‘Legally Blonde’ coming to Summer Place
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media June 26, 2013 9:26AM
‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’
♦ June 28-30 and July 12-14
♦ Naperville Central High School, 440 W. Aurora Ave., Naperville
♦ Tickets, $10-$17
♦ (630) 355-7969
Anthony Berg is a director more comfortable directing thematically dark plays.
Yet, the Addison resident finds himself at the helm of the sunny-funny musical “Legally Blonde” for Summer Place Theater of Naperville.
Show times are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays June 28 to 30 and July 12 to 14 at Naperville Central High School. There are no performances July 5 to 7.
The music and lyrics for “Legally Blonde: The Musical” are by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and the book is by Heather Hach. It’s based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon.
Although he prefers modern plays, Berg admits he wasn’t as familiar with “Legally Blonde: The Musical” as he was with the 2001 movie.
“The plot is definitely the same as you see in the movie,” he said. “Of course, the thing that pushes the musical along is those high-energy dance numbers and super over-the-top vocals that are put into the musical to enhance the relationships between the characters.”
The plot is essentially the same — superficial, blonde, SoCal sorority girl desires a ring from her boyfriend, and instead gets the heave-ho. She takes matters into her own hands and follows him to Harvard Law School, where she discovers she’s more than just the proverbial pretty face. In the process, she meets some good friends and a new love interest.
His cast is phenomenal, he said.
“It’s definitely a show that people came out of the woodwork to be a part of, and we are truly excelling,” he said. “The show is going to be spectacular.”
Audiences are ready for a modern show, he said, and “Legally Blonde” came along at just the right time. Additionally, it’s been good for him to step out of his comfort zone as a director.
“I’m a darker director; I enjoy darker things,” he said. “Your ‘Sweeney Todd,’ your ‘Urinetown.’ Something that has a little bit of a villainous quality to it. Finding darkness inside ‘Legally Blonde’ isn’t exactly easy. It was a challenge to me as a director because I don’t generally focus on good-girl cheerleaders. I’m a guy and I live in a guy’s world, and this is definitely a girl’s world musical.
“But I have to say, even though it follows the movie, I feel as a director I’ve taken a path of making sure the characters aren’t exactly what you see in the film,” he said. “They each have their own little unique personality traits that they’ve made as actors that give a little bit of a difference to their characters and make them excitable and more realistic. So it isn’t just an over-the-top musical that’s in your face, but it gets them to have real moments that people can identify with.”
He thinks that audiences will appreciate the girl-power message the musical has underneath the pink rhinestones and glitter. Or, it will simply serve as a great girl’s night out.
“It’s just an overall good-feeling show.”