The Chatham High School Theater Department is trying something new this year.
For their springtime compedy "Legally Blonde," they will also hold an opportunity for fans to get their photo taken with Elle Woods and her dog Bruiser following the Saturday matinee.
"We thought that might appeal to some of the kids in the audience," Lynn Polan, the play's director said.
The Theater Department already makes overtures to senior citizens in the community. In 2010 they started to invite seniors to their final dress rehearsal before performances, with a dinner following.
Now, with the story of the intelligent and charming Elle (played by Kelly Cole) and Bruiser (played by Dexter) coming to the high school stage, Polan recognized a unique opportunity to reach out to children in the community as well.
Based on the 2001 movie of the same name, "the story is of a California blonde sorority girl who gets dumped by her boyfriend," Polan said, and the "self-discovery story" is something anyone who has ever been dumped can relate to.
When her ex-boyfriend enrolls in Harvard Law School, Elle follows him to Cambridge with a single-minded determination to get him back again.
"She finds out in the course of things that she has a brain. She discovers there's some meat to her," Polan said.
As a production, the musical is practically ideal for a high school theater department. "It's very cute, really energetic, has a terrific score and lots of roles for girls, which is nice," Polan said, since most high school theater departments—including Chatham High's—have more girls for the stage than the typical screenplay can accommodate.
"It's also very light and funny, and high energy. There are very few ballads, there's a lot of dancing," Polan said. But more than anything, "it's very funny."
Polan was a fan of the movie when it first came out, and when it was made into a musical she looked forward to doing it in Chatham. "The show is charming," she said. "There are a lot of good female roles, and we have a lot of good female actors.
"Most shows have more male actors than female actors, and the roles for boys are better. If you think of a traditional show like there are way more guys in there than dolls, and the guys are better parts. I'm always looking for shows that have more female parts, and this show does," Polan said.
The Theater Department and a cast of 54 students bring the story of Elle Woods and her road to self-discovery to the community for performances Feb. 27 and 28 and March 1 and 2.
Senior citizens are invited to a matinee final dress rehearsal at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27. The show will include a free dinner following, courtesy of the Chatham High Theater Department.
Other showtimes are 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28; 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 1; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Tickets are $12 or $10 for students and seniors and can be purchased at the door or online at chslegallyblonde.brownpapertickets.com.
"Although the show has what I consider to be a worthy message, mostly it’s just a really entertaining, high-spirited, charming, bubbly musical," Polan said.
"Legally Blonde" features Kelly Cole as Elle Woods and Dexter as her ever-present and adorable canine companion Bruiser. Other cast members include:
- Michael Nitting as Emmet Forrest
- Will Hackett as Warner Huntington III
- Billy Arnuck as Prof. Callahan
- Sarah Thomson as Paulette Buonofounte
- Solana San Pietro as Brooke Wyndham
- Devynn Pedell as Margot
- Kira Gavalakis as Serena
- Sara Mazzola as Pilar
- Kaitlyn Helmsetter as Enid Hoopes.