IUB’s ‘Legally Blonde’ set to premiere

By Maddie Galassi

University students can bend and snap their way to “Legally Blonde The Musical,” put on by the Illini Union Board beginning Friday.

The musical is an adaptation of the film “Legally Blonde,” which came out in 2001 starring Reese Witherspoon, about a sorority girl who follows her boyfriend to Harvard Law School and finds herself in the meantime . 

The musical will be showing on Friday at 7:30 p.m., as well as Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Lincoln Hall Theater . 

Noel Konken, senior in ACES, is playing Elle Woods in the performance . 

“The musical version of ‘Legally Blonde’ stays very true to the original movie starring Reese Witherspoon,” she said. “The audience should expect all the classic lines and memorable moments with more modern and timely humor.”

Konken began participating in Illini Union Board performances during her freshman year at the University. 

“I have enjoyed being a part of IUB shows since my freshman year of college, and when I found out they would be doing ‘Legally Blonde’ my final semester, I knew I had to audition,” she said.

Konken has previously performed in “Chicago,” “Hairspray,” “Rent” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” all produced by IUB. 

Mark Weidner, junior in Media, is playing Kyle the UPS guy, as well as Dewey, Paulette’s ex-husband in the play.

Weidner has been in five plays prior to “Legally Blonde,” but this is the first musical that he is taking part in. He said his roles are interesting because he plays both a woman’s ex husband and future love interest.

“Since I play Paulette’s past and future husbands, I tried to make them complete opposites of each other and make certain parts of their personalities stick out: Kyle’s charm and confidence and Dewey’s hostility and cockiness,” he said. “I’m happy that I have the opportunity to play a villain from Paulette’s past and then also be her future romantic interest that finally gives her the love she deserves. It’s very fun to play both ends of the spectrum.”

Konken explained that she feels her character is a very positive role model. 

“She (Woods) is intelligent, speaks from the heart and, may I add, has a great sense of style,” she said. “I think every woman can find a part of themselves in Elle’s character, which is what makes her so captivating.”

Konken spent time studying Reese Witherspoon’s performance in the original “Legally Blonde” to prepare for her performance.

“I really went back and studied the original film and how Reese Witherspoon portrayed Elle Woods,” Konken said. “I wanted to be true to Elle and use the film as my main inspiration behind the character while adding a little bit of myself into the lines.”

The cast of the performance has been working long and hard preparing for the event, Weidner said. He said the cast began working on the show at the end of January, but the production staff began working on it before then. 

“Since mid-February, rehearsals have run Sunday through Thursday, totaling in fifteen hours of practice a week,” Konken said. “Everyone helps build the sets and promote the show, so additional time on weekends has been devoted to that.”

Weidner explained that those seeing the show should expect an upbeat, fun and energetic performance by the cast, making it a perfect event for both students and the moms who will be visiting campus.  

“My favorite part about this show is the level of energy. This is my first musical, so it’s my first time working with song and dance on stage so it adds a whole new element to the feel of the show,” he said. 

Tickets for the show may be purchased online or at the door before the performances. 

“Anyone who loved ‘Legally Blonde’ the movie should bring their mom, dad or friends to the show,” Konken said. “It is an upbeat musical with energetic, laugh-out-loud humor.”

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