Legally Blonde opens tonight on Rome Free Academy stage

at RFA — Quiana Holmes as Paulette and Emily Canarelli as Elle appear in a scene from Legally Blonde. It’s on stage in Rome Free Academy tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (Photo submitted)

LEGAL TEAM ¿ From left, Zach Linderman as Emmett, Tom Draper as Callahan, Emily Canarelli as Elle, Andrea Barrios as Enid, Jake Pohl as Warner, and Krista MacDonald as Vivienne compose the legal team in Legally Blonde. It¿s on the Rome Free Academy at 7:30 tonight through Saturday. (Photo submitted) . (Photo submitted)

Rome Free Academy presents Legally Blonde tonight through Saturday at 7:30pm in the RFA Auditorium.

Tickets are $7 and are general admission. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m. or from a cast or crew member.

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 MGM motion picture, Legally Blonde tells the story of sorority girl Elle Woods, who enrolls at Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend. With some help from newfound friends Emmett, Paulette, and her trusty dog Bruiser, Elle learns that despite the challenges she faces, being yourself and going after what you want never goes out of style.

Legally Blonde is rated PG-13 and is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Legally Blonde opened on Broadway in 2007, starring Laura Bell Bundy as Elle and Christian Borle (TV’s Smash) as Emmett. The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. The musical has since closed on Broadway, but enjoyed a successful run in London’s West End as well as two North American tours.

RFA Musical Director Jake Meiss says he chose the show for many reasons. "After doing shows like Seussical, Les Miserables, and Jesus Christ Superstar — which were all basically operas, sung throughout — it has been exciting to have the chance to sink our teeth into scenes with spoken dialogue. For all of these students, this is the first RFA Musical that is not completely sung throughout, and we’ve discovered that we have some exceptionally gifted young actors. It’s also exciting for us to do a lighthearted show; Legally Blonde has a powerful message, but there’s a lot of fun to be had along the way."

Meiss adds, "This is also one of the funniest musicals I’ve ever seen."

Legally Blonde is also the biggest show the RFA stage has ever seen. "It has the biggest cast, the most scenes, the most set pieces, two dogs, and a few special effects and surprises that I don’t want to give away," says Meiss. The show’s choreography is also "incredibly diverse," featuring everything from hip-hop to traditional Irish dance, a color guard, and the ensemble jumping rope.

Four years in planning

Meiss adds, "The production staff has been planning this show for four years. We had a large group of freshman girls with strong vocal auditions for Seussical in 2010, and decided right then and there that we would do Legally Blonde when they became seniors. Fortunately for us, the show became available, and the girls have definitely fulfilled the potential we saw years ago. The audition process was difficult, and this cast is incredibly strong as a result."

Legally Blonde has a fun, upbeat pop musical score guaranteed to entertain. "I fell in love with this music the first time I heard it, and the audience will too," adds Meiss. "The songs are incredibly fun, upbeat, and catchy — you’ll be tapping your toes during the show and humming the tunes when you leave. The lyrics are incredibly witty and allow the actors to create beautiful moments of comedy and drama — audience members are encouraged to listen carefully!"

Meiss notes, "The cast has been working hard to perfect vocals and choreography, a dedicated group of students has been completing all of the scenic artwork, the pit orchestra has been busy rehearsing the difficult score, and the student stage crew members definitely have their work cut out for them with the constant shifting of set pieces around stage. We are incredibly fortunate to have such talent here at RFA."

The cast

Legally Blonde features Emily Canarelli as Elle Woods, with Zach Linderman as Emmett Forrest and Quiana Holmes as Paulette Buonofuonte. Elle’s Greek Chorus of sorority sisters are Serena (Dana Glantz), Margot (Linda Martin) and Pilar (Lindsey Bartlett). Elle follows Warner Huntington III (Jake Pohl) to Harvard, where she meets Professor Callahan (Thomas Draper), Enid Hoopes (Andrea Barrios), and Vivienne Kensington (Krista MacDonald) and defends fitness guru Brooke Wyndham (Nicolette Darois) in her murder trial.

Featured performers include Aliyah Aikens, Zack Camp, Kate Chien, Kyle Coia, Carlo Cotronea, David Deeley, Kyle Dombrowski, Scott Duck, Evan Griffith, Aaron Hernandez, Elaina Lomery, Anna Morris, AJ Parker and Kevin Utter.

The sisters of Delta Nu are Jessica Acosta, Alyssa Babcock, Aaliyah Camp, Christina Carissimo, Marisa Castro, Sarah Chien, Rebecca Coffman, Kaitlyn Dombrowski, Sarah Fleck, Lauren Impicciatore, Brittney Liddy, Lauren McCarthy, Jasmine Millner, Anna Morris, Charline Muco, Gracie O’Connor, Madison Tikalsky, Taylor Uvanni, Ali Van Patten and Jordan Willson.

The ensemble includes: Morgan Bauer, Marie-Alayna Byrnes, Olivia Caro, Nicholas Chadwell, Anna Clark, Brianna Coia, Natalle Cook, Quinton Cosentino, Ryan DiMezzo, Sydney Duck, Kayla Elmer, Samantha Hallenbeck, Sara Hanrahan, Marissa Holmes, Ashley Hrim, Aaron Internicola, Andy Jardines, Andy Jeselson, Christian Johnson, Khadeem Joseph, Reagan Lawton, Bethany Mathy, James Mathy, Madelyn Minicozzi, Elena Norman, Amanda Nouvong, Erin O’Connell, Maria Parker, Domenica Ripa, Brett Rossi-Armstrong, Charley Sciorilli, Anna Skalski, Tyler Smith, Sabine Sowa, Ryan Tamburrino, Ruby Theriault, Marie Veschusio, Megan Veschusio, Elizabeth Wakeman, Samantha Washburn, Mackenzie Welch and Alanna Wiediger.

The students in the pit orchestra are under the direction of Meiss and RFA Choral Director Michelle Rushford. RFA students in the pit orchestra are Devyn Arredondo, Kyle Bojanek, Andrew Bremer, Quinn Bremer, Tyler Cavanagh, Camilla Corum, Pat Haugen, Callahan Hughes, Claire Kondella, Jenna Lee, Tricia Loso, Celeste Oppito, Brianna Weir and Erik Winberg, with Waterville student Jared Wentrick on guitar and RFA alumnus Tommy Fleming on drumset.