“From the moment of the first down beat to the final curtain, you just feel good,” praises David McLaughlin, Musical Director for Flowertown Players’ upcoming musical, Legally Blonde. Flowertown Players prepares to bring audiences a wild romp from start to finish in Legally Blonde: The Musical, based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the adored MGM movie, this action-packed, international, and award-winning musical explodes on the stage with song and dance. I wanted to dive in with the cast and crew to get an inside look at this famed musical.
Director Chrissy Eliason says this show chose her. As she reeled over director suggestions for the Artistic Director, her husband encouraged her to throw in her hat. Having never directed a musical of this magnitude it was going to be a huge undertaking but with the right team anything is possible, “I have an amazing team with David McLaughlin, Ethan Goodman and Kelsey Palmer. The talent in this group is astounding,” says Chrissy. Musical Director, David McLaughlin has directed, choreographed, and musically directed Legally Blonde twice in the past and having worn all the hats has a new perspective on this production, “Chrissy has brought some great ideas for blocking and the set design and Ethan has a whole new set of choreography, so it’s unique, I love it.”
Based on the critically acclaimed movie, Chrissy had to find someone to fill the large shoes left by Reese Witherspoon in her iconic role as Elle Woods. After casting everyone else, Chrissy was still on the hunt for the perfect Elle Woods. Enter Taylor Ann Spencer, a popular theatre Costume Designer in Charleston and the perfect Elle Woods. Taylor Ann originally attended Coastal Carolina for Musical Theatre but was swept up by Disney to play a character at Disney World. She soon found a love for costume design and received her degree from College of Charleston in costume design and technology.
I wanted to know who Elle Woods is. Is she just the vapid blonde that followed her boyfriend to Harvard? Is there more to Elle? Taylor Ann explains that, “on the surface, Elle appears to be your stereotypical blonde, sorority girl/character role. But then we see this character has her heart broken by someone she thought was her only future. The vulnerability of Elle allows the audience to fall in love with her as she follows her heart all the way to law school. It’s through her fearless journey; you realize just how genuine she is. As she seeks approval and continues to fight to win back love but she finds out that it’s not his love she needs but its love for herself.” In a lot of ways Taylor Ann can relate to Elle,” I have a 3 pound Chihuahua named Pixie and my wardrobe does contain a good bit of pink but on a more serious note, I think most people can easily relate to Elle. The main themes I have found super relatable throughout our rehearsal process and hopefully, most other humans do too; 1. Breaking Stereotypes! Everyone has been stereotyped at some point and sometimes you would rather just be the stereotype rather than fighting it…Elle faces the same issues. 2. Relationships! Especially the relationships between women, really speaks to me. Women supporting other women without having ulterior motives are so essential to keeping me a positive person. And Elle knows all about being a good gal pal so I’ve been taking notes. 3. Balancing as a Modern Woman! As Elle tries to find success in her relationships, she also wants to succeed in her career. And as modern women I know that can be a huge struggle but Elle manages to find a healthy balance and succeed at both.” Knowing your character is half the battle, Taylor Ann brings experience and talent to the role.
With a new sense of who Elle Woods is I attended a rehearsal to see the ensemble take share during “What you want.” The ensemble shines after only a few weeks of rehearsal and embraces the energetic dance moves that make up 90% of the show. For a fun, feel good time don’t miss Elle Woods take Harvard by storm March 24th – April 9th in Legally Blonde: The Musical.