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Logos for LAOS' Legally Blonde against a glittery pink backdrop.

Omigod You Guys! LAOS presents Legally Blonde The Musical

We sat down with the cast and crew of Legally Blonde The Musical presented by LAOS (Leeds Amateur Operatic Society) to get the inside scoop ahead of their much-anticipated return to Leeds Grand Theatre this month.

Written by Susan Wilcock, Ian Thompson, Amy Barrett, Joey Clarkson and Kirsty O’Sullivan

Tell us a little about yourself and who you’re playing.

Susan Wilcock (Paulette Bonafonte): I play Paulette Bonafonte – the downtrodden beautician and hairdresser with a heart of gold. Paulette is an underdog who, aside from her own challenges, just wants to help those in need and unconditionally loves her dog Rufus.

This part is a complete joy to play – she is kooky and warm and just deserves a break which (spoiler) she definitely gets! I have performed musical theatre for as long as I can remember. I trained at the London School of Musical Theatre and have been lucky to play some wonderful parts over the years and this one is definitely up there with my favourites. One of the best things is that I now have two daughters who get to come and see me perform in such an uplifting show with a great message.

Can you give us an insight into a ‘day in the life’ at LAOS (Leeds Amateur Operatic Society)?

Ian Thompson (Stage Manager): Planning Legally Blonde The Musical starts 10 months before the ‘get in’. Securing stage sets, hiring lights and sound equipment as well as employing experienced personnel to head up each department. This is the largest LAOS show to date!

We start at 7am, gathering on stage where myself and the theatre staff carry out what’s known as a ‘toolbox talk’. This is a health and safety conversation, mainly explaining the plan for the day and what PPE is required.

The ‘get in’ to the building should finish around 6.30pm. At this point, the crew will run all the cues in the show, known as a ‘dry tech’. Once we are happy and we deem it safe we will invite the cast onto the stage. We then start the tech run. The Deputy Stage Manager (DSM) will call the cues and all staff will go with their next cue or their next action. We will only stop the tech run if there is an issue where we have to run something again. By 10.30pm we’ll have run the full show.

We then come back the following day to finish programming lighting cues in the desk, ready to run the dress rehearsal.

What makes this version of Legally Blonde The Musical unlike any other?

Amy Barrett (Elle Woods): This version of Legally Blonde The Musical is done by a cast and crew of people who just love musical theatre. We all do this in our spare time and dedicate hours to rehearsals. Generally, we all have other jobs that we work 9 – 5. I think our passion and love for the arts carry throughout this production. It is so important to promote the message of always having faith in yourself, and it is a privilege to be showcasing the story of Elle Woods!

Without Spoiling anything, do you have a favourite scene that you particularly enjoy performing?

Joey Clarkson (Nikos and Ensemble): I love performing There Right There, since Nikos is one of my dream roles in musical theatre. But I would say that my favourite number is Whipped Into Shape, I really enjoy living my “camp fitness instructor” fantasy!

Legally Blonde The Musical is known for its upbeat energy and catchy numbers. Which song resonated most with you and why?

Susan Wilcock (Paulette Bonafonte): My favourite song has to be So Much Better. Up until this point in the story, Elle has believed that her superpower is her appearance – she’s a confident, beautiful, all-American sorority girl whose life’s work is securing the love of a rich man. She fits a lot of stereotypes placed on women.

The audience sees that she is also bright, intelligent, kind and loyal, but these are not the qualities she has been made to believe will take her places. This song is the moment she sees her own self-worth and commits to passing the entrance exam to Harvard.

This is the feminist anthem for me. It is a great company song that highlights her wit, intelligence, confidence and inner beauty as her true superpowers!

What advice would you give to aspiring performers who might be hesitant to pursue their passion for theatre?

Kirsty O’Sullivan (Vivienne Kensington): I’d draw inspiration from our wonderful show. Embrace Elle Woods’ journey, emphasising resilience, self-belief, and breaking stereotypes. Elle’s transformation symbolises the power of determination. Understand that setbacks are part of the process, but each challenge is an opportunity for growth. Seek mentors and supportive communities within the theatre world, fostering connections that can provide guidance and encouragement. Remember that diversity and uniqueness are strengths; celebrate your individuality. Be persistent, dedicated, and open to continuous learning. Like Elle, let your passion shine through and trust in your abilities.

And finally, tell the truth… how often do you all Bend And Snap?

Well, that is for us to know… and you to find out! Spoiler alert: quite often!