Northbrook Children’s Theatre presents bombshell production
Dani Bletnitsky (center) plays the role of Paulette during rehearsal for Legally Blonde on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at the Leisure Center in Northbrook. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:36AM
NORTHBROOK — Eighty-four youngsters are preparing to dazzle their audiences with “Legally Blonde,” a playful presentation about a spacey sorority sister who thought she had it all, only to learn she didn’t even have what it took to land her boyfriend.
The musical comedy, which will kick off the Northbrook Children’s Theatre’s 2012-13 season, is based on the book and film of the same name.
Performances will be at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15; and Sunday, Dec. 16 at the Northbrook Theatre, 3323 Walters Ave.
The story revolves around Elle Woods, the superficial blonde who follows an ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School only to discover she is brighter than she or anyone else thought.
“The kids have been more wrapped up in this production than in any in all the years I’ve been here,” said Gregg “Doc” Dennhardt, performing arts manager for the Northbrook Park District, the producing organization. “They are so excited about it, because they’ve all seen the movie, the play on Broadway or at Marriott – or both. It also has a rock score, a lot of hip hop in it, it’s energetic and they just love it!”
Three casts who began rehearsing since the second week of September will have completed 18 rehearsals before the opening performance. The actors, who range between 11 and 16 years old, come from as close as Northbrook and as far away as Waukegan. The show targets an audience of 11 years old and up.
“We have multiple casts, because unlike some groups, we don’t pretend to be Broadway. Our purpose is to get as many kids involved as possible so they can develop a love for theater,” Dennhardt said.
“The Children’s Company is a place to have fun, learn about the theatre and understand the value of teamwork. No matter what these kids end up doing, their communication skills and self-confidence will improve.”
Lindsay Teske, a 16-year-old Lake Forest High School sophomore who will play Elle, wanted to be in the show because it looked like fun.
“‘Legally Blonde’ is not only one of my favorite movies, but also such a heart-warming story with such a nice message,” Teske said. “It is: ‘If you stay true to yourself, everything falls into place.’ That’s what Elle figures out during the course of the show. The show is timeless and adorable.”
Quinn McCarthy, 13, an eighth grader at Northbrook Junior High School, will play Emmett, one of the other main characters. He became interested in acting after he performed in his fifth grade’s musical. “Emmett is definitely a fun part, because he is so relatable. He is this shy, awkward guy and I’m a lot like him in many ways, so it was easy to like him off the bat.”
Dennhardt noted that he chose to recreate “Legally Blonde” not only because his young actors were asking for it, but also because an alumni, Noel Weisberg, was in the original Broadway cast,” Dennhardt said.
Weisberg visited the Northbrook production last week, spoke to the cast, watched rehearsal and gave pointers.
“We’ve dedicated our performances to him, because his success is a great example that the dream can come true,” Dennhardt said. “And when I went to see him in the Broadway show, what was really endearing was that at the end of his bio, it said ‘Thanks, Doc!’”