Tony Award-Nominated ‘Legally Blonde’ Opening in October at River Campus



CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 16, 2013 – Nominated for seven Tony Awards, the hilarious musical comedy, “Legally Blonde,” will be presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2-5 and 2 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.

“Of all the wonderful musicals, ‘Legally Blonde’ is one of my favorites,” said Kenneth Stilson, director of “Legally Blonde.” “This show is such fun. And our students are going to rock the house with this production. I can guarantee you won’t want to miss the fun this show has to offer. It’s for people of all ages, and we promise you’ll be singing and dancing for days after seeing this incredible production.” Stilson has directed many of the department’s most popular musicals and plays over the past 13 years – “Grease,” “Hamlet,” “The Pajama Game,” “Sweet Charity,” “Once On This Island,” “Big River,” “42nd Street,” “Guys and Dolls,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and “The Glass Menagerie.”

“It (‘Legally Blonde’) reminds me a lot of ‘Grease’ in that the characters are so identifiable,” he said. “The story, based on the popular movie, is absolutely delightful. The music is so memorable, and the visual elements will rival anything we have ever presented at the River Campus.”

“Legally Blonde” is about knowing who you are and showing what you have. This is law school like you have never seen it before.

Elle Woods can handle anything. So, when her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, dumps her, she decides to follow him to Harvard Law School and win him back. With some help from her new friends, including Paulette Bonafonté and Emmett Forrest, and her Chihuahua, Bruiser, she discovers she has a natural talent for being a lawyer and learns it is so much better to be smart.

“The irony is, ‘Gone Girl,’ the major 20th Century Fox feature film being shot now in Cape Girardeau, is being produced by the one and only, Reese Witherspoon, who originated the role of Elle Woods in the popular movie,” Stilson said. “This has not gone unnoticed by the production team, and they are working very hard to connect with the cast and crew of the film to attend a performance of Legally Blonde. Who knows? Maybe there will be celebrity sightings at the production throughout the week.”

Dr. Phil Nacy, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, says, “‘Legally Blonde’ is full of vitality, fun, and energetic singing and dancing that throws the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype out the window.”

This production of “Legally Blonde” also features the incredible talents of guest scenic designer, Christopher Pickart, who has designed numerous Off-Broadway productions, as well as some of the top major regional theatres in the country, including the Utah Shakespeare Festival, City Theatre in Pittsburgh, The Clarence Brown Theatre, Coast Playhouse in Los Angeles, Virginia Stage Company, The Olney in Washington, D.C., Arkansas Repertory, St. Louis Repertory and many more.

“His work is stunning,” Stilson said. “We’re delighted to bring Chris back to Southeast to share his magic with our audiences.”

Besides the incredible talents of Joe Mason, musical director, Michelle Contrino, choreographer, and Cape Girardeau’s own, Judith Farris, “Legally Blonde” also showcases several new professional faculty and staff in the Department of Theatre and Dance, all of whom have been hired within the last 12 months. Travis Richardson, former resident production director and lighting designer for the internationally acclaimed dance company, Trey McIntyre Project, as well as many other top companies, makes his debut as the department’s new lighting designer and technical director. Justin Barisonek of the prestigious Cincinnati Conservatory serves as the scenic charge for “Legally Blonde.” Florida State University’s Alyssa Bolden begins her second season as costume designer. Marion Powell from the Savannah College of Art and Design is the scene shop supervisor, and Hannah Roten, direct from the North Carolina School of the Arts, supervises the costume shop.

“Legally Blonde” music and lyrics are by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe, and the book is by Heather Hach.

The show includes mild language.


Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or by visiting