When the Cary Players were casting their Elle Woods, the perky Harvard law student played by Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 film, they lucked out.
Debra Grannan, the show’s producer, said actress A.C. Donohue not only is talented, but she looks the part. She calls the Hillsborough actress the highlight of their performance of “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” set to debut this weekend at the Cary Arts Center.
“First of all, she looks the part, which is a plus,” Grannan said. “You want to go with talent first, and then get the right look. We didn’t have to do any of that.”
Donohue, making her Cary Players debut, walked in with strong acting and singing skills, Grannan said. She also happens to have blonde hair and “these big wide eyes,” Grannan said.
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“She captures the traditional image you see in that role,” she said.
Donohue earned a theater degree from Meredith College and received a Canty award for her portrayal of Elvira in Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of “Blithe Spirit.”
The musical tells the story of a California girl who follows her boyfriend to law school to prove she’s got substance. She doesn’t get deterred when others think her blonde hair and naivete won’t take her far.
The show is directed and choreographed by Nancy Rich. Natalie Turgeon, who was in the Cary Players production of “The Rainmaker,” stars as Elle’s friend, Paulette. Douglas Price plays Elle’s boyfriend, Warner; Daryl Ray Carlile is Emmett, the teaching assistant who befriends Elle; and Noelle Barnard Azarelo is Elle’s rival-turned-confidante.
The production is making the rounds of area theaters, Grannan said, with the rights to the Broadway show having recently been released. She said she hopes people experience a little bit of joy after seeing it.
“The music is so fun and upbeat and catchy,” Grannan said. “For the most part, it’s a feel-good musical. It’s got a good message.”
‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’
Shows are April 24 to 26 and May 1-3. Friday and Saturday night shows are at 7:30 p.m. Sunday shows are at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20. Order tickets at The Cary theater box office at 122 E. Chatham St., through www.etix.com or go to www.caryplayers.org. Advance student and senior tickets are $18. The theater is at 101 Dry Ave.