Stage & Dance

Lexington Theatre Co. ‘Legally Blonde’ has ties to Broadway original

Emma Degerstedt will play Elle Woods in the Lexington Theatre Company’s production of “Legally Blonde — The Musical.”
Emma Degerstedt will play Elle Woods in the Lexington Theatre Company’s production of “Legally Blonde — The Musical.” Photo provided

The Lexington Theatre Company has anounced its cast and crew for July’s production of “Legally Blonde — The Musical,” and it will include a few folks from the original Broadway production of the show and an Elle Woods with a lot of experience in the role.

Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy, who originated the role of Elle Woods on Broadway and received a Tony Award nomination for the effort, is expected to be part of directing the show along with Lexington Theatre Company artistic director Lyndy Franklin Smith.

Emma Degerstedt will play Elle, a role she played on a national tour and in Los Angeles, where she received a 2013 Ovation Award nomination for her performance. The Ovation Awards go to stage productions in Los Angeles. Mid-2000s Nickelodeon fans may remember Degerstedt for her role as Maris Bingham on the comedy “Unfabulous.”

Dan DeLuca, who just wrapped up the first national tour of “Newsies” in the role of Jack Kelly, will play opposite Degerstedt as Emmett.

Elle’s best friend, Paulette, will be played by Katharine Leonard, veteran of Broadway productions of “Hairspray” and “Footloose.” Leonard’s screen credits include the Amazon series “Bosch” and NBC’s “Grimm.”

Professor Callahan will be played by a veteran of the Broadway production of “Legally Blonde — The Musical.” Kevin Pariseau played Elle’s father and Dean Winthrop, and he understudied the role of Callahan on Broadway.

As is now tradition, local talent will be center stage too, particularly SCAPA-Lafayette High School graduate Reilly Richardson, playing Elle’s nemesis Vivienne Kensington. Richardson, a graduate of the University of Michigan, is well known to local audiences for appearances at Lexington Children’s Theatre and UK Opera Theatre’s “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.”

The Lexington Theatre Comapny conducts auditions around the region and at Oklahoma City University, the alma mater of Franklin Smith and her husband and company producing director Jeromy Smith, for the supporting cast.

Other students and recent graduates in the cast are:

University of Kentucky: Audrey Belle Adams, Jessica Bayne, Peter Gibbons, Darian Sanders, Sloan Theaker, and Joseph Wrightson

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music: Brianna Latrash, Casey Wenger-Schulman, Kurtis Bradley Brown, Delaney Guyer, Kyle Ivey, Kyle Pollack and Bryn Purvis.

Oklahoma City University: Ali Funkhouser, Ryan Lambert, and Daxx Jayroe Wieser

Also cast are Essence Williams (Rider University), Nathan Fister (Western Kentucky University), Elizabeth McGuire (Samford University), Katherine Tabisz (Ball State University), and Megan Valle (Wright State University).

Brooke Engen and her twin sister Tiffany Engen will adapt and director Jerry Mitchell’s original choreography for the show. Tiffany was in the original Broadway cast for “Legally Blonde” and both have toured with the show and worked on productions around the country, including the same Los Angeles show as Degerstedt.

Rounding out the creative team are music director Brock Terry, who also serves as music director at First United Methodist Church; vocal coach Andrew Byrne, a Broadway veteran; lighting designer Tanya Harper, technical director at UK’s Singletary Center for the Arts; production coordinator Tony Hardin, who is on the UK theater faculty; sound designer Jeremy Lee, veteran of numerous Broadway productions; wardrobe and hair coordinator Joseph D. Sibley, currently assistant wardrobe supervisor for Broadway’s “Bandstand”; production stage manager Brandon T. Holmes, production stage manager for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati; and stage manager Gretchen Shoot and assistant stage manager Eric N. Mattingly, both Lexington stage veterans. The animal trainer will be William Berloni, who has worked on numerous Broadway shows.

Rounding out the local talent supporting and getting pro experience in the show are members of the orchestra, apprenticeship and intern programs. They are, as follows from the company’s news release:

The LEX Orchestra: Bryan Angel (Percussion), Sonny Burnette (Woodwinds), Richard Byrd (Trumpet), Rick Cook (Trumpet), Casey DeMattina (Drums), Jerram John (Keyboard), Luke Jackson (Guitar), Bradley Kerns (Trombone), Julie Lastinger (Violin), Larry Nelson (Woodwinds), Paul Reich (Bass), and Michael Rintamaa (Keyboard).

The LEX High School Apprentice Program – Performance Division: Jamie Bradley (Paul Laurence Dunbar High School), Caroline Capello (SCAPA), Reagan Earlywine (Bourbon County High School), Jessica Majors (Boyle County High School), Jack McElroy (Scott County High School), Anna Midden (Harrison County High School), Lily Rasmussen (SCAPA), and Joseph Waterbury-Tieman (SCAPA).

The LEX High School Apprentice Program - Technical Division: Jen Chaney (Lexington Christian Academy), Robbie Parrott (Bryan Station High School), John Henry Reynolds (Lexington Catholic High School), and Elia Zonio (Tates Creek High School).

The LEX College Internship Program: Nicolás Acosta (UK), Kelsey Rose Brown (University of Georgia), Emilia Bustle (UK), Griffin Allen (Northern Kentucky University), Christa Hanks (CCM), Kate Pozner (CCM), Alison Rickert (UK), and Greta Rosenstock (UK).

The LEX Observership Program: Shanna Robinson (Choreography Department).

Tickets are currently on sale for “Legally Blonde — The Musical” which will run at 8 p.m. July 20 and 21, 2 and 8 p.m. July 22 and 1 p.m. July 23 at the Lexington Opera House.

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