'Legally Blonde' musical to brighten the Shanghai stage

Four young girls and two lovely dogs will dazzle the Shanghai stage as Broadway musical "Legally Blonde" makes its China premiere next month.
Ti Gong

Maris Lea Fernandes (left) will play the lead role of Elle in the Broadway musical “Legally Blonde.”

Four young girls and two lovely dogs will dazzle the Shanghai stage as Broadway musical “Legally Blonde” will make its China premiere this December.

The musical stars Maris Lea Fernandes, Lauren Alexandra Monteleone, Emily Rose Lyons and Ilda Mariana Mason Barrios and will hit the SAIC Shanghai Culture Square on December 14-24.

The story of a rich girl who cares about nothing but being pretty and then grows into a talented lawyer with the support of her friends is widely known thanks to the 2001 movie of the same name. 

The musical version premiered on Broadway in 2007, snapping up the Oliver Best Musical and receiving seven Tony Award nominations. 

Lead actress Fernandes has a similar appearance to the movie version of Elle and was attracted by the character when she first saw the musical in 2007.

“It is an exciting role for me, especially when Elle makes her points in the court — she has really grown,” said Fernandes, who had participated in musicals like “Tangled,” “Les Miserables” and “Bye Bye Birdie.”

Though feeling pressured during the preparation, the four girls soon became relaxed in their roles.

Monteleone, who plays one of Elle’s friends in the musical, said she was initially worried about matching previous performers in the same role. “But then I realized that I just need to present the role with my own voice and emotion,” she said.

A chihuahua and a bulldog will also appear in the show. The dogs were chosen exactly according to the ones in the original musical version, according to Fei Yuanhong, vice general manager of Shanghai Culture Square.

The dogs are capable of acting as ordered, such as getting on the stage or jumping to the performers’ arms. 

But the stage lighting posed a problem, often frightening the dogs. That was fixed by training them on stage over the past few months.

Fei said that most year-end shows are tragedies, such as “Phantom of the Opera” and “Elisabeth,” so he hoped “Legally Blonde” would add some delightful “candy color” to the stage this year.

Performance details

Date: December 14-24, 2:30pm, 7:30pm

Venue: SAIC Shanghai Culture Square

Address: 597 Fuxing Rd M.

Tickets: 80-1,080 yuan

Tel: 6472-6000

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