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Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s ‘Legally Blonde’ showcases different kind of hero

August 3, 2018

Not all heroes wear capes.

No, some wear pink. Lots and lots of pink.

“Legally Blonde” protagonist Elle Woods may not be the stereotypical superhero, but Anasofia Gallegos believes she has all the necessary characteristics, things like charm, empathy and a bit of an underdog mentality.

“She has flaws and she has quirks and she’s not afraid of those flaws and quirks,” Gallegos said. “She knows exactly who she is and gives people around her the freedom to be who they are, who they’re meant to be.”

Gallegos directs Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde,” which opens Thursday and runs through Aug. 29.

“Legally Blonde,” the musical, is based on the 2001 film of the same name, which starred Reese Witherspoon as Woods.

The movie itself was based on the book of the same name by Amanda Brown.

“Legally Blonde” follows Woods (Kiki Burns), a relentlessly peppy sorority girl who enrolls in Harvard Law School with the hopes of winning back her ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Andrew Murray).

Though many doubt her at first, Woods soon discovers she has a natural ability to use the law to help others.

“Legally Blonde” also stars John Devereaux (Emmett Forrest), Julie Galorenzo (Paulette), Ryan Childers (Professor Callahan), Quinn Tierney Vaira (Brooke Wyndham), Kalla Mort (Vivienne), Simone Alene (Serena), Helen Martin (Margot), Lizzie Rose Sande (Pilar), Jessica Belisle (Enid Hoopes), Aimee Paxton (Kate/Chutney) and Shawn Hunt (Kyle/Dewey).

The ensemble features Chanel Bragg, Addie Dibble, Joshua Fox, Emily Gjovik, Devin Hall, CJ Lorentz, Whitney Miller and Jonah Taylor.

Bonnie Lazelle and Boone Anderson star as Bruiser Woods and Rufus, Paulette’s dog, respectively.

The musical features music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach.

Though she isn’t changing any of the text, Gallegos said her production of “Legally Blonde” will feature fully developed characters rather than stereotypes.

“We have these 2-D models to then make and flesh out as 3-D human beings,” she said. “We’ve been exploring that and trying to take out the stereotypes within these stereotypical characters and make them real people.”

Gallegos has a thorough understanding of “Legally Blonde” having starred as Enid Hoopes in a production of the musical five or six years ago in Arizona.

She enjoyed her experience onstage, but she’s especially excited to now be in a role that gives her the opportunity to execute a few of the “What if we did this that way?” thoughts she had while in that show.

Making stereotypical characters less so was part of that, but Gallegos is also using the passage of time to inform how she’s approached this production.

“I’m not the same person I was five or six years ago and I don’t think the society that we’re in currently and the current events are the same that they were five years ago,” she said. “I have a really good familiarity of the script already but then to come into it now five or six years later and have a completely new lens to see it through is also really wonderful.”

This new lens largely centers on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, plus Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the young women in Florida fighting for gun reform, all of which Gallegos thinks makes “Legally Blonde” and a character like Woods resonate now more than ever.

“We’re ready for a hero like Elle,” she said. “We’re ready for women to rise up and claim their names for themselves … What happens when we have a leader who leads with empathy and who leads with love first? What does that look like? I think that’s Elle for a lot of people.”

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