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Lees-McRae Performing Arts Presents ‘Legally Blonde’ the Musical Oct. 4-7 at the Hayes Auditorium

Sept. 26, 2012. Lees-McRae College Performing Arts presents Legally Blonde Oct. 4-7 in the Broyhill Theatre of Hayes Auditorium.

Sorority star Elle Woods doesn’t take “no” for an answer. So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone “serious,” Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

“The show is very true to the film. The music is delightful and catchy.  We go from one big musical number to the next,” said Director Dr. Janet Barton Speer. “It also makes a really good point.  We are not allowed to stereotype.  Stereotyping blondes has been somewhat acceptable over the years, but this show makes us remember that it’s not ok.” 

Legally Blonde features a large cast of over 30 performers plus two dogs. “We found an abandoned Chihuahua mix in Atlanta and adopted it.  It already has a home after the show.  We also have a bulldog that stars as the trailer park dog,” said Speer. 

Nicole Wright plays Elle Woods, the female lead of Legally Blonde.  Wright transferred into Lees-McRae this fall and is excited to be in her first production.  “I can relate to Elle because she put herself in a new environment and discovers something new about herself.  I kind of went through the same situation transferring to Lees-McRae.  Going through that discovery with her as a character has been great,” said Wright.

Richard Gebo, senior performing arts major, has appeared in many Lees-McRae productions, but playing Emmett Forrest, the male lead, has been a good learning experience.  “I feel like I can really step into becoming someone else with this character,” said Gebo.  “I want to convey to the audience through my character that you can never stop growing and becoming a better person.  There’s always time for change, and if you have the drive, you can become whoever you want to be.”

Another treat for audiences is having two Lees-McRae performing arts alumni back on campus to help with the show.  Justin Hall ’07 is the guest costume designer.  Hall works as a full-time costumer at Twin City Stage in Winston-Salem. Stephanie Deal Bengston ’05 is the dance captain. “It’s fun to have alumni come back,” said Speer. “Stephanie and Justin really add flair to the show.”

This production will be the last directed by Dr. Janet Barton Speer before her retirement in May 2013.  Speer has been teaching theatre, performing, choreographing, writing and directing plays for nearly 50 years, which includes more than 600 educational and professional productions. She is the Virginia McKenzie Reeves Endowed Chair of Performing Arts and Distinguished Professor at Lees-McRae College.  She is also the artistic director for Lees-McRae Summer Theatre, a position she plans to continue after her retirement from teaching.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Speer. “It brings back a lot of memories of when I first started and we couldn’t get enough students to fill the show.  It’s a lot different now.”

“Since I will still be living in the community, I’ll continue to be an ambassador for the college.  I won’t be gone,” Speer said. 

Show times are October 4-6 at 7:30 p.m. and October 7 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $5 for students and children and $12 for adults and may be purchase at the door.

The musical is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture with book by Heather Hach and music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Legally Blonde is presented through a special arrangement with Musical Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. (421 West 54th Street, New York, NT 10019)