” and “Bend and Snap,” make up a feel-good musical with appeal for any audience.
“Not only is it a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but you just won’t want to miss how fun this Broadway musical is,” McMahon said.