LSS spring musical explores gender roles and professionalism

Students at Ladysmith Secondary School are performing the musical Legally Blonde, starting Thursday, May 2.

Ladysmith Secondary School’s spring musical premieres Thursday night at LSS.

Legally Blonde is a satirical comedy that explores the controversial topic of gender roles as they relate to professionalism by asking tough questions like “Do I have to shake my junk to get a date?” director Aleisha Kalina said.

The subject matter explored by Legally Blonde was considered risqué to the point that teachers and students debated abandoning the project in favour of something more benign like Charlie Brown or Into the Woods, Kalina added, but they decided to stick with it in the end “because the kids were so invested in it.”

They’ve toned down the language in recognition of the fact that “this isn’t New York and New York needs that shock factor,” Kalina said, but with 14- and 15-year-old performers singing lines like “look at my ass, look at my thighs,” the play’s guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows.

Equating sex appeal with success, the focal point of the play, is a topic girls and boys both struggle with, Kalina added, and “it’s not being talked about.

“The conversations that are brought up through this musical are things that kids and women are dealing with every day. The kids chose it for these reasons.”

Legally Blonde casts a comical glance at flaunting one’s charms to draw attention to oneself and at our conventional assumptions related to appearance and sexual orientation.

“Is he gay …or European?” Kalina sings, offering up a sample of the style in which the play explores its subject matter.

Beyond sexual orientation, the play explores tendencies to place image or appearance above merit and to base one’s assumptions on stereotypes like the “dumb blonde.”

Ultimately, the play is “teaching young girls, in the face of all of this glitter and pressure, to stay true to their moral self and to honour that,” Kalina said.

The musical stars veteran LSS thespians Rochelle Younie, Daniel Kelly and Keauna Miller as Elle Woods, Emmett Forrest and Paulette Bonafonte and features a soundtrack that will be remixed and DJed live during performances.

Tickets for Legally Blonde cost $10 apiece and are on sale at the LSS office and Salamander Books.

The show runs nightly from Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 4 and again from Thursday, May 9 through Saturday, May 11. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. prior to a 7 p.m. curtain time.

Contact Salamander Books at 250-245-4726 or the LSS office at 250-245-3043 for more information.