Glencoe High School's winter musical begins Feb. 22, involving 60 students and two dogs.

COURTESY PHOTO: LORI DALIPOSON - Ally Giard stars as Elle Woods, the lead role in 'Legally Blonde: The Musical,' opening at Glencoe High School on Feb. 22. Everyone's favorite lawyer, Elle Woods, is back in class. This time, attending Hillsboro's Glencoe High School.

"Legally Blonde: The Musical" the stage rendition of the popular 2001 comedy starring Reese Witherspoon hits the Glencoe High stage this Friday, Feb. 22. The story follows a college-aged woman wanting to win her ex back by applying to Harvard Law School, where he will be attending. Nearly 20 years after its release, the movie is still celebrated as quotable and relatable with the musical premiering just years after in 2007.

More than 60 students (and two dogs!) are involved in the Glencoe production, which director Lori Daliposon calls a major feat for the school.

The production is filled with silly moments, and audiences can expect nothing short of bold, fun, unsubtle and frank, Daliposon said.

Daliposon decided two years ago for the school to eventually put on the production, but waiting until now ended up being topical for current events, she said.

"The timing was interesting because of the Me Too movement this past year," Daliposon said. "I kept hearing the story was funny, and then I finally read it, and loved it. It has a lot of important points for young women, about how we are sexist to ourselves. We pigeon-hole ourselves and the idea because a woman is pretty, she is going to be a certain way."

The show tackles sexism, as well as themes of sexual harassment after the main character is harassed by one of her professors.

"We had early-on conversations with the students about the reality of this. This is not uncommon, and to be able to talk about it is really important," Daliposon said. "When we got into the show, and got to that scene, we talked even more. It is important to the story. While musicals are, 'Haha,' it was huge to me that this moment was taken seriously, period. It has to be real."

COURTESY PHOTO: LORI DALIPOSON - 'Legally Blonde: The Musical' follows Elle Woods as she trys to win back her ex by attending the same law school as him. Taking the Elle Woods role on is 17-year-old senior Ally Giard, who approached her character cautiously, she said.

"Going into the show, I know so many have seen the movie, but one thing that irked me with Elle is she is played stereotypically and dumb," Giard said. "I didn't want to lean into that. She got into Harvard Law, that isn't easy to do. Throughout the show, she really learns that looks aren't the things that matter. She has been taught that was the only way to get what she wants. It has been interesting to get to know a character we know so well, but transform it."

In Daliposon's opinion, the musical is better than the movie for that reason, she said.

"It fixes gaps that are in the movie. It is wittier," she said. "There are some issues with disconnects in the movie with how this woman gets into Harvard and how she talks. The vocabulary is elevated and this is a sleeker product."

Senior Kellan Taylor, 17, plays Emmett, a teacher's aide who begins to become interested in Elle Woods as the story progresses. The show definitely celebrates women, and while he is the lead male role, being able to step back is a great experience, he said.

"I appreciate not being the hero. He stands back and lets Elle and the other women handle what they need to handle," Taylor said. "I noticed that Elle helps a lot of people who are at their lowest. But there aren't a lot of moments of people helping Elle, and she lifts herself up. Even if you don't have someone beside you, you can do it."

COURTESY PHOTO: LORI DALIPOSON  - Glencoe High School's winter production of 'Legally Blonde: The Musical' stars about 60 high school students. The message of the show is for everyone, especially in their age group, Taylor and Giard agree.

"If you want to be something different, you are not pre-set to who you are. You can always change," Taylor said.

"As long as what you truly want to do and not someone else's idea of what you should be," Giard added.

And what does the cast want their audience to walk away with the most?

"Joy," Daliposon said. "I want people to walking away being true to who they are and be excited and feel like they saw something uplifting."

"Legally Blonde" runs Friday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 24, and Thursday, Feb. 28 through March 2. The show is recommended for ages 13 and up and

Reserved seat tickets may be purchased in advance through ($12/$7 students and seniors) or at the door ($15/$10 students and seniors).  All Thursday night tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door.

By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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