From novel to movie to musical extravaganza, Legally Blonde has struck a chord with audiences around the world. Now it’s coming to the Regal Theatre thanks to the talented students at the Western Australian Academy Of Performing Arts. We catch up with Kate Thomas, who will be taking on the lad role of Elle Woods, the sorority girl who takes on Harvard Law.
“I’m from Perth,” Thomas tells us. “I started dancing when I was five years old. I got into singing when I was a few years older and then I found out about WAAPA when I was in high school. Then, when I graduated high school, I applied to audition – it took me a couple of years to get in! Now I’m in the mid-year musical – I can’t believe it!”
It’s the latest step in a journey that will hopefully see Thomas rise to the top of her profession. She cites several leading lights in musical theatre as her role models. “I really admire Jemma Rix, who plays Elphaba in Wicked [currently playing at Crown Perth] – she’s amazing. Also legends like Caroline O’Connor and then, overseas, Sutton Foster is huge inspiration – there are so many!”
Of the show, Thomas says that fans of the movie will find it covers familiar territory. “It stays pretty true to the film. Some of the characters are a bit more… you find out a lot more about Emmett and Paulette, the hair stylist – a lot of them are a lot more fleshed out. The addition of music just makes it so much more fun and more vibrant – yeah, I think the movie was just screaming out for songs and dance numbers to be added. It just lends itself to. it so well. When I watch the film now I’m like, ‘Where are the songs?’ I can’t watch it!”
The biggest challenge to Thomas’s mind was being the centre of the show – the cost of starring being a gruelling rehearsal regimen. “I guess the fact that it is so high energy and that Elle is in pretty much every scene, every dance number, every song. Finding that stamina and energy to get through it, it’s like a marathon. That’s probably the hardest thing about it.”
Still, she’s eager to audiences to see her take on the character of Elle, made famous by Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 movie. “I’ve taken elements but tried to make my own character and put my own flair into it,” she assures us.
Legally Blonde: The Musical runs at the Regal Theatre from Saturday, June 13, until Saturday, June 20. Book through Ticketek.