The Arizona Repertory Theatre begins its 2022-23 season with “Legally Blonde the Musical,” which opened its 10-show run on Sunday, Oct. 2. It continues through Oct. 16.
Based on the 2001 movie of the same name, the story follows Elle Woods, a sorority girl who attempts to win back her ex-boyfriend by earning a degree from Harvard Law School.
While the story begins with a chase, “Legally Blonde the Musical” like the movie has a much deeper meaning than love. Through breaking free of stereotypes and staying true to herself, Woods holds an empowering message for audiences.
But here are three other reasons not to miss this show.
It delivers the laughs wrapped in some catchy tunes
After a tumultuous two-year downslide of our country’s economic, political and social state, coupled with an ongoing pandemic, some of us could use a little levity in our lives.
“[‘Legally Blonde the Musical’] is just so much fun,” Christie Kerr, an assistant professor at the School of Theatre, Film & Television said. She also is the show’s director and choreographer.
“We could all use a little joy in our lives, and Elle Woods brings us so much joy,” Kerr, who has been with the school for seven years, said. “Everybody has worked so hard, and to see that finished product put together, I’m very proud of it and I can’t wait to share it with others.”
With laugh-out-loud humor and a jump-roping musical number, “Legally Blonde the Musical” is sure to engage audiences with a relatable story of finding yourself in a time like college.
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We get to share in the University of Arizona students making their stage debuts
For many students, including junior Clayton Lukens (Emmett Richmond), this will be a relatively new experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the first principal role I’ve had in about three years,” Lukens said. “I feel like I’ve grown up and changed a lot since coming to college … It’s kind of freaky to be back at it. I’m scared in the best way.”
Despite a scaled-back season last year, theater students had to adapt to their new environment, all while trying to engage in their education. Hank Stratton, the School of Theatre, Film & Television artistic director, said that while this proved to be a difficult challenge, it was a rewarding experience for students and educators alike.
“We were able to design opportunities for students but also help them manage expectations,” Stratton said. “It actually ended up being a blessing in a way because it required actors, directors especially scenic artists, to think about space in a different way.”
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We’re thrilled to be back in a theater
While the COVID-19 pandemic halted the movies on the big screen, the explosion of streaming services still provided audiences with a way to watch new movies and live shows from the comfort of their own home. Theater companies and other performing arts organizations also got into the act, either filming live performances or live-streaming them.
But the experience of a live production on-stage, performed with an audience is something that can't be replaced or replicated, theater junior Lillie Langston said, who has the role of Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde the Musical.”
“[Theatre] affects people in a way that I don’t think any other art form does. It’s so immediate and in front of you,” Langston said. “With theatre and especially musical theatre, something’s going to be different about it every time. It’s going to affect you in a different way, and I want to be a part of that.”
Catch it live: “Legally Blonde the Musical” began with a preview Sunday, Oct. 2, in Arizona Repertory Theatre’s home, the Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road. There is a second preview at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. The production continues with shows at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6, 8, 14 and 15, and 1:30 p.m. shows Oct. 9, 15 and 16. Tickets are $24 for the premiere, $35 for regular performances in advance at theatre.arizona.edu. Student tickets are discounted to $15 for all showtimes.
*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism”.
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