OTTUMWA-Romance is in the air this spring at Indian Hills Community College as the college’s production of Legally Blonde, the Musical opens on Thursday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, April 22, at 2:00 p.m. (ASL interpreter) and 7:30 p.m. in St. John Auditorium on the Ottumwa campus. Performances are free but patrons are encouraged to reserve seats by calling 641-683-5144.
According to director Dr. Jennifer Boyenga, “This production, a musical version of the popular 2001 movie starring Reece Witherspoon, is a high-energy, fun, romantic comedy with a great message.”
“The show has presented a number of technical issues due to the multitude of scene changes,” says Technical Director Dr. Ray Slavens, “but my Tech Theatre class and members of the cast and crew worked hard to make all the pieces and parts fit together seamlessly.”
This endearing musical focuses on Elle Woods and her thwarted expectations of a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. After he dumps her, Elle, in order to try to win him back, follows him to Harvard Law School where she discovers that she is more than just blonde hair and a pretty face. She also discovers new friends in Paulette, Enid, and Vivienne, and a new romance in Emmett Forrest, who all learn the lesson that appearances can be deceiving and that even those we think of as frivolous may have something to teach us.
When Elle, played by Cecilia Mitchell (Grinnell), is dumped by former boyfriend Warner Huntington III, played by Nathan Leege (Ottumwa), she vows to win him back with the support of her sorority friends, Kate, played by Hannah Haring (Cambria), Serena, played by Paris Bickham (Birmingham), and Pilar, played by Tessa Walker (Centerville).
At Harvard, Elle meets a variety of new friends who, although skeptical of her talents in the beginning, warm up to her over time, including Vivienne Kensington, played by Amanda Gray (Milton), Enid Hoops, played by Nyrobi McIntire (Centerville), Aaron Schultz, played by T.J. Rankin (Birmingham), Sundeep Agrawal Padamadan, played by Taith May (Albia), and Emmett Forrest, played by Steve Nash (Springfield, Missouri). Rounding out the Harvard crew is Professor Callahan, played by Jeff Leonard (Ottumwa). Other important friends Elle meets are her new hairdresser, Paulette, played by Peyton Nelson (Ottumwa), her boyfriend, UPS deliveryman Kyle, played by Justin Lenger (Knoxville), and legal client Brooke Wyndham, played by Devin Dailey (Ollie).
Rounding out the company are Esther Bartowe (Ottumwa), Gannon Haile (Fairfield), Jaime Wright (Plymouth, Illinois), Tony Hockenberry (Mount Pleasant), Juan Pedro Aldaba (Ottumwa), Brett Doud (Ottumwa), Justin Canny (Wayland), A.J. Goss (Branson, Missouri), Seth Bethune (Hedrick), Maddy Hudson (Oskaloosa), Natasha Clawson (Bloomfield), Darsherall Jones (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Railee Ellison (Bloomfield), and Elijah Boose (Omaha, Nebraska). Directors Boyenga and Slavens will be playing Elle’s mother and father.
Unique to Legally Blonde, the Musical is the role played by our canine friends. Rufus will be played by Ziggy Franklin “The Pig” Lenger (Knoxville), and Bruiser will be played by Annabel (Milton).
Vocal musical director is Dr. Janene Sheldon (piano), who also worked with Dr. Boyenga on choreography. The band, under the direction of David Sharp (woodwinds), includes Tom Shadonix (Ottumwa) on violin, Joe Klinefelter (Des Moines) on guitar, Alexander Ponomarchuk (Iowa City) on piano, Madison Fears (Pekin) on bass, Bryan Brain (Hedrick) on drum set and percussion, Devon Caryl (Mount Pleasant) on trombone, and Ramsey Smith (Oskaloosa) on trumpet.
Stage managers for the show are Katie Greve (Dubuque) and Jaci Guthrie (Newton). Other members of the tech crew include Suzy Schurman (Melcher-Dallas) on lights, Dylan Miller (Auburn, California) on sound, and Luis Valverde (Ottumwa) on spotlight. Olivia Anders (Ottumwa) is assisting with costumes and makeup.