SEQUIM — Away we go on a journey of self-discovery, a young woman’s reinvention of herself — set to music with a big wig and two small dogs.
“Everyone is singing and dancing and running around. It’s super high-energy,” said cast and crew member Damon Little, describing “Legally Blonde,” the musical about to take the stage for a three-week run.
The saga of Elle Woods, sorority girl from California-turned-Harvard-law scholar, is Sequim High School’s spring production, replete with messages — sung, spoken, belted — about transformation for women and men.
Show times for this, the school’s 54th musical production, are 7 tonight and Saturday night plus May 10, 11 and 17 and 2 p.m. May 12, 18 and 19.
Tickets at Sequim High School’s auditorium, 601 N. Sequim Ave., are $12 for all seats on opening night, and range from $12 to $18 for the rest of the performances.
To buy in advance, visit SHSoperetta.ludus.com.
The high school annually presents an operetta to coincide with the Sequim Irrigation Festival, running today through May 12.
“Blonde” starts with a shock. Elle’s boyfriend Warner Huntington III, played by Jonathan Heintz, invites her to dinner on her graduation from UCLA.
She figures he’s about to propose. Instead Warner breaks up with her. He goes off to law school at Harvard and finds himself a more “serious” girlfriend, Vivienne.
“I’m pretty much the villain,” said Sequim High senior Maggie van Dyken, the actor playing the new flame.
But that changes. From this point, the story does not unfold as expected. It does unspool at breakneck speed as the cast and crew make this musical, which has played all over the world, their own.
Little, who will turn 18 during the “Blonde” run, plays what he calls “a menagerie of roles.” Sings a solo one minute, tumbles across the stage in a different costume the next, repeat. Like many of his classmates, he helped with the set and the props.
The 24-member cast and 13-member crew have as their leaders Linda Dowdell, professional composer-arranger-pianist from Sequim, and Brendan Chambers and Maggie Jo Bulkeley, both directors from Port Townsend.
Maddy Dietzman, as Elle, rocks a number of pink outfits while Caleb DeMott plays Emmett, her philosophical friend; Mikhail Ostrovsky is the uptight Professor Callahan and Teagan Hough plays Enid, one of the students who wins a coveted internship with Callahan.
Lindsey Coffman, Kariya Johnson, Makayla Allen and Isabella Platero are the Delta Nu sorority girls; Emily Bundy is Mom and Damien Cundiff is Dad. Like Little, Madelyn Pickens, Mathew Fowler, Devin Anderson, Chayil Briggs, Allison Van De Wege, Brianna Rocha, Brianna Jack and Ryan Chen have multiple roles.
Van Dyken, when asked for her favorite moment in the show, instead talked up a favorite character. Paulette the hairstylist, portrayed by senior Erin Gordon, is “absolutely hilarious,” rhapsodizing out of the blue about Ireland. She has this dream about traveling there to find love and marriage.
Paulette and Elle both discover new possibilities for themselves. Both take control of their lives while the Broadway-style song, dance and snappy dialogue spill out around them.
The mountain to climb in “Blonde,” van Dyken said, is “putting it all together as a whole ensemble. Just the music by itself is very difficult, but you have to add choreography on top of that,” not to mention the two dogs in the show: Cosette and Jeanie, who portray Bruiser and Rufus.
The production mixes students and professionals. Dowdell has for many years programmed Olympic Theatre Arts’ Musical Theatre Intensive for Teens, and last summer she taught it with Chambers and Bulkley by her side. The three are also performers and directors at Key City Public Theatre in Port Townsend; their shows range from the holiday musical “Spirit of the Yule” to a Cole Porter revue this June.
Dowdell also hails van Dyken and Little as her colleagues. As Operetta Club officers, the teenagers “are my supervisors,” she said, “except when I’m supervising them.”