Elle Woods, played by Makayla Shipe, left, charms a Harvard Law School admissions director, played by Chris Carey, during a scene from ‘Legally Blonde The Musical’ at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. Special to The Commercial


The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, 701 S. Main St., opens its 2019-2020 theater season with “Legally Blonde The Musical.”


Performance dates and times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 26-27, Aug. 2-3; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 28, and Aug. 4. The production is sponsored by Simmons Bank, according to a news release.


Tickets are on sale for the performances, to be held in ASC’s Catherine M. Bellamy Theatre. A public reception with refreshments will follow the July 26 performance.


Tickets are $18 for ASC members, $22 for non-members, and $15 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at asc701.org, by calling 870-536-3375, or in person at ASC.


The show is rated PG-13 for adult language and adult content, according to the release.


“’Legally Blonde The Musical’— based on the 2001 hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon — follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. A pretty, perky young woman studying fashion at UCLA, Elle appears to have it all.


“But her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her and leaves for Harvard Law School. Determined to get him back, Elle charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world,” according to the release.


“Audiences can expect a lot of laughs and tapping-your-toes, dancing-in-your seat hilarity,” said director Lindsey Collins.


Numbers in the pop-rock musical include “Omigod You Guys,” “Chip on My Shoulder,” and “Bend and Snap.”


The Cast


“The ‘Legally Blonde’ cast is a mix of familiar faces and performers new to the ASC stage and from around southeast and central Arkansas,” according to the release.


Makayla Shipe of Bryant plays Elle Woods.


“This is the 16-year-old’s first ASC production, but she is no stranger to the stage. Shipe has performed at Arkansas Repertory Theater and The Studio Theatre in Little Rock, and The Royal Theatre in Benton,” according to the release.


Collins said Shipe is the whole package.


“She has immense talent. I would not be surprised to see her go on to bigger and better things. She has that spark, the talent, the drive. We were really lucky and blessed to have someone with the caliber of talent that she has,” Collins said.


Ethan Patterson plays Emmett, a Harvard Law teaching assistant whom Elle quickly befriends. The 22-year-old from Little Rock has also been in several community theater shows in central Arkansas.


Paulette, an eccentric hairdresser, is played by returning ASC performer Tiffany Lowery of White Hall.


Travis Mosler of Pine Bluff also makes his ASC debut as Warner. He has performed at The Arkansas Repertory Theater and other theaters in the Little Rock area.


“Legally Blonde” is Collins’ second ASC production to direct. She made her directorial debut with 2018’s sold-out production of “Sister Act,” but she has been involved with ASC on stage and off since 2001. Collins, who lives in Pine Bluff, joined the ASC staff as theater education coordinator last fall.


Longtime ASC musical presence Faron Wilson returns as musical director. Joel Anderson is assistant director, Bethany Gere is choreographer, and Kayla Lake is stage manager.


The other shows filling ASC’s 2019-2020 season are:


“Razzle Dazzle” is ASC’s biennial variety show fundraiser for the Arts & Science Center that showcases local talent and benefits ASC’s youth theater programs. The 2019 theme is “Vegas Nights: The Crooners & Divas of the City of Lights.” Performances are Oct. 25-26, according to the release.


“A Christmas Story: The Play,” based on the 1983 movie, follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Performances are Dec. 13-15, according to the release.


“Charlotte’s Web,” based on E.B. White’s classic novel, spins the tale of the lovable pig Wilbur trying to avoid the butcher. Surrounded by a barnyard of animal friends, Wilbur’s closest friend is an extraordinary spider named Charlotte. Performances are April 23-26, 2020, according to the release.


Tickets for “Legally Blonde” are $18 for ASC members, $22 for non-members, and $15 for students. Details: 870-536-3375, in person at ASC or asc701.org .