Calling all Gemini vegetarians — Legally Blonde: the Musical is coming to North Delta.
For four nights only, students at Seaquam Secondary will be bending and snapping their way through the story of Elle Woods, a California sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend. Elle defies expectations and shatters stereotypes, earning the chance to defend an exercise queen on trial for murdering her billionaire husband.
The play, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach, is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon.
Seaquam’s production, running May 1–4, features two casts performing on alternate nights, with Grade 10 students Rebecca Meitz and Mona Subramani playing the main blonde.
“I used to love watching the Legally Blonde movies, and I guess as a kid it was always something that I sort of was able to relate to,” Meitz said, pointing to her blonde hair, “but also they’re just really fun movies and it’s a really fun show. It was one of the first ones that got me into listening to musicals, so it was nice to be able to play a part of something that I loved.”
For 15-year-old Meitz, part of what makes Legally Blonde so compelling is how the audience is able to connect with the characters and the struggles they face onstage.
“They’re all very real characters even though they’re all very overly stereotyped in the show, so I think that that’s a really interesting part about it because it can seem sort of like just a fun, easy musical, but it’s a lot deeper when you actually look at it.”
That depth and the personal growth of the characters is part of what convinced Subramani to take a shot at the lead role.
“Because I’m an Indian woman, I was kind of hesitant at first to audition for Elle because she’s a blonde white girl and that’s not who I am, but I connected with the character as I read through the script,” Subramani, 15, said.
“You see how [Elle] grows as a person and realizes that she doesn’t need a man or a romantic interest to define her as a woman, ” she said. “And then she learns the value of working for other people, which I think is important. You see how that affects her and then how that inspires her to be better and work harder.”
“I can’t think of another time where I’ve seen Elle played by anybody who wasn’t white. I’m glad that it happened and I get to experience it.”
Of course, Legally Blonde is about more than just busting stereotypes; it’s a musical comedy first and foremost, with songs and dance numbers throughout.
“It’s a wide range of music so you’re not going to get bored, and then some of the lyrics are a little bit risqué so people are going to laugh,” Subramani said.
Sixty students — 40 cast and 20 crew — have been hard at work putting the show together since auditions began in September, meeting twice per week to rehearse, build sets, create the costumes and develop the choreography.
Having the students involved in the production at every level allows them to develop their leadership skills, providing “an amazing learning opportunity” for everyone involved, said director Mark LeBourdais.
“This has really been a collaborative community effort, more than any other show I’ve ever done in 20 years of teaching,” said LeBourdais, who also teaches English and drama at Seaquam. “We have a group of amazing parent volunteers, student volunteers, teacher and staff volunteers as well, all coming together to make this show work, and it’s been quite amazing.”
Legally Blonde: the Musical runs May 1–4 at Seaquam Secondary (1584 Lyon Rd.). Subramani will take the stage May 1 and 3, and Meitz will tread the boards on May 2 and 4.
Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door ($10 advance/$12 at the door for students and seniors) and available at the school office. For more information, call 604-591-6166.
The show is rated PG-13.