Omigod you guys, Legally Blonde has taken over the Omaha Community Playhouse!
Based on the hit movie, Legally Blonde follows blonde beauty Elle Woods as she journeys from her California campus to Harvard Law School. This sassy story of self-empowerment is a hysterically funny, feel-good musical with catchy songs and unforgettable characters. Legally Blonde will leave you singing "‘Omigod You Guys’ let’s go again!"
The production features music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach, and is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture. Legally Blonde is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. Omaha Community Playhouse's show will be directed by Carl Beck with music director Jim Boggess and choreographer Melanie Walters, with dog handler Sandi Hansen.
This week BroadwayWorld in Omaha Editor Cole Snider had the chance to sit down with the star of the show, Leanne Hill Carlson who plays Elle Woods.
First off, why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I'm originally from Papillion which is a small suburb of Omaha. I got my bachelor's degree in musical theatre at Sam Houston in Texas and then I came back here to Omaha in order to go to get my master's degree at University of Nebraska Medical Center, so I'm a physician's assitant and I do that part-time. I try to do theatre as much as I can though. I have a husband, Mark and I have an almost 2-year old son, Henry.
So you do theatre more so on the side, whenever you get a chance?
Right, I really do it when I find something that I am passionate about. Hopefully, I will be able to audition and get it! I did do Opera Omaha, I did one of the main parts in their last production, so there are some professional opportunities around town too.
What would you say is the best part about being in Legally Blonde?
It's so hard, because I am on stage the whole time and really I just look forward to everything! I am always like "Oh, good this scene's next!", "Oh, yay this scene's next!". I'd probably say that if I were watching the show and the moment of pure like fun is when we are doing the Bend and Snap and the guys come out and go "Damn!". I love that! But I just love everything about Elle, I look forward to being her every night.
So you have a degree in musical theatre, did you ever dream of running away to New York City to perform on Broadway?
I still do! (laughs)
So what keeps you from that dream? Is it the family life?
You know that's kind of hard, I think I should have probably done it when I had the chance to, like at twenty two. I don't know, I was just scared I guess. Then I came back here, got my master's, got married, now I have a child. Obviously, if an opportunity arose that I was like, "Okay, I have to do it!" then I would.
What is it like performing in a show while having a child at home?
It's more difficult, mainly because after the show you're so excited and you don't want to go to bed right away. You want to go out and have pizza, or whatever! I have to get up whenever Henry gets up, luckily on the weekends my husband will do that. It's just balancing everything, he's a lot of fun though and I think he will appreciate it in a couple of years.
Though some might think it is easy, Elle Woods is not an easy role to play, what would you say is the most difficult part of playing Elle?
When I started preparing for this role, which was way before I even got the role, you know six, seven months ago, I thought the hardest part would be the singing and just having the stamina to go through the show, it probably is. At one point, the hardest part was the costume changes, but now I'm used to those. So now it's keeping myself well, I can't talk a lot during the day, I have to be very careful. It's the most demanding role I've ever played.
Did you ever have the opportunity to see Legally Blonde in New York or on Tour?
I saw it on tour! I was like eight months pregnant and I was like "Oh, I want to be Elle!". It's a role of a lifetime and this will probably be the only chance I get to play it.
Would you say that your version of Elle was based more off of Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde the Movie), Laura Bell Bundy (Original Elle on Broadway) or Bailey Hanks (Successor to Laura Bell Bundy)?
That's a good question!