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Musical Theater Association presents “Legally Blonde the Musical”

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By Julia Day

Arts & Entertainment Editor

artsent.asp@gmail.com

Nov 18, 2014

Credit: everythinggreendale.com  Laura Bell Bundy in the original Broadway production of “Legally Blonde.”
Credit: everythinggreendale.com
Laura Bell Bundy in the original Broadway production of “Legally Blonde.”

After months of hard work, the University at Albany Musical Theatre Association is getting ready to perform this year’s fall musical, “Legally Blonde the Musical.” Based on the 2001 film and novel of the same name, the story focuses on sorority sister Elle Woods, who follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School in an effort to win him back.

The film was adapted into a play and premiered on Broadway in April 2007, with Laura Bell Bundy starring as Elle. The show has been toured around the world in countries such as South Korea, the Netherlands, Paris, Australia, Austria, and numerous others. Music and lyrics were produced by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, including hit songs such as “Omigod You Guys,” “What You Want,” “Legally Blonde,” and all-time favorite “Bend and Snap.”

In an effort to find a musical that was both fun and feasible for the UAlbany Musical Theatre Association to produce, director Michaela Torres and associate director Jesus Vasquez decided that “Legally Blonde the Musical” was the best choice.

“We threw around a few ideas like ‘Into the Woods,’ ‘In the Heights,’ ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,’ and ‘Hairspray,” said Torres. “At UAlbany it’s a rough time to get people to come to events so we were looking for a big name and ‘Legally Blonde’ just kind of fit everything.”

“Legally Blonde the Musical” is the biggest production the MTA has put on yet, with a full cast of 24 members and an elaborate set design.

“In the beginning we have to book rooms for rehearsals, get scripts, get rights, hold auditions, hold call backs,” said Vasquez. “It’s a process, and it can be challenging at times and gets hectic. But so far the cast has been really good with everything. They’re just super committed and determined to do this well.”

Freshman Aubrey Salamone will be starring as Elle Woods, the lead role in the musical. Although new to the school, Salamone remains positive about being awarded the opportunity to perform in one of her favorite films and plays.

“It’s so weird because I’ve seen the movie and the play so many times that actually being able to portray the role is unreal,” said Salamone. “It still hasn’t hit me that I have to go up on stage and be Elle Woods. Every actor has a dream role, and this actually was mine. So now that I actually get to be it and be up there, it seems so real that it’s too good to be true.”

An important aspect of putting on the musical was the choreographic direction. Sophomore Jessica Tasciotti, who will be portraying the character Margot, also serves as the plays choreographer.

“It’s one thing to be able to learn dance, and it’s another thing to be able to create it,” said Tasciotti. “That was cool, very hard, but so rewarding. It took a lot of trial and error and playing around and experimenting but I’m very proud of the product.”

One of the core components to the success of “Legally Blonde the Musical” is the teamwork and strong friendship the cast shares.

Sean Gallagher, who portrays the role of antagonist Professor Callahan, really enjoys being able to work with his fellow cast members.

“The friends that I made in this group have become lasting friends that I will probably have for the rest of my life,” said Gallagher. “It’s just a really good thing to be a part of, really rewarding, and a great experience.”

The production will premiere Thursday, Nov. 20 and Friday Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center, as well as Saturday Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. Opening night will allow Greek life members free admittance, in honor of character Elle Wood’s sorority involvement.

After a long semester of hard work, Torres and Vasquez feel confident in the play’s success.

“I’m glad that I got to work on another production with MTA alongside Michaela, and I’m excited to see it all together,” said Vasquez.

“I feel like at this point what the cast needs is an audience, because they’ve done it so much already,” said Torres. “It’s such a rush when the lights come down and the spotlights come on, it’s a great feeling and we’re really looking forward to that opening night when we hear the applause.”

With a stellar cast, strong set of directors, and semester long preparation, “Legally Blonde the Musical” will be sure to entertain the UAlbany community this weekend.

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