Legally Blonde: The Musical opens July 19 at CBC

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJuly 18, 2013 

In the movie, Legally Blonde, protagonist Elle Woods is a rich sorority girl from Los Angeles who becomes a Harvard law student and proves she ain't no ditzy dame.

There's also a musical stage version of Legally Blonde, which opens July 19 in the theater at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.

"This is a feel-good musical with peppy music and a simple story line," said director Ginny Quinley. "It's also one of the most exciting, energized musicals I've ever worked on. It's like the movie, only funnier. It starts with a rapid drum beat that really sets the pace for the whole show."

For those who need a refresher on this iconic story, Elle is a blonde bombshell whose boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, dumps her before heading off to Harvard law school.

Determined to win him back, Elle applies to Harvard but upon arrival discovers Warner is engaged to another girl named Vivian. To make matters even more miserable for Elle, the snobby Harvardites look down their noses at her wild attire, pink pens, scented stationery and adorable chihuahua Bruiser.

Heartbroken but not defeated, Elle concentrates on schoolwork and finds out she has more legal savvy that she thought.

That's when the silly, funny and totally outrageous shenanigans begin. Elle's only friend is Paulette, a manicurist she befriends. She helps Paulette regain custody of her beloved dog from a creepy ex-husband.

She also becomes part of a team of law students who intern with a high-powered attorney, defending a famous fitness guru accused of killing her rich husband.

Katie Evans, who portrays Elle, is a Hanford High student whose interest in drama started with the Academy of Children's Theatre when she portrayed a living tree in its production of Peter Pan.

The role of Elle, however, was a bit more challenging.

"It has been a challenging role because I have to find the perfect blend of dumb blonde and serious lawyer," Evans said. "I have tried not to take ideas from other productions or the movie but have tried to make the character my own.

"It was definitely more difficult, but I think that allowed me to go deeper into the character of Elle."

The show's other lead characters are Doc Chisholm as Warner, Katrina Carlson as Paulette, Stephanie Fanning as Vivian, and Freddy Izaguirre as creepy law professor Callahan.

Two Tri-City dogs are also making their acting debut in Legally Blonde: The Musical. Elle's little Bruiser is played by a dog named Sunny Schuster, and Paulette's dog, Rufus, is played by a German shepherd named Peyton Cheatham.

Vocal director for the show is Mary Dann, with Phil Simpson handling instrumental direction, Ronn Campbell as lighting and scene designer, Verna Schwilke as costumer, and Marlie Buriak and John Tuttle handling choreography.

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. July 19-20, 25-27 and August 1-3 with a 2 p.m. matinee July 21.

Reserved ticket purchase is recommended. Tickets cost $13 to $15 and are available at columbiabasin.tix.com or by calling 542-5531.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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