Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The Portsmouth Area Arts Council (PAAC) and Children’s Theatre is holding auditions now for its spring performance of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” Auditions are Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Salvation Army building, located 1001 Ninth Street in Portsmouth and are open to any student age 14-18.
Students must turn 14 by Jan. 18 to be eligible to audition for the Senior Company, and 18-year-olds must still be in high school to participate.
Originally based on the book by the same name, written by Amanda Brown, “Legally Blonde” was made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon in 2001, with a 2003 sequel and direct-to-DVD movie in 2009. The musical debuted on Broadway in 2007. The story follows sorority star Elle Woods, who doesn’t take “no” for an answer.
So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone “serious,” Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and set out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: to Harvard Law.
“What I love about this show is that Elle starts off a very superficial character. She only sees her future in terms of what her boyfriend has planned for her. Throughout the show, she becomes her own person, with her own strengths and goals and realizes her own self-worth,” Susan Foster, Artistic Director of the Children’s Theatre, said. “This is such an uplifting show and has great message.”
The PAAC premier will be the third full-length musical the Children’s Theatre has produced for local high school students. Audiences should see a big difference in this year’s show over last year’s PAAC performance of “Sweeney Todd.”
“Sweeney Todd was an amazing show but very dark. Legally Blonde is a world away from the murderous streets of London and we’re excited to do a completely different kind of show for the students. The musical style is different, the costumes and sets will have a completely different feel to them. I think everyone is going to have a lot of fun with it,” Becky Lovins, Executive Director of the Portsmouth Area Arts Council, said.
Graduating members of the senior company may be eligible to apply for Children’s Theatre scholarships awarded by PAAC.
“Last year we awarded three, $500 scholarships to graduating seniors who were going to college to study some form of theatre or performance art. This year’s application will be available at the first rehearsal and will be open to any graduating seniors who have participated in at least two of PAAC’s Children’s Theatre shows. The number of awards will be based on available funds and the merit of the applications,” Lovins said.
Auditions begin this week and Lovins said the cast calls for over 20 actors — both male and female. A large ensemble cast includes many featured roles and a strong chorus. Those interested in auditioning should come prepared to sing a musical theatre number that showcases their vocal skills and be prepared to read from the script. Lovins also asked that students with scheduling conflicts should have that prepared in writing to give to the director that night, which will help in preparing a rehearsal schedule.
Junior Company members ages 6-13 can also audition for a 30-minute pre-show before each performance. Younger actors will perform at the Vern Riffe before each evening show and will be given tickets to watch the Senior Company show every night. Pre-show auditions will be at 5 p.m. at the Salvation Army on Jan. 2-3. Lovins said junior members should come prepared to sing a song in their favorite musical style.
In addition to “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” PAAC also sponsored local performances this season of “The Music Man, Jr.” and attracted outside performers to bring shows such as, “The Magic of Reading” and “Magic of the Night” with Stephen Knight, “MacBeth” by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, “Mystic Drumz: The Button People,” and “Junie B. Jones.”
All shows will be performed at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on the campus of Shawnee State University in Portsmouth. Performances are mandatory and will be March 15-17. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit them on Facebook at “Portsmouth Area Arts Council,” or contact the Arts Council office at 740-351-3642. PAAC can also be found online at www.paac4kids.org.
The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Portsmouth Area Arts Council & Children’s Theatre with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or email@example.com.