As previously tipped (See The Goss, 6 Jul 2009), Aoife Mulholland, who launched her career via How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, has joined the principal cast of the upcoming West End premiere of Broadway screen-to-stage musical Legally Blonde. And she’ll be joined by another reality TV celebrity, Grease Is the Word winner Susan McFadden.

Legally Blonde - which is led by Sheridan Smith (See News, 21 Apr 2009) – starts previews at the West End’s Savoy Theatre on 5 December 2009. It was due to open on 12 January 2010, but producers have today introduced a “Broadway style” opening schedule, with five press preview performances from 7 to 12 January, followed by a gala opening night on 13 January, and all reviews embargoed until 14 January. In another change to the schedule, Sunday matinees at 3pm have replaced Tuesday evening performances.

Legally Blonde, 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. Sheridan Smith plays Elle alongside ex-Blue pop star Duncan James as Elle’s heartbreaker college sweetheart Warner and Alex Gaumond as her new love interest Emmett.

The musical is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. 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.

Aoife Mulholland plays Brooke, a fitness video queen accused of murdering her rich elderly husband, who becomes Elle’s first client while interning at a law firm. And Susan McFadden is Elle’s best friend and sorority sister, Serena.

Since How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Mulholland has played Roxie in Chicago, and eventually returned to the hills at the London Palladium to play the alternative Maria alongside winner Connie Fisher. McFadden’s prize from Grease Is the Word was a contract to play Sandy in the West End production of Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre, which she has followed with the current tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Also announced today for the cast are: Emma Bateman, Dan Burton, Darren Carnall, Chris Ellis-Stanton, Nadine Higgin, Ibinabo Jack, Caroline Keiff, Amy Lennox, Andy Mace, Sorelle Marsh, Suzie McAdam, Matthew McKenna, Sean Mulligan, Roxanne Palmer, Sergio Priftis, Tamara Wall) and Ed White as well as Jane McMurtrie, Sherrie Pennington, Lucy Miller, Fabian Aloise and Francis Haugen.

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.