'Legally Blonde' Brings Out the Confident Elle Woods In All of Us

January 27, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point Hannah Hustad knew she wanted to play Elle Woods as far back as middle school, when she saw the musical in New York.
 Show times are 8 p.m. Feb. 17-20 and 2 p.m. Feb. 21.
 Tickets may be purchased online at www.winthrop.edu/boxoffice



ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA-Winthrop University junior Hannah Hustad will never forget seeing "Legally Blonde: The Musical" in New York City several years ago.

"I fell in love with it," she said. "At the time, ˜pink and bubbly' was everything I wanted to be. I thought it was written for me."

That may be true: Hustad will portray Ms. Pink and Bubbly herself, main character Elle Woods, in the Department of Theatre and Dance's upcoming production of "Legally Blonde," opening Feb. 17 in Johnson Theatre.

After being dumped by her law school-bound boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Timothy McFall, business administration, Aiken), sorority girl Elle Woods decides to enroll in law school herself. Though others doubt her at first, new friends she makes along the way like Paulette (Taylor Neal, theatre, Waxhaw) and Emmett (Shivam Patel, computer science, Summerville) encourage her and Elle starts to feel more confidence than ever before. Everything is put to the test when she's given the opportunity to help defend accused murderer Brooke Wyndam (Beth Byouk, theatre, Greer).

Hustad, a dance performance and theatre major from Clover, actually auditioned for her role via video. At the time of auditions, she was still studying abroad in England. Her friends eagerly texted her pictures of the cast list showing Hustad's name next to Elle Woods.

Actress Reese Witherspoon made the role of Elle Woods famous in the hit movie adaptation. Hustad said she is taking inspiration from both Witherspoon and previous stage productions.

"[Reese] really embodied Elle Woods," she said. "I'm trying to find her depth more. She's so much more than a ditz. It's not that she's dumb; she just didn't realize her full potential."

Hustad appreciates how the musical explores more of the emotions in "Legally Blonde." She knows the "amazing and fun" cast, directed by Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Stephen Gundersheim, will bring it to life on stage.

There's a little Elle Woods in all of us, she believes.

"It's fun and hysterical, but also rooted in truth," she said. "Everyone has things that they have to overcomeYou will be such a stronger person in the end."

Show times for "Legally Blonde" are 8 p.m. Feb. 17-Feb. 20 and 2 p.m. Feb. 21. Tickets are $10 with a Winthrop ID and $15 for the general public. It is a cultural event. Reserved seating is available by calling 803/323-4014 or e-mailing boxoffice@winthrop.edu.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday the week of the show.

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