As college applications take center stage for juniors and seniors, on the stage in the Alan Harvey Theater comes a tale of a girl who joins Harvard Law on a whim. If this seems unrealistic, that might be because it is the plot of the upcoming musical, “Legally Blonde.”
A pop-rock musical about defeating stereotypes and inner beauty, “Legally Blonde” will be performed at the Alan Harvey Theater on Feb. 3, 4, 10 and 11. In the musical, a UCLA student named Elle Woods leaves her sorority to chase her ex-boyfriend, following him to Harvard Law to prove she is more than her perfectly coiffed updo.
Junior Kay Sibal, who plays Elle, said that the musical focuses on Elle’s journey and her growth as a character.
“Elle is very Californian, she doesn’t belong at Harvard at all, she doesn’t know anything about anything other than fashion or boys: that’s how she’s depicted at the beginning of the show,” Sibal said. “As the show goes on you see that she’s actually really smart, and she defeats her stereotype as a dumb blonde.”
This message may ring out even more clearly due to the unwavering focus on Elle in the show, as Elle almost never leaves the stage, sophomore Kevin Judd said. Judd portrays Elle’s ex, Warner Huntington III.
Another element to “Legally Blonde” that deviates from past musicals is that “Legally Blonde” embodies the typical ‘big musical’, said junior Ko Narter, who plays Elle’s hairdresser friend Paulette.
“Compared to ‘The Sound of Music,’ and even to ‘Footloose,’ it’s a completely different style,” Narter said. “‘Legally Blonde’ has everyone in it, all the time.”
The fact that the musical is heavy on ensemble numbers makes it uniquely interesting, Narter said.
“I think that it’s cool that more underclassmen are getting larger roles in this show,” Sibal said. “[That’s] probably the most fun part, the big dance numbers where everyone is onstage together.”
The musical director, choreographer, and producer Amy Moorhead said that the cast’s natural theatrical instincts helped them transition into their roles.
“I think it’s fun that they’re playing young people,” Moorhead said. “They’re playing themselves almost, they’re playing college students and later they’re playing law students.”
Ensemble actor freshman Josie Gross-Whitaker said that Moorhead brings levity to the show.
“It’s less focused on being amazing singers, [more] focused on making it a show production,” Gross-Whitaker said. “[Moorhead] brings the musical spirit into it.”
“Legally Blonde,” written in 2007, is the first PHS musical to be written in the 21st century. This, along with the music style, could lead the audience to falsely believe it is simple, Moorhead said.
“When people hear it’s a pop-rock musical they think it’s something you could hear on the radio and anyone could sing along, but the harmonies that the ensemble has to handle are very complex,” Moorhead said. “It’s musically almost like a little operetta.”