Legally Blonde, the 2001 Reese Witherspoon film and 2007 Broadway musical, is about to hit the Huddersfield stage – with two canine stars joining the cast.
The show, by Woodhouse Musical Theatre Company will be a premiere for the Huddersfield area and is the company’s most costly production to date. “We need to take £30,000 just to break even, “ says chairman Alan Warmby, “but we’ve taken that already so we should be OK. People think amateurs just turn up and do their bit in a church hall. But the set cost £4,500, the orchestra is £2,000, the sound and lighting are £3,500. It’s like running a small business.”
Hot on the heels of its sell-out performance of RENT at the Holmfirth Picturedrome in September 2016, Woodhouse is aiming high yet again. Alan says: “RENT was the best show we’ve ever done and everyone enjoyed doing it. You would be hard-pressed to find two shows that are more polar opposites than RENT and Legally Blonde. As 90% of the same cast are involved it just shows how versatile they are.”
With a cast of 33 humans, plus chihuahua Jasper and English bulldog Ralph, the all-singing and dancing production, which became a West End musical in 2010, promises a feelgood storyline. It revolves around the fortunes of American college sorority girl Elle Woods (to be played by Danielle Williams, a new Woodhouse member), who enrols at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington (Scott Armstrong, who is also co-directing). No-one has much faith in natural blonde Elle, a chihuahua-carrying ditsy fashionista, until she successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. It is a story of how brains and determination can win the day, beating stereotypes, snobbery and scandal. It’s based on the novel by Amanda Brown.
For Jasper and Ralph, on loan from a member of the backstage team, it will be their first-time in the theatre. But the human cast includes several of the company’s most experienced performers, including Neil Broadbent, Helen Woodhead, Joe Medlock and Alyce Liburd.
The show opens on Tuesday, March 21, at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Tickets are £12 to £16 from thelbt.org.uk or 01484 430528. There is a matinee on Saturday, March 25.