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Legally Blonde The Musical On Stage in Fresno

IN THE September 21 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andPets,
andTheatre
SECTIONS

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Left to right Teddy Maldonado (Emmett Forest) & Emily Pessano (Elle Woods)

When I first heard they were making a musical based on the movie Legally Blonde I was very skeptical. While it’s a cute movie, I just didn’t see it translating to the stage. I’m happy to say after seeing Roger Rocka’s current production of the show, I was wrong. It is a very fun show whose songs such as “Omigod You Guys” are still playing in my head.
 
For those of you who have not seen the movie, show director Elizabeth Fiester shares the basic plot. “Elle Woods Senior at UCLA and President of the Sorority Delta Nu is expecting her boyfriend Warner Huntington the III to propose. At dinner where she is expecting her proposal Warner informs her they need to break up because he is going to Harvard Law and his family expects him to marry someone serious. After a few days of crying Elle decides the way to win back Warner is to get into Harvard Law School herself, show him she is ‘serious’. Elle miraculously does make it into Harvard Law and while there proves to herself and many others that she is more than a dumb blonde and should be taken seriously.”
 
Although definitely a comedy, Legally Blonde also has a serious side, which I liked. It shows how wrong it is to judge people by stereotypes, and that if you work hard and set your mind to something you can accomplish surprising things.

Left to right Emily Pessano (Elle Woods) & Melinda Perry (Kate/Chutney)

“I wanted to direct the show because I think it’s a funny script and I loved the score, plus it’s a great girl power story,” said Elizabeth. “And I’m in favor of those.”
 
“I think audiences will be surprised how faithful the musical is [to the movie] and in fact that the script is even funnier than the original movie,” continued Elizabeth. “It’s a highly talented cast, with amazing energy and skill and if you’re looking for the one show to spend your money on, this is it.”
 
The show is funny, the music is fun, Elle’s dog Bruiser is adorable, and the singing was wonderful. I am quickly becoming a big fan of Emily Pessano, who played Elle, having now seen her in two shows in a row–this and Drowsy Chaperone. There were actually many of the same faces in this show, including Cheyenne Gray, Daniel Hernandez, Teddy Maldonado, and Dominic Grijalva, who are also very talented.

Left to right Cheyenne Gray (Paulette), Rufus (Boomer) & UPS deliveryman (Isaac Ellis).

Another fun fact about the show is that the adorable little Chihuahua playing Bruiser is a rescue dog named Raphi who was adopted by Elizabeth. It’s actually not the first time Elizabeth has adopted a dog for a show, as she also has a sheep dog at home that she wanted to put into a production of Annie. “Early on when I spoke to Dan about the needs of the show, he suggested an adoption by someone in the cast. I knew that we would need to have a Chihuahua for the role of Bruiser, and my household was ready for a small dog, it just seemed logical to have the dog come with me to rehearsal every night. Raphi is a welcomed member to my family. He and Thomas (the sheep dog) get along very well and his personality is a lot of fun.”

Raphi in the arms of Elizabeth


 
If you are looking for a fun evening out at the theatre, I highly recommend going to see Legally Blonde, which is on stage until November 13. You can get more info on show dates & ticket prices on their KRL event page.
 
Also, learn more of Raphi’s story in the KRL article about his rescue.
 
Watch for another Local Live next Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

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