Carley Stenson takes over from Susan McFadden as Elle Woods in the West End production of Legally Blonde tonight (11 July 2011), becoming the third actress to play the sorority girl in the West End.

The part of Elle, who puts down the credit card and hits the books, was originated in the West End by Olivier Award winner Sheridan Smith, with McFadden stepping into the role from January this year.

Producers have today released pictures of Stenson - who is best known for her long-running part on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks and made her West End stage debut as Margot in the musical - taking over in the leading role.

Stenson appears alongside Lee Mead as Emmett, Natalie Casey as beautician Paulette, Peter Davison as Professor Callahan, Simon Thomas as Warner, Nicola Brazil as Serena and Siobhan Dillon as Vivienne.


Carley Stenson, Simon Thomas & the company of Legally Blonde. Photo credit: Ellie Kurtz.


Carley Stenson & Lee Mead in Legally Blonde. Photo credit: Ellie Kurtz.


Carley Stenson in Legally Blonde. Photo credit: Ellie Kurtz.


Carley Stenson & Natalie Casey in Legally Blonde. Photo credit: Ellie Kurtz.

Legally Blonde The Musical picked up four gongs at the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards, including Best New Musical. Nominated for five Olivier Awards it went on to win the prize for Best New Musical, with Jill Halfpenny winning the Best Supporting Role in a Musical prize in addition to Sheridan Smith's Best Actress in a Musical gong.

Based on the 2001 Hollywood film in which Reese Witherspoon played California sorority girl Elle Woods, the show is directed by Tony Award-winning and Olivier Award-nominated choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Having opened on Broadway in 2007 the musical comedy opened at the Savoy Theatre on 13 January 2010 (previews from 5 December 2009).

Legally Blonde has music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, sound design 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, Bud Martin, Adam Zotovich, Jamie Hendry Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw and Act Productions.