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Originally published: 2012-10-03 11:30:01
Last modified: 2012-10-03 11:30:01

It's 'Legally Blonde' at LMC and last show for retiring professor

by Staff Reports

Lees-McRae College Performing Arts presents “Legally Blonde” Thursday to Sunday, Oct. 4 to 7, in the Broyhill Theatre of Hayes Auditorium on the Banner Elk campus.

Show times are 6 at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 7. Tickets are $5 for students and children and $12 for adults and may be purchased at the door.

In the play, sorority star Elle Woods doesn’t take “no” for an answer. So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone “serious,” Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law.

Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

“The show is very true to the film. The music is delightful and catchy. We go from one big musical number to the next,” said director Janet Barton Speer. “It also makes a really good point. We are not allowed to stereotype. Stereotyping blondes has been somewhat acceptable over the years, but this show makes us remember that it’s not OK.”

“Legally Blonde” features a large cast of more than 30 performers, plus two dogs.

“We found an abandoned Chihuahua mix in Atlanta and adopted it. It already has a home after the show. We also have a bulldog that stars as the trailer park dog,” Speer said.

Nicole Wright plays Woods, the female lead. Wright transferred into Lees-McRae College this fall and is excited to be in her first production.

“I can relate to Elle because she put herself in a new environment and discovers something new about herself,”  Wright said.

This production will be the last directed by Speer before her retirement in May 2013. Speer has been teaching theater, performing, choreographing, writing and directing plays for nearly 50 years, which includes more than 600 educational and professional productions. She is the Virginia McKenzie Reeves endowed chair of performing arts and distinguished professor at Lees-McRae College.

She is also the artistic director for Lees-McRae Summer Theatre, a position she plans to continue after her retirement from teaching.

“As I prepare for retirement from teaching, I remember clearly when I didn’t have enough students to cast a play,” Speer says in her director’s note. “And it was difficult to find a show that would match the existing talent, so I wrote a musical and solicited faculty and community to supplement the casting. Those students, faculty, administration and community members were troopers, and they were crucial in making us what we are today. They had enormous heart, and their energy led us to become healthy, thriving performing Arts organization.

“Today, we have graduates all over the world in the business of acting, singing, dancing, technical theater, arts management, costume design and public school teaching,” Speer said. “Graduates are college professors and leaders in business. They are leaders in their field and creative forces in their communities. All this is due to that first group at Lees-McRae who believed we had something special to offer.

“Since I will still be living in the community, I’ll continue to be an ambassador for the college. I won’t be gone,” Speer said. 

“Legally Blonde” is presented through a special arrangement with Musical Theatre International. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

For more information, call (828) 898-8709.