This article was written by BenitoLink inter Juliana Luna
“Legally Blonde The Musical” opens with pink beaming lights. Directed by Derek Barnes and Adrienne Summers, the show is part of San Benito Stage Company’s teenage program. Doors opened Oct. 21 and the show will run on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m through Nov. 5 at the Hollister Veterans Memorial Building. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Oct. 29.
The cast consists of high school students. A majority of them are enrolled in advanced placement classes and seemed to perform their best on stage.
The musical is based on the 2001 film “Legally Blonde.” After a breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Elle Woods attends law school in hopes of reconnecting with him. However, along the way Woods discovers her value and potential.
Barnes told BenitoLink the Addams Family show in March attracted 1,800 attendees, by far their largest audience in this year’s program that also included “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Having directed two junior plays, Summers directs “Legally Blonde” 50/50 with Barnes. The switch has been fun, she said.
A recent graduate from Hollister High School, Vocal Director Denae Torres put in 300 hours of work in four months. “Legally Blonde” is her first production with the Stage Company and Torres says she’s willing to come back to work in future shows.
Like most musical adaptations, this one is similar to the film except for a few small changes and new scenes. Fans of the film will right away notice Bruiser, the pet dog has been replaced.
“There’s no real dog,” said Derek Barnes ll, who portrays Professor Callagan, the law teacher and the antagonist.
Bruiser is switched to a stuffed dog and is in a stroller in most of the scenes. Aside from that, Jones said, “The actors make the play different. Everybody has their own twist on their character.”
Like her fellow cast members, Ashley Maupin is familiar with the movie. She plays the protagonist, Elle Woods, and got the opportunity to watch the movies “over and over again.”
“I love the story. it’s really inspiring to me,” Maupin said. “It’s been a dream role of mine.”
Unlike the movie, the play shows more of the emotional side and additional insight of the character.”
In the movie, Woods is a fashion icon and changes costume frequently; so Maupin gets to change outfits six times during the show.
Maupin also shares encouraging advice for upcoming inspiring actors: “Just do it. You have to do it. Find a friend to audition with. I used to watch online videos, and that would make me a little less nervous, people should definitely do it.”
Audrey Isom, who plays Elle’s friend Enid Hoops, has been acting for 10 years. Unlike her previous roles, where she played Nala in “The Lion King” and Donkey in “Shrek,” to Isom, this role stands out from the rest.
“It’s weird going from such classic characters to something that’s a little bit more up for interpretation,” she said.
Along with the challenges of getting to know her character on a deeper level, Isom has kept up with her advanced placement class assignments. She spent five or six hours a day practicing her lines.
“Legally Blonde” is the third role for Amelia Buzzetta. All of her nervousness is gone now. Behind the scenes Buzzetta said she has created new friends and portrays her character in her own unique way.
After performing in San Jose, David Carlen now steps onto the Hollister stage. Recently Carlin decided to start his theater career.
“In the show I’m not nervous. I’m just really hoping that I can live up to the expectations,” he said. In recent years, he’s been building his voice to sing. “I don’t want this vibe like, ‘oh they got this guy off from the football team or something.’”
Every actor and staff member told BenitoLink how much work they all put into the show, from after school rehearsals to home practice. Producers Tenille Ramirez and Melissa Schilling said laptops, books and papers were spread out around work tables. During break times the actors took this chance to do their schoolwork.
Tickets for Legally Blonde are available here.
The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.