The musical, which premiered on Broadway in April 2007, is based on the 2001 Hollywood comedy in which Reese Witherspoon played California sorority girl Elle who follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School in an attempt to win him back. Also as expected, Smith will be joined in the West End cast by ex-Blue pop star Duncan James as Elle’s heartbreaker college sweetheart Warner and Alex Gaumond as her new love interest Emmett (See The Goss, 16 Mar 2009).
Sheridan Smith (pictured as Elle) was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical at both the Whatsonstage.com and Olivier Awards for her last musical role as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, which opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory before transferring to the West End. Her other stage credits include Bugsy Malone, The People Are Friendly, Ancient Lights, Tinderbox, The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For the past two years, she has also co-hosted, with James Corden, the Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert. She’s best known for her TV credits including Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Grown Ups, Love Soup, Benidorm, The Royle Family, Lark Rise to Candleford and Jonathan Creek.
Sheridan Smith as Elle Woods
Duncan James as Warner
Since leaving Blue, which had 40 number ones worldwide, Duncan James made his West End debut playing Billy Flynn in Chicago and, in 2007, was a finalist on Dancing on Ice. Alex Gaumond’s many credits include Sunday in the Park with George, Desperately Seeking Susan, Guys and Dolls, The Full Monty, Kiss Me Kate and We Will Rock You, in which he stars as Galileo on the current UK tour.
Legally Blonde is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, a previous Whatsonstage.com Best Choreographer Award winner for Hairspray and The Full Monty. It has a book by Heather Hach and music and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe. Songs include “Ohmigod You Guys”, “Serious”, “The Harvard Variations”, “Whipped into Shape”, “Find My Way” and the title number.
The London production is designed by David Rockwell, with costumes by Gregg Barnes, lighting by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, sound by ACME Sound Partners and orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke. It's produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G. Bartner, Ambassador Theatre Group, Jamie Hendry Productions and Act Productions.
In the US, Legally Blonde closed on 19 October 2008 on Broadway but has since launched an extensive, two-year nationwide tour. International dates in Japan and Canada are also soon to be announced.
- by Terri Paddock