Legally Blonde Leaves the Screen and Comes to FSU’s Stage

You may have heard of the character Elle Woods (played by Reese Witherspoon) from the famous movie, Legally Blonde back when it was released in 2001. To jog your memory, she loves pink, she is in the Delta Nu sorority, has a Chihuahua named Bruiser, chased her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School and yes, she is blonde.

The movie is a classic, “find yourself” film. Ever since it first debuted its massive popularity in show “biz” has not gone unnoticed. In 2007, it appeared on Broadway. The story then became bigger.

Florida State’s School of Theatre is bringing the beloved movie and musical to its own stage from Feb.12-28 (running Wednesday-Saturday each week) at the Fallon Theatre on campus. The musical will have lots of energy, elaborate dance and song numbers, dogs, an impressive cast and crew and a strong message.

“Yes it is a fun show and there is a lot of spectacle, but I’ve also taken it very seriously as far as the journey that Elle goes through. She’s looked at as a dumb blonde that is in love with the wrong guy, but what she learns through him dumping her and going on this journey, is her mission and purpose in life is to help others,” said Legally Blonde Director, Tom Ossowski.

When Elle (Ashlyn Hutchings) leaves California to try to win back her ex at Harvard, she doesn’t expect to become a successful law student with new friends and a new love interest. Even though she faces degradation and is seen as a “dumb blonde” in the beginning, her friendship with character, Emmett Forrest (Sean Wilkinson), helps her realize the person she is meant to be.

Coincidentally, Hutchings shares some similarities with her character (besides having blonde hair).

“I’m very similar to Elle. Everybody has commented on how I’ve worn pink to almost every single rehearsal, and it’s completely inadvertent. I love dogs, and I thought about going to law school, but decided to go into theatre. I think she is a very loyal and caring person and I would like to think I have those qualities as well,” Hutchings said.

According to Ossowski, Hutchings was the right fit for the role because of her full command of the stage, and considers her a triple threat: she can sing, act and dance. At just 11 years old, Hutchings started dance lessons and performed in her first show. She is now 23 and graduating this May.

“Elle is a really special role because there are not a lot of shows that center around a strong female lead. There’s always a female lead, but they’re not really the center point of the show, so to be able to play a role like this at the end of my FSU career–it’s kind of my ‘going out,’” Hutchings said.

Hutchings will certainly be going out with a bang. Legally Blonde is unlike many other plays and musicals because it was originally a movie. To get the movie effect of having no scene changes and keeping the audience’s full attention the whole show, the entire performance is operated on a revolving stage.

“Scenery and people are moving circular, things are flying up and down and rolling in and out. You’ll be in a scene, and one second later you’re in a different location. The transitions are often sung or danced, so you’ve got girls dancing and singing as the scene changes behind them,” Ossowski said.

Scenes and costume changes happen within seconds in the midst of decadent spectacles such as dancing, jump roping, tumbling, flag twirling, and even cheerleaders and a marching band make an appearance.

“It will be potentially the most fun two and a half hours you’ll have this semester,” Hutchings said.

It is obvious from the grand performance, that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into production. Students rehearsed five days a week, four hours for five weeks, and the performers wouldn’t have it any other way.

“This is what we are here to do, this is our opportunity to do exactly why we are here and it is a great show to do it with,” Watkinson said.

Legally Blonde is not all about an Ivy League converted “dumb blonde” who follows a boy to Harvard, but about a woman who finds herself and what she is meant to do in life with the help of friendship, and in this case, a little song and dance.

For tickets and more information you can go to the Fine Arts Ticket Office here: http://tickets.fsu.edu/

 

By ALLISON KRIDLE / Interning Writer

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