Having fun with ‘Legally Blonde’

Musical opens tonight at the Boykin Center

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There’s no need to head out of town this weekend for some entertainment. Instead, head to the Boykin Center to see the musical “Legally Blonde.”

The upbeat show features lively dance numbers and catchy tunes that tell the story of sorority girl Elle Woods, played by Lindsay Cookson, who gets into Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, played by Daniel Fetter.

The show is presented by the Arts Council of Wilson and Barton College and is the seventh annual summer community musical.

Christopher Ballance, director of ACT! for Youth, said the summer show is always the biggest endeavor of the year.

Rather than direct this year, Ballance is producing the show, and Adam Twiss, director of Theater at Barton, is directing.

Ballance said there’s always a high expectation with the summer show. Audiences are looking for big dance numbers and powerful songs.

At auditions, actors traveled from across the region for the chance to participate in the show. Ballance said the turnout is a testament to the reputation of the summer show. Those actors cast include current and alumni ACT! for Youth kids and students from the theater programs at Barton and East Carolina University.

There are also two canine actors playing Rufus and Bruiser.

Ballance said actors enjoy the creative, fun atmosphere associated with the summer show, adding they try to pick “big, rocking musicals” each year.

The summer shows have included such titles as “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Shrek,” “The King and I” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

“It’s exciting to be able to put on a fun community show here in Wilson,” he said.

Ballance said this year’s choice provides a little theatrical diversity by offering a musical that people might not have seen before.

Director Twiss described “Legally Blonde” as a sleeper hit film that became something of a cult classic — a show with heart. The movie’s appeal is the reason why it was turned into a musical.

“It feels like a light-weight comedy, but it really has some teeth,” Twiss said, adding it makes social commentary in a fun way.

The local cast ranges in age from teens to 50s and is an ensemble-driven show, he said.

It’s in the ensemble that much of the story is revealed.

“I like the ensemble nature of something, even if it figures around an individual,” he said.

He cites this show’s Greek Chorus as an example. The chorus is a blending of different realities and creates a big production.

“We have three gigantic numbers that are spectacular,” he said, and three more that are secondary.

The big numbers have everything “except the kitchen sink,” Twiss added, including drums, acrobatics, cheer stunts and dancers. And, of course, strong voices.

“And I’m just thrilled with that,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to be showcased.”

Twiss said the summer show draws in college students who can’t do big shows while they are in classes. The summer schedule also gives them more time to focus on a show. He said it allows for a more dynamic and spectacular show than what can be produced in the school year.

“Legally Blonde” opens this evening at 7:30 and continues Friday and Saturday night and Sunday at 3 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. At the doors, tickets are $18 and $13. To purchase tickets call 252-291-4329 or visit http://www.wilsonarts.com.

Twiss cautions parents that the show does have some adult content.

lisa@wilsontimes.com | 265-7810