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Draper Journal

There’s more than meets the eye in Draper Historic Theatre’s ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

May 09, 2024 01:16PM ● By Katherine Weinstein

Elle Woods stands out from her peers at Harvard Law School in the Draper Historic Theatre production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” (Photo by Ashley Loewer, courtesy of Draper Historic Theatre)

Besides having catchy songs and big dance numbers, “Legally Blonde: The Musical” offers audiences something to think about as well. “It’s not a pink, fluffy piece,” director Mindy Eckroth explained. “There is so much more to it. People will really get something out of the story.” The musical, based on the same novel that inspired the 2001 hit movie, will be presented at Draper Historic Theatre May 10 through 25. 

The plot starts out as a standard romantic comedy. Sorority girl Elle Woods’ seemingly perfect life is turned upside down when her aspiring lawyer boyfriend breaks up with her. Determined to win him back, Elle charms her way into Harvard Law School where trouble awaits in the form of peers and professors who stereotype and misjudge her. With the support of new friends, however, Elle is able to prove herself and realize her potential.

Ellie England, one of the actors who plays Elle in the production, spoke of the challenges her character faces. “Elle is very bubbly, she likes pink and she’s from Malibu,” England said. “People think she’s stupid. They underestimate her.” 

Both England and Makayla Conner-Marriott, who portrays Elle in alternate performances of the show, drew parallels between the character and their own lives. 

“Throughout my life, people have compared me to Elle Woods,” England said. “Playing this role has actually really helped me with my confidence and self-esteem.” 

“I enjoy playing Elle,” Conner-Marriott said. “In theater, there are a lot of stereotypes that follow theatrical roles. This is an intense story of redemption and self-growth. This role is layered, there is a lot of depth to Elle.”

Eckroth, who grew up watching the movie version of “Legally Blonde” on VHS, said that another theme of the show is about the journey of friendship and sisterhood between the characters. “Amazing things can happen when we stop tearing each other down and start building each other up,” she said.

The obvious difference between “Legally Blonde” the movie and the musical is that the latter tells the story through song and dance numbers. Bradley Barker, one of the actors who plays Elle’s fellow law student, Emmett, said, “The music really helps to drive the story, it makes it more fun. The musical does a better job of telling Elle’s story.” 

Nathan Metcalf, who plays Elle’s sleazy law professor, Callahan, added that the musical numbers serve to tell the stories of all of the characters in the show. “There’s a fantastic character arc with Paulette,” he said, referring to Elle’s hairdresser friend who is also seeking romance. “Her story is shown more through the music.”

“Each character goes on their own journey,” Eckroth said.

Travis Wright, who has also taken on the role of Emmett, explained, “One of the things that this show does well is that there are so many good parts. Each character has their own chance to shine. There are no bad parts in this show which makes it very fun.” 

“It’s fantastic to play the bad guy,” Metcalf said. “It’s all about entertaining the audience.”

Even the canine actors seem to be enjoying themselves on stage. The two chihuahuas who play Elle’s dog, Bruiser, and Paulette’s pup, Rufus, live in the same household and have appeared in the musical before. 

The Draper Historic Theatre website states that the production is rated PG-13 for sexual content and mild language. Metcalf explained that the darker elements in the movie, such as Callahan’s harassment of Elle, is presented as “more comical, more of a caricature” in the musical.

Annabelle McKinnon, who plays Elle’s rival, Vivienne, said, “If you’re a fan of musical theater, you’ll love it, it’s just fun. You’ll leave with a smile.” 

Draper Historic Theatre presents “Legally Blonde: The Musical” May 10 through 25. Performances are on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday evenings at 7 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. The theater is located at 12366 S. 900 East in Draper. For tickets, visit λ