Northwestern to present ‘Legally Blonde’
When Emily Witt puts on a blonde wig for tonight’s premiere of “Legally Blonde,” she will have to do what Reese Witherspoon did in the role of Elle Woods and then some.
As the central character of the musical, she will also have to sing and dance.
“You have to have a lot of energy,” Witt said. “Elle is a little bit flaky but Bill [Mutimer] wants her to be a lot more optimistic in our version of the play.”
“Emily is doing great,” said Director Bill Mutimer. “She really is working hard and doing fantastic.
“It’s a huge role but she is fully up to the challenge.”
In the story, Woods is determined to get back her ex-boyfriend, Warner, by enrolling at Harvard and pursing a degree in law.
This doesn’t sit right with Vivianne, who also attends Harvard.
Morgan Moss portrays Vivianne.
“It’s not so much competition between the two girls,” said Moss, who is following in her parents’ footsteps in the play.
“Vivianne’s parents are both involved in law,” Moss explained.
“The conflict develops because I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am and Elle just got in [Harvard] because her dad paid for her to get in.”
Thomas Bell plays Elle’s father.
“I’m very rich and I like to golf,” said Bell about his character.
“In the play, I was very shocked my daughter wants to attend Harvard. It’s the last thing he saw his daughter doing.”
According to Moss, Vivianne “was always brought up to think the system was based on merit.”
“Elle’s trying to get her true love Warner to fall in love with her but she ends up proving to everyone a woman and, a blonde woman, at that can achieve something big,” Witt said.
Mutimer cited examples from the play that shows important moments of realization for the two girls.
“In one scene, Elle says to Vivianne, ‘We are women. We’re supposed to support each other, not tear each other down.’”
Mutimer said the play also deals with issues like “friendships and bullying by peers.”
Other leads include Aaron Green as Emmett, Hayden Bobbyn as Professor Callahan, Ben Fry as Warner, Meghan McGorry as Brooke Wyndham, Brooke Devers as Paulette and Adam Lebrecht as the UPS Guy.
In the role of Emmet “an intern in Callahan’s classroom,” Green is also a part of the chorus and has several solos.
“It’s really a fun show and it’s a high energy show,” he said. “The songs are cheerful and happy and there’s a lot of dancing.”
Mutimer said that the members of the cast feel overwhelmingly positive about the show.
“They love the contemporary feel of the show and that it deals with issues they feel are important to them [revolving around feelings of] not being good enough, smart enough, [or] pretty enough.”
The cast is assisted by parents who have been working diligently behind the scenes.
Set designer and builder Peter Huerst and his crew of parents have been hard at work building the multitiered set.
“We took drawings that came with the set package and we modified them so they would work for our stage,” he said. The crew constructed the set in six weeks.
As Emily Witt’s parent, Huerst had a vested interest in the set construction.
A spotlight will direct the audience to “different platforms for different scenes,” he said, so he constantly consulted with the director and “adjusted the set for how he wants the play to go.”
Though Mutimer admits to first having chosen the play “because it has a lot of characters so many people would have a part,” he couldn’t ignore some of the major themes.
“[The story shows] you can be anything you put your mind to and you can overcome preconceived notions,” he said. “Brains are just as important as looks.”
Mutimer sees the play as being especially “empowering to girls [as] a strong independent woman succeeds even when people see her as superficial.”
The film version of “Legally Blonde” was released in 2001 and the Broadway musical debuted six years later. Amanda Brown wrote the novel.
“[Our show] has elements of the movie and follows the plot pretty closely but has some twists and embellishes some moments more than the movie,” explained Mutimer.
According to Witt, the play “has a great message that our school can portray to girls and women.
“I like that it’s a girl show where most of the roles are [played by] girls,” she explained.
“The plot proves that women can do what men can do,” said Bell. “There’s a lot of comedy and everyone will enjoy it.”
“It’s very poppy. They’re songs that get into your head for days,” said Witt.
“Catchy is the best way to describe the music,” said Moss. “I really like it. I love the message and how fun it is.”
“Legally Blonde” will be performed 7 p.m. March 2-4; and 2 p.m. March 5.
All tickets are reserved seating and advanced purchase is recommended.
Tickets may be purchased with cash or personal check between the hours of 8-11 a.m. in the high school attendance office.
Online ticket sales (credit card only) at northwesternlehigh.ticketleap.com. Depending upon availability, tickets will also be sold one hour prior to each show in the high school gymnasium lobby.