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North Fort Myers High School: ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ on stage April 21-24

By Staff | Apr 15, 2016

When Elle Woods is dumped by her boyfriend, Warner, she does what any woman would do; she follows him to Harvard Law School, where she enrolls, to try to win him back.

There, she discovers true love and that she’s much more than just a ditzy blonde.

The North Fort Myers High School Center for Arts & Media presents “Legally Blonde: The Musical” which will be performed in the school auditorium from April 21-24.

The musical stars Kelly Tackett as Elle, Mitchell Lipscomb as Warner, Zachary Rivers as Emmett Frost, who takes Elle under his wing and eventually falls in love, and Jesse Desrochers as Callahan, the law professor.

Michelle Whitener, who has run the annual performance for years, said she came up with the idea of doing Legally Blonde last year, just after doing Young Frankenstein.

“We have about 100 girls every year in musical theater, and I thought I would do a girl’s show,” Whitener said. “There are good guy parts, but it’s about the pink thing and the girls love the show, it’s high energy and lots of dancing and singing.”

Auditions began in December and work began in earnest in February. Slowly, the program has begun to take shape, with dress rehearsals having started on Monday.

“We’re where we need to be, finishing the final details. We have a large cast of 60 performers and another 20 on stage crew and 22 more in the orchestra,” Whitener said.

Tackett, a junior, has done community theater since sixth grade. She said she’s had a great time playing the lead role.

“It’s amazing. I love working with the teachers and students. It’s been exhausting, but very rewarding,” Tackett said, who prepared for the role by constantly watching the musical online. “Aside from the good message, I like the energy of all the musical numbers.”

Many people have seen the motion picture, but the musical is actually quite different in that the relationship between Elle and Warner takes a backseat to the budding relationship with Emmett.

“In the movie Emmett was more of a stock character and a mentor to Elle. Here, they become friends, then best friends, and he has more depth than you imagine,” Rivers said, who shined as Igor as a freshman in Young Frankenstein last year. “The character is a change from what I usually do, and I appreciate a challenge.”

In the musical, it’s Warner who takes on the stock character, with Lipscomb saying he wants to be the “stock jock.”

“It was a lot of looking into the mirror and smiling at myself. I built my self-confidence and brought it to the stage,” Lipscomb said. “I would walk through the hallways like a jerk.”

The musical also nearly falls in the category of an opera, as there are only brief spoken interludes between songs, of which there are many.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and staff.

The Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are at 7 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2.