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The Baldwin Goes 'Blonde'

Stagecrafters presents Legally Blonde at the Baldwin Theatre.

The Baldwin Theatre will be an explosion of pink this fall as Stagecrafters kicks off their 56th season with Legally Blonde – The Musical.  Come fawn over fine-looking frat boys and drool over adorable dogs in this hit Broadway musical! Fresh off a National Tour, this fun and energetic show runs September 7th – 30th at the , in downtown Royal Oak.

Based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name, Legally Blonde-The Musical features music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach.  The Tony-nominated musical tells the story of Elle Woods (Kelly Robinson of Royal Oak) and her journey of realizing that there’s so much more to her than being blonde. 

Elle is a sorority girl and fashionista who is obsessed with socializing and the color pink.  Just when Elle thinks her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Stephen Brown of Farmington Hills) is about to propose, she gets the unexpected surprise that he is breaking up with her.  Determined to win him back, Elle follows him to Harvard Law to prove that she’s really the “serious” girl he wants.

While at Harvard, Elle meets Professor Callahan (John Nowaczyk of Ferndale), a cruel and dark-hearted lawyer; Emmett Forrest (Patrick Kilbourn of Berkley), a smart and kind teaching assistant who tutors her; and Vivienne Kensington (Hilary Riddell of Royal Oak), Warner’s new girlfriend.  Elle also befriends salon-owner Paulette Buonufonte (Liz Schultz of Royal Oak) and uses law for the first time to get Paulette her dog back.

Paulette’s dog, Rufus, is being played by Schultz’s own dog, Knightley.  “It's nice having my real dog with me as my character's dog because I don't have to be nervous or fake any emotions with him....I adore him,” says Schultz.  “I think my family is more excited to see my dog in the show than they are to see me in it! I'm old news; he's the new star!”

Bright and bubbly, Legally Blonde – The Musical also has a lot of heart.  It’s not just a story about finding yourself; it’s about realizing that you can be something you never even thought was possible.  It may be the only time you learn life lessons while tapping your toes and bopping your head.

For Kelly Robinson, playing Elle has been a roller coaster of a ride.  “It's definitely a marathon throughout,” she says.  “I never leave the stage for more than a few seconds and when I do, I am either doing a costume change, or trying to breathe and drink water.”  Robinson continues, “What was surprising to me is how much energy it takes to be at Elle Wood's level all the time!  She is on another plane completely, and it’s something you can't fake.  She goes through such a transformation throughout the show with so many highs and lows; I have to work really hard to make sure that I am capturing that and relaying it to the audience.”   

Robinson even dyed her hair blonde for the show instead of donning a wig.  “Going blonde was probably the most drastic thing I had to do for this role, but I felt it was so important to do it for myself and to fully understand Elle,” she says.  “I have been joking that it is going to be some kind of ‘social experiment’ to be blonde... and to tell you the truth it has been.  It’s only been a few weeks, but I really do feel that I have been treated differently, and I am starting to see things a little differently too.” 

Director Matt Miga of Ferndale first saw the show on Broadway and immediately knew that it was his kind of show. “From the first downbeats of the drums, I was enthralled,” said Miga.  “The show was witty, funny, energetic, and pure fun.”  He jumped at the opportunity to direct it, only after first figuring out how to make it his own.  “I’m not a director who likes to recreate the Broadway or touring versions of shows.  I like to face the challenges a professional director faces by exploring texts and storylines while trying to create a vision that expresses my views and opinions of the show to the audience.”

Although the production may look different from the Broadway show, audiences will still see a lively, invigorating, and energetic show with great songs, powerhouse singing, dynamic dancing, and a hilarious book.  “And there will be dogs!” exclaims Miga.  “Who doesn’t love a show with dogs?!”

In addition to the regularly scheduled performances, there will be a special “Ladies Night Out” fundraiser on Thursday, September 6, 2012. The doors will open at 6:00 pm with a pre-glow of hors d’oeuvres by Holiday Catering, retail therapy and sassy fun. The curtain will rise for the final dress rehearsal of Legally Blonde – The Musical at 8:00 pm.  The September 28th performance will be a themed “Greek Night,” an evening where audiences and members from different sororities can enjoy light hors d’oeuvres before the show.

Legally Blonde – The Musical opened on Broadway in 2007 starring Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods, and Christian Borle as Emmett Forrest.  It ran for 595 performances and then headed out on a North American tour in 2008.  The show has also been produced in London, Australia, and a number of European countries.

Advance tickets for performances are $18 on Thursdays, $20 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Student and Senior discounts are available for specific performances.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved.  If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 per ticket.

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