High energy. That’s how those involved with the performance describe “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” which will open July 29 and run through Aug. 1 at the Victoria Fine Arts Center.
Elle Woods, played by Loria Rose, is a UCLA sorority girl who seeks and gains admittance to Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner, played by Lazaro Perez. In law school, hilarity ensues as Elle, dressed in head-to-toe pink, navigates her way through meeting her new classmates, taking challenging classes and pursuing her love interest. Vivenne, played by Sarah Adams, offers Elle obstacles as Warner’s fiancé, while Emmett, a teaching assistant played by Caden Thomas, and Paulette, a beautician friend played by Emma Rose, offer support.
Michael Teer, executive director of Theatre Victoria and director of the musical, said he has always wanted to put on this “very positive” performance of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”
“It’s always good to do a musical when you have a positive story,” Teer said. “The other thing is that people are very familiar with the movie, which helps them decide that they want to come see the musical.”
Teer’s favorite scene is during the second half of the musical when Emmett and Elle reach a turning point.
“Something happens that takes away Elle’s confidence and her self-esteem, and a beautiful song happens at that point,” Teer said. “It’s just heart-felt and heart-warming. I love that scene.”
Teer continued that Loria Rose is the perfect person to play Elle because she embodies all the necessary traits — she’s likable, vulnerable and savvy about life.
“Loria makes you root for her and makes you love Elle,” Teer said. “She’s going after her dream, and she’s able to adapt and learn that sometimes you have to veer off course to get what you truly want.”
Loria Rose, 26, of Victoria, said that her favorite scene is the “huge” dance number that everyone participates in to the song, “What You Want,” when Elle finds out she is admitted to Harvard Law School. Another scene that she likes happens in the courtroom at the end of the musical with Elle in the lead.
“It’s the first time Elle believes enough in her own abilities as a lawyer,” Loria Rose said. “She beams with confidence the whole show, but this time the confidence is in her mind and not just what she looks like.”
The funniest scene in Loria Rose’s opinion is when Elle meets her classmates the first day of school. The classmates share their serious dreams and numerous achievements that secured their spots in Harvard Law. Meanwhile, Elle, covered in pink, is completely outside their world and so different without much self awareness, and it is “just hilarious,” Loria Rose said.
Loria Rose said she has always loved the character of Elle because she remains 100% authentically herself.
“I think people should be aware that from start to finish, this (Legally Blonde) is a hilarious blast,” Loria Rose said. “It’s fast-paced with amazing dance numbers and incredible singing. You will be entertained from beginning to end.”
Thomas, 21, of Victoria, is a senior at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., studying to earn his BFA in musical theater. He enjoys playing Emmett because the musical delves much more into his character than the movie.
“Audience members who know the movie will really enjoy knowing him at a much deeper level than the movie provides,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ favorite song is “Legally Blonde” during an intimate moment with Elle.
“My personal experience is that I have been dying to get back on stage and see live theater after the pandemic,” Thomas said. “This musical is high energy and fun and perfect for all ages. People will really enjoy it and escape their troubles for a little bit.”
Perez, 19, of Victoria, will be attending Eastern New Mexico University for music in the fall. As Warner, his favorite song is “Serious” when he breaks up with Elle, which is the opposite of what she’s expecting.
“Their interaction is funny,” Perez said.
Perez said he enjoys playing Warner, the confident jerk who does not think of anyone else’s feelings, because he is usually cast as the lover boy.
“It’s nice to play the pseudo-antagonist in the musical,” he said. “As a viewer, it’s high energy with lots of singing and dancing. There’s not a second when you will be bored.”
Emma Rose, 22, of Refugio, is studying to become a physical therapist assistant at Victoria College. As Paulette, Elle’s goofy, quirky beautician friend, Emma Rose most likes the scene where they first meet. Her favorite song is “Ireland.”
“It’s the song where you get to find out about Paulette, what she’s been through,” Emma Rose said. “It’s funny and a little sad, and it opens up her back story.”
Emma Rose said the show is the funniest Theatre Victoria production she has ever been in, and this is her seventh performance.
“So many love the movie, so this is bringing back that joy you have when you watch the movie,” Emma Rose said.
Adams, 19, of Vanderbilt, is a sophomore at UT-Arlington. As Vivienne, Adams’ favorite scene is in the courtroom during Act 2 when her character’s harshness towards Elle dissolves, and she makes a revelation.
“I think this musical is so wonderful, and so ahead of schedule compared to the performances that I’ve done every other year. Everyone is so focused,” Adams said. “Getting back to live theater is going to be a magical experience for everybody to come and watch.”
Teer said that attending the musical is a great way to get back to normal as the pandemic recedes. He continued that the talent is not only on stage but also behind the scenes with set builders, costume designers, lighting designers, choreographers and musical directors. Brenda Serrata Tally is the choreographer, and John Lee Bonner is the musical director.
“We have Houston-type talent in acting but also in technical areas. We’re fortunate here in Victoria to have such talent,” Teer said. “Victoria is fortunate to have so many types of live entertainment — dance, theater and music — that show we have a strong community in the arts. By going out and purchasing tickets, it helps solidify these arts organizations and encourages people looking to relocate to come try Victoria, Texas, because we have so much to offer.”