Houston Goes Blonde With Theatre Under The Stars’ Legally Blonde the Musical

Published On: Aug 06 2012 01:16:27 PM CDT
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Theatre Under The Stars’ (TUTS) Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) is tickled pink to bring the charming hit showLegally Blonde the Musical back to Houston in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the award-winning Humphreys School.  Legally Blonde the Musical will “bend and snap” at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on September 14 – 16, 2012 and feature an all-teen cast made entirely of local high school students.  This enjoyable, non-stop musical adaption of the popular movie will have you thinking this much fun shouldn’t be legal!

Legally Blonde the Musical follows sorority star Elle Woods, an underestimated blonde who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. When her boyfriend dumps her for someone more “serious,” Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

After an overwhelming turnout at auditions, the cast is set for Legally Blonde the Musical.  Starring as the blonde heroine Elle Woods is Glenda Dawson High School senior, Megan McGuff.  McGuff was last seen at TUTS as the scrappy orphan Pepper in the wildly successful production of Annie. She also recently donned a fish tail and went under the sea as a mersister in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr. at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The role of the kooky beautician Paulette and Elle’s best friend in Boston, will be played by Katja Yanko.  A sophomore at College Park High School in The Woodlands, Yanko was also last seen as an orphan in Annie and a mersister in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr. She is an active member in the school choir and orchestra and recently attended Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. Ryne Nardecchia will appear as Emmett Forrest, the sensitive law student who takes Elle under his wing.  The Klein Oak High School senior is a 2012 Tommy Tune Award Best Actor nominee for his role of J. Pierrepont Finch in the classic How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.  Nardecchia’s other previous appearances at TUTS include The Sound of Music, The Who’s Tommy and 13 the Musical.  

The boyfriend who leaves Elle in search of someone more “serious” is Warner Huntington III played by George Ranch High School junior, Sean Hardin.  He was last seen on the TUTS stage in the Southwest regional premiere of 13 the Musical and The Who’s Tommy.  Hardin also starred as Shane Gray in the rocking tween hit, Disney’s Camp Rock the Musical at Miller Outdoor Theatre.  Warner’s new girlfriend, Vivienne Kensington, is smart and savvy law student played by Bethany Eggleston. The Cypress Woods High School junior is making her TUTS debut with Legally Blonde the Musical but has appeared in Anything Goes with Class Act Productions and The Wiz at Houston’s Center Stage Theatre.  Samantha McHenry will be “whipped into shape” as Brooke Wyndam, the exercise video star on trial.  McHenry is a junior at Friendswood High School where she performed in several school productions including The Pajama Game, The Music Man and The Royal Hunt of the Sun. Theatre veteran Joel Sandel takes on the role of the pompous and manipulative Harvard law professor, Professor Callahan.  Sandel’s previous credits with TUTS includeMy Fair Lady, 1776 and Into the Woods.  

Rounding out the cast are Jacob Ables, Rachel Broussard, Sam Burkett, Christine Carroll, Maddie Dennison, Natalie Flores, Devon Gaine, Deion Galindo, Jenny Gee, Libby Jasper, Liam Johnson, Danielle King, Angela Koskowich, Dylan Lambert, London Lane, McKenna Marmolejo, Samantha McHenry, McCall Montz, Clay Moore, Shelby Nunn, Collins Rush, Matthew Smith, Michelle Smith, Tara Stanley, Caroline Taylor, Robert Terry, Lan Tran and Alexis Vargas.

Alums of the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre make up the top-of-the-class creative team for Legally Blonde the Musical.  Returning as director is Michael Tapley who previously directed the student production of The Who's Tommy. Tapley began his career with TUTS in 1973 while appearing in Kismet. Over the years he has contributed his stage talent to other TUTS productions such as Gypsy, The Sound of Music, A Chorus Line and West Side Story. Tapley has also appeared on Broadway in several shows, most notably, in The Who’s TommyCharles Swan joins the team as the Associate Director.  Swan, a musical theater teacher at the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, studied at the Humphreys School and went on to appear in the TUTS productions of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Who’s Tommy and Scrooge.

Creating the perfect bend and snap choreography is Shay Rodgers, a native Houstonian who is currently in her 25th year with Theatre Under The Stars. During her time at TUTS, Rodgers has held various roles, as a student, performer, teacher, production assistant, choreographer, stage manager and now Manager of Education. Rodgers has choreographed several HSMT productions including VOTE! A New Musical, The Who’s Tommy, 13 the Musical, The Stephen Schwartz Project, Aladdin Jr., The World Goes 'Round, Disney’s Camp Rock: The Musical, Schoolhouse Rock Live and Disney's When You Wish.  Musical direction will be handled byLuke Kirkwood who previously assisted the Music Director in the TUTS’ productions of VOTE! A New Musical and The Who’s Tommy.  Kirkwood is a graduate of Sam Houston State University where he received a BA in Music.

Tickets for Legally Blonde the Musical are available on-line at www.tuts.com, by phone at (713) 558-8887, outside the Houston area at (888) 558-3882, or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office, (800 Bagby at Walker, Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-4pm).  A student matinee performance for school and home-schooled groups is available and may be purchased by calling TUTS’ Group Sales at (713) 558-8888 or via email at groupsales@tuts.com.  Tickets are available for September 14 at 7:30 p.m., September 15 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m, and September 16 at 1:30 p.m.

TUTS’ presentation of Legally Blonde the Musical is made possible by the generosity of Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts and Immanuel & Helen B. Olshan Foundation.

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is Houston’s acclaimed nonprofit musical theatre company whose mission is to enrich life through the experience of quality musical theatre and to positively impact lives beyond the stage through innovative education & community outreach programs.  TUTS was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public when it was founded in 1968 at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park and is the only Houston arts organization that has performed there free to the public every year since the theatre opened.  Founded by Frank M. Young and currently under the direction of President and CEO John C. Breckenridge, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premieres such as Kopit and Yeston’s Phantom, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jekyll & Hyde, and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas as well as critically acclaimed re-inventions of classics Cabaret and Les Miserables.  Through its membership in the Independent Presenters Network, TUTS has helped bring Bombay Dreams, 9 to 5, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot, Legally Blonde, Ragtime, Curtains and The Color Purple to Broadway and ultimately back to Houston audiences.

In support of TUTS’ mission, TUTS Education programs provide instruction and stage experience for more than 21,000 students annually, allowing them to flourish in a year-round schedule of classes.  The Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) offers technique-driven classes for all ability levels and ages, ranging from four to adult.  Through a merger with The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River), TUTS provides an accessible and inclusive arts education for children of all abilities that will enhance their development into confident, balanced individuals.  TUTS Education provides extended on-site programming as well as off-site programming for children in schools, hospitals and other community-based sites.  TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.