Female performers might want to clear their schedules and make appointments with their hairdressers.
The JCC Uncommoners will host open pre-auditions for "Legally Blonde: The Musical" June 4-5, beginning director Bob Schlick's search for Elle Woods, the show's female protagonist.
"She's got to be blonde," Schlick said, laughing. "I suppose if somebody showed up, wasn't blonde and wasn't willing to dye their hair blonde, we'd have to put a wig on them, but it just wouldn't be the same."
The Jamestown Community College Uncommoners will host open pre-auditions for their fall production, “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” Filling the role of Elle Woods will be the biggest key to making the show a success, according to director Bob Schlick.
Schlick hopes to find a young woman capable of singing and dancing well. Confidence, ability and appearance could give a performer an edge.
"The important thing is that she's dynamic," Schlick said. "She's got to go from playing the part of a stereotypical dumb blonde who believes if you look good and marry well, that's success in life, to discovering that's not really her dream. Her dream is to prove the world wrong to beat that stereotype. Through a lot of hard work, she becomes a mature, well-educated and well-rounded woman. The actress needs to be able to display those polar opposites."
Schlick hopes to cast a college-aged woman, but anyone 16 and up can give the auditions her best shot.
"I don't imagine that I would be casting a 16-year-old as Elle Woods, but I don't know," Schlick said. "It ideally would be someone about 18-22, but there are a lot of young ladies in their late 20s or possibly even early 30s who could pass for that age."
Although final auditions won't be held until late August, the pre-auditions will give area residents the chance to establish themselves as Elle Woods front-runners.
"You can get a certain sense of their potential right off the bat," Schlick said. "There's a certain look I'm going to have to go for. Then, when they start to sing, for instance, you can pretty much tell whether someone can carry a tune in a matter of seconds. Really, the audition begins the moment they step on that stage. A lot of people don't get that concept, but the moment they step on stage, I'm looking at them critically as a potential Elle Woods. I look at them as Elle Woods until they exit the stage. It's not that much different than any other audition except Elle Woods has to carry the show in this case."
MORE THAN JUST ELLE
The pre-auditions will help Schlick see who's interested in the show and get a feel for the level of talent. He won't fill out his cast until final auditions have passed, since some prospective cast members cannot make it on June 4 or 5. The final list will feature 40 performers.
"The nice thing about this show is it's not just Elle Woods," Schlick said. "There are many good parts for females, and there are several very good male roles."
The show features roles for dancers, males ages 16-60, singers, acrobats and gymnasts. The pre-auditions will begin at 7 both nights and are open to the community.
"With a show this size, I can't expect to get 30 or 40 college students," Schlick said. "If this were a different college that had a four-year theater degree, then maybe I could cast it that way. I don't have that luxury here, and it's a community college, so we like to open it up to the community because I think it's good for the community. I like to favor college students, but that's not always the case. It depends on the show and the needs of the show."
Those auditioning should memorize a song and bring sheet music for the accompanist. They should also wear loose-fitting clothing and be prepared to learn some dance moves.
Final auditions will be held Aug. 30-31. Then, Schlick will review the audition forms. Prospective cast members' availabilities could come into play.
The show will run Nov. 2-17, and rehearsals will likely take place weekdays at 7 p.m. following Labor Day.
"If they have no conflicts with the proposed rehearsal schedule, that's going to be a plus," Schlick said. "If they have a couple of conflicts every night during the week or two nights out of the week, then that's going to limit what I think they're going to be able to do."
Not only will Schlick be on the lookout for a few dozen human cast members; he also needs to find a couple of dogs.
Most importantly, he must find one to fill the role of Elle Woods' chihuahua.
"I haven't really set in my mind when that's going to be, but it won't be on June 4 and 5," Schlick said. "I suspect it won't be too long after that. We need to find, ideally, a chihuahua because it's kind of iconic that Elle Woods has a chihuahua. I suppose a small, dust-mop-looking dog would be my regrettable second choice."
The production will enlist the help of a second canine, a bulldog or a pug, for Paulette, another of the show's female characters.
"It will be sort of interesting, and hopefully fun, to parade the dogs on stage," Schlick said. "Ideally, we're going to work with Elle Woods' dog and train it so it can come running on stage unassisted and bark on cue. Whatever success we have with that will have to do with the dog trainer. I guess if push comes to shove, Elle will just have to carry the dog around."
When "Legally Blonde: The Musical" played on Broadway, it earned Tony Award nominations and a Drama Desk Award. Featuring many songs, costumes and settings, the show felt like a natural fit for the JCC Uncommoners.
"I'm always looking for a show that hasn't been done yet in the area or hasn't been done in a number of years so it seems somewhat fresh," Schlick said. "When this (musical) became available, I was quite excited. I think a lot of people were surprised that I picked this show. There were a lot of people who were a lot more excited than I was about it. There are a lot of people who are excited just to see the show."
Schlick said casting the right woman as Elle Woods will be the first key to making the show successful. Regardless of who fills that void, he believes area residents will enjoy "Legally Blonde: The Musical."
"I think that this show will tend to surprise people who aren't familiar with it about how much fun it is and what a great positive message it has," he said. "We were thinking about doing the show for a long time."
For more information on the show or the pre-auditions, call 338-1153.