Michael Glorioso, director of Valparaiso’s Memorial Opera House’s production of “Legally Blonde, the Musical,” sees a lesson to be learned within the tale of the hit musical, courtesy of the play’s hero, Elle Woods.
“It’s a new take on ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover,’” he said. “A lot of people, when they say that, they’re thinking of a tattered cover, something damaged as opposed to a blonde, beautiful, Marilyn Monroe bombshell. People judge her as being stupid and not kind. But she’s very kind and very smart and the show kind of shows that side of her.”
Opening July 13 and running through July 29, “Blonde” tells the tale of Woods, a sorority girl at UCLA, who triumphs over adversity and stereotypes when she is accepted at and makes her way through Harvard Law School.
Based on the hit 2001 comedy starring Reese Witherspoon as Woods, “Blonde” made its stage debut in San Francisco in 2007 before making it to Broadway later that year. Featuring songs such as “What You Want,” “Serious” and “Omigod You Guys,” “Blonde” ran for nearly 600 performances and was nominated for seven Tony Awards.
Three years later, “Blonde” made it to London’s West End, where it won a trio of Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.
Glorioso, who will next helm a musical production of “The Evil Dead” for Chicago Street Theatre, sees “Blonde” as standing head and shoulders above other musicals of late that are adapted from film.
“It has that really good writing and really good source material for it to be a successful production,” he said. “This is a really good adaptation.”
Carely Kolsch stars as Woods in Memorial Opera House’s production of “Blonde” and leads a cast of more than two dozen thesps and singers. Joining Kolsch onstage is Derek DeRoo as Emmett, Woods' tutor and ally, Allison Colgrove as Woods’ hairdresser friend Paulette, Zach Mull as Woods' former paramour Warner and Anna DeRoo as Woods' nemesis, Vivienne.
“I think everyone’s going to be excited with what we have going on stage,” Glorioso said. “We have a very strong cast.”
Next up for Memorial Opera House is a production of the musical “Sweeney Todd,” scheduled to open Sept. 28.