Preview: FDU’s Production of ‘Legally Blonde’ the Musical
This semester’s first main stage production on the Florham Campus will be “Legally Blonde,” which opens on March 24. If you have never seen the movie, it is about a blonde sorority girl named Elle Woods, who gets her heart broken by her college boyfriend. Determined to get him back, Woods goes to Harvard Law School in order to be taken more seriously. Woods then realizes that her now ex-boyfriend “is a complete bonehead.” By the end of the movie, Woods graduates with honors and wants “to be a partner in a law firm by the time she is 30.” The musical follows the same plot as the movie, but includes just a few more songs and dance numbers.
Director Cynthia “Cindy” Thole Loewus said, “It’s going to feel like a rock concert more than a musical.” Thole Loewus, senior lecturer of musical theater, said that “the students performing are very excited about this production.” She thinks that this musical is very relatable in the sense of the characters being in college and having had broken hearts.
Thole Loewus is not only directing this musical but handling the choreography of it as well. Thole Loewus brought in Christophe Desorbay to assist with the choreography. She explained that, as a director, “your name is on the product and there needs to be a vision.” If things do not look right, such as costumes or the set design, it is on the director. Communication has to be clear to make sure that the director’s vision is executed correctly.
Maiko Chii, guest set designer and FDU set design teacher, has created the set for “Legally Blonde.” A model set is usually created to bring to life the director’s vision for the production and to clarify anything that might be miscommunicated. Directors also have to trust their costume designers to have a good eye and understand what will work and what will not. The costume designer for this musical is Bettina Bierly.
With all the work that goes into directing, Thole Loewus does have an assistant director. Derek Lynch, senior musical theater and directing double major, has been learning the ropes from Thole Loewus. Lynch said it is fun and interesting to be in the musical, as well as serve as assistant director. Lynch reiterated how directors have this “artistic vision to guide people to fulfill the visions going on in his head.” As a student director, Lynch said he found boundaries between learning something new and dealing with existing ideas, finding a new balance between both during every rehearsal. “Cindy allows me to have artistic freedom, along with learning from her,” Lynch said about working with Thole Loewus.
Thole Loewus and Lynch agreed that it is easy to put on a production when the cast loves it too. Thole Loewus explained how this production has great roles for women, and there are a lot of talented women in the theater department. All of the iconic influences from the movie are still present in the musical, such as the color pink and the “bend and snap.”
Lynch believes this production may be the “one of the best.”