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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 3:35 am | Fair 44º


Dos Pueblos Theatre Company Stages ‘Legally Blonde, the Musical’

Dos Pueblos High School senior Gracie Barker stars as Elle Woods in Dos Pueblos Theatre Company’s upcoming production of “Legally Blonde.”
Dos Pueblos High School senior Gracie Barker stars as Elle Woods in Dos Pueblos Theatre Company’s upcoming production of “Legally Blonde.” (Dos Pueblos Theatre Company photo)

Dos Pueblos Theatre Company, winner of the 2014 BroadwayWorld.com Santa Barbara Regional Award for Theatre Company of the Year, will present Legally Blonde, the Musical April 17-25 in the Elings Performing Arts Center, 7266 Alameda Ave. in Goleta.

The production will be co-directed by Clark Sayre and Gioia Marchese (who will also be choreographing the show), with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin.

Follow the sisters of UCLA’s Delta Nu sorority as they re-enact the musical drama of their ditsy, fashion-savvy president, Elle Woods, who does what she must by enrolling in Harvard Law to win back her “serious” ex-boyfriend Warner. Against all odds, Elle wins so much more, including the top rank in her class, respect from her peers, some wonderful new friends and even her first legal case.

Dos Pueblos High School senior Gracie Barker stars as Elle Woods. The cast also features David Jimenez as Warner Huntington III, Parker Sassola as Emmett, Keri Parsons as Vivienne Kensington, Ryan Evans as Professor Callahan and Luana Psaros (winner of three 2014 BroadwayWorld.com awards, including Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical) as quirky hairdresser, Paulette.

Legally Blonde is a story about self-empowerment, staying positive and true to oneself, and battling stereotypes and adversity. Elle herself proves to everyone that being blonde doesn’t mean she can’t set and achieve lofty goals, so long as she stays focused on what she wants and who she is. Even Paulette, who is often simpleminded and exceedingly theatrical, “embodies some very deeply human characteristics and takes Elle in to help her from the very beginning,” according to actress Luana Psaros, a senior at Dos Pueblos High.

Gracie Barker, who plays Elle and is a classically trained dancer, is excited about the many big dance numbers in the show, asserting that “everybody has so much energy and fun with each other on stage that you can’t help but smile.” Co-director and choreographer Gioia Marchese, agrees: “The energy is absolutely infectious. I find myself singing the songs all the time. The audience will have a lot of fun with this one!”

Audiences will also enjoy seeing this ensemble-heavy show, where even the smallest roles are made memorable with their high-energy performances. Roles like Kyle the Delivery Guy, Grandmaster Chad and Kiki the Colorist will keep you roaring with laughter, even when they only have one line! Psaros adds, “Each character is very unique, from the smallest ensemble role to the lead, Elle Woods.” This is clear in both the actors’ work and the musical styles the many characters bring to the stage. Co-director Clark Sayre comments: “With musical styles ranging from baroque to Irish to reggae to pop to pure Broadway, musicians will appreciate the many key changes within songs and students will love the contemporary music that feels like something they would actually listen to on their playlists.”

Despite the company of ensemble roles that audiences will come to love, Sayre reminds us, “the whole show revolves around Elle, so much so that even scenes she’s not in inform us about her journey. Whether we consider ourselves outcasts, underdogs, or just people facing life’s obstacles, Elle’s example shows us that with a positive attitude and great persistence, we can overcome stereotypes and accomplish anything we set our minds to.” Barker says she connects with the character because they are both, “so full of energy and very self-driven in the sense that at the end of the day, sometimes you are the only one who’s going to have to push yourself to get something done. Plus, we both really like pink!” Gracie, like Elle, also relies on the support of her friends and cohorts. “I’ve been in big productions before, but I’ve finally realized how much work putting on a show takes. Costume crew finds and makes outfits for every single person, the carpentry crew builds the crazy amazing set, and so many other people work to get the show on its feet.  It wouldn’t be possible without every single person we have and this may sound cheesy, but I really do feel that we are all becoming one big family.”

Sophomore Liam Strong, who serves as student master electrician, manages his own crew of five students who are responsible for hanging, focusing and maintaining over 200 lighting instruments, as well as doing specialty electrical projects like wiring up dozens of lights around a full length mirror.

“Dos Pueblos High School provides an amazing opportunity to explore the realms of technical theater,” Strong elaborates, “and truly gives me a place to learn real world skills that I’ll take with me into my future career in theatrical lighting. I’m also afforded the ability to work with an accomplished lighting designer, just as a master electrician would in a professional theatre company.”

In addition to Liam’s lighting crew, there is also a marketing crew, carpentry crew, costume crew and stage management team, each with their own student lead.

Joining co-directors Sayre and Gioia Marchese on the professional creative staff are producer/technical director Todd Harper, musical director John Douglas, vocal director Felicia Stehmeier Hall, scenic designer Scott Aronow, costume designer Jennifer Housh, lighting designer Leigh Allen, projection designer Natalie Khuen, sound designer Patricio Rodriguez, properties mistress Naomi Fujita and scenic painter Diane Huyck.

Legally Blonde opens April 17 in the Elings Performing Arts Center and runs through April 25, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. Legally Blonde is rated PG-13 and contains mature themes and content that may be inappropriate for some children. Parents are strongly cautioned.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, children and seniors (age 65 or older), and $25 for premiere seats (limited availability). The box office is open from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (cash, checks and all major credit cards accepted) and one hour before each performance, or call 805.968.2541 x4670 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased online by clicking here. A small service fee is applicable for all online orders. Tickets may also be purchased by phone or in person at the Granada Theatre box office.

— Todd Harper is a producer for the Dos Pueblos Theatre Company.

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