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Behind the Curtain of Legally Blonde: The Musical with Nikki Snelson

Behind the Curtain of Legally Blonde: The Musical with Nikki Snelson

Legally Blonde: The Musical

This May, City Springs Theatre Company presented their lively production of Legally Blonde: The Musical. Inspired by the 2001 Reese Witherspoon classic, this award-winning musical follows a bubbly, blonde sorority girl as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery at Harvard Law School, all in the name of love. The stage comes alive with infectious energy as the cast delivers explosive dance numbers. From the iconic “Bend and Snap” to the adrenaline-pumping “Whipped into Shape,” each sequence is a spectacle of choreography… all complete with vibrant and whimsical costumes that transport the audience to Elle Woods’ world.

We had the pleasure of interviewing the acclaimed director and choreographer of the production, Nikki Snelson, who previously originated the role of dance instructor Brooke Wyndham in the original Broadway production of the musical.

It’s been 17 years since the Broadway musical premiered, how do you think this story has evolved to fit with current society?

Ultimately, Legally Blonde is timeless. It’s a story of love, redemption and being true to yourself against all odds. It’s been especially interesting to watch the audience’s reaction as the “Me Too” movement has evolved. In many ways, the story of Elle Woods and Legally Blonde is more poignant now than it was 17 years ago. As a woman director/choreographer, I relate to many of the characters as they try to make their mark while remaining true to their principals.

The character of Elle Woods is such an iconic figure, symbolizing empowerment and breaking stereotypes. How are you interpreting her journey on stage, and what do you hope audiences will take away from her story?

Elle Woods always leads with love and kindness. She proves that “being true to yourself never goes out of style.” Our Elle, Lily Kaufmann brings such beautiful poignance to the role. She keeps her grounded while breathing new zaniness into Ms. Woods. She is serving up Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett comedy with Celine Dion vocals. Plus, she is an incredible dancer. You do not want to miss this performance!

What makes putting this show up at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center so special?

I have always loved Atlanta, the culture, the food, the people! I’m thrilled to bring our big blonde musical to City Springs. This whole company is incredible. From Shuler, Natalie and Jalise in management to Mason in marketing to Justin, Clay, Mike and the crew. They bring the best of the best of ATL talent! 

Legally Blonde: The Musical
Photo Courtesy of City Springs Theatre Company

We all have our favorite moments from ‘Legally Blonde’ like the bend-and-snap. Can you give us a sneak peek into how you’re bringing these iconic scenes to life in a fresh and exciting way for the audience? 

I have the great pleasure of being able to give the fans of the MTV production a bit of nostalgia while changing it up for our current audiences. From the on stage quick changes to the adorable pups… there is some theater magic for everyone.

What was your favorite number to choreograph?

The fun thing about Legally Blonde is that there are all different styles of dance. We have everything from hip hop to musical theater to Irish dancing to cheer. It’s always a blast setting the show on different dancers and these Atlanta dancers are TURNING IT OUT! Of course, Whipped Into Shape is always a favorite!

If you had to capture the essence of ‘Legally Blonde’ in three words to entice someone who’s never experienced it, what would they be?

Positivity, Acceptance, Girl-Power!

Are there any local hot spots that the cast and crew have enjoyed hanging out after rehearsals/performances?

We have been pretty exhausted. But in our off time, my associate and I have done a bit of winery hopping. We went to Big Door and Chateau Elan. LOVED them both!

Lastly, what aspect of this production are you personally most excited about sharing with the audience, and why?

The cast! Each and every one of them has a moment to shine. Everyone has a story. Everyone has an arc. Everyone is FULL OUT!!!!

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