In an effort to get him back, Woods surprises everyone by also getting accepted by the same school and following him there. Although she is met with some Ivy League adversity, Elle still manages to thrive.
Brandt Blocker, the Lyric’s artistic director, is the show’s director. He said the stage production of “Legally Blonde” is very much like the movie — full of pop culture, entertainment and high energy. The Lyric’s home is The Strand Theatre at 117 North Park Square, but changes in the season’s lineup resulted in a move to Civic Center.
“Theatre in the Square’s closing shocked and saddened us all,” Blocker said. “When that happened, I wanted to let the Marietta community know that with the Lyric being the only professional theater company in Cobb County, we felt an obligation to let audiences know that those actors would still be able to call the Marietta Square their home.”
The Lyric took on “Smoke on the Mountain,” and Terry Chandler (manager of the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre) contacted the company and told them about an opening. Blocker said, “We felt like ‘Legally Blonde’ would be the right fit for that space. It’s such a large show. We can produce it as it was intended.”
The lead performers are Alison Brannon Wilhoit and Matthew Ragas as Elle and Warner, respectively. Blocker said, “(Wilhoit) is one of the highest talents this city has to offer. She is a local product out of Pebblebrook, and we bill her now as the Lyric’s own. She is a major talent.”
Blocker first directed Ragas when he was a teenager in New Orleans and said he is “overly excited” to bring him to this production. Ragas is serving as assistant director due to his background with the show.
Wilhoit began performing with the theater company in 2010 with “Hairspray.” Her most recent roles include Rizzo in “Grease” and June in “Gypsy.” Wilhoit, who is also a nurse at WellStar Kennestone, said she is a big fan of the movie and Witherspoon.
“When I knew it was going to be a musical, I was really excited to see where they would take that,” she said. “I feel like the musical really does a good job of bringing the movie to the stage.”
Of her character, Wilhoit said, “Everybody can love Elle Woods. She is positive and very happy. She tries to see the good in everything.”
This production of “Legally Blonde” marks Ragas’ debut with the Lyric, but he portrayed Warner for nine months with Troika Entertainment. He said initial reactions to the show vary across the board, but people wind up having a good time by its end.
“Having done the show in so many areas of the country and with so many demographics, it’s really interesting how people come to see the show and don’t expect to walk out loving it,” he said. “They expect something fluffy, but they say it is funny and entertaining. The heart of it is the unexpected part about it. There is a lot of emotion in the show.”
Ragas said the story is also that of the underdog, something he said people can relate to. Elle goes from being popular and loved to being judged harshly once she arrives at Harvard. Although Ragas said the show is for the entire family, he said it is especially inspirational for females.
“It teaches young girls about people, how to stand up for what they believe in, and how to be strong women,” he said.
So what can audiences expect? Blocker said, “A very slick professional entertainment production that will have you dancing and cheering in the aisles for Elle Woods to achieve her dream of becoming a lawyer.”
“This is a movie most people have heard of, so they can kind of relate, as opposed to an older musical,” Wilhoit said. “It was such a hit on Broadway, so I’m really interested to get an audience in to see what we are bringing to the stage and hear what they have to say about it.”
“It’s a modern musical,” Ragas said. “You can’t help but to be on your feet and smile at the end.”
“Legally Blonde” runs from Aug. 10 to 26. For more details on prices and times, visit www.atlantalyrictheatre.com. This show is not part of the Lyric’s season subscription package, and tickets must be purchased separately. Call (404) 377-9948 for more information.