Writers of Broadway-Aimed Legally Blonde — The Musical Announced

News   Writers of Broadway-Aimed Legally Blonde — The Musical Announced Legally Blonde — The Musical is being written by composer Laurence O'Keefe, lyricist Nell Benjamin and librettist Heather Hach, MGM On Stage and the show's producers announced June 10.

As previously reported, the new musical based on the hit MGM movie and the novel by Amanda Brown will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Jerry Mitchell, the choreographer known for his work on Never Gonna Dance, Hairspray, The Full Monty, Broadway Bares and more.

The stage musical's producers are Hal Luftig, Fox Theatricals and Dori Berinstein. The writers are actively working on the show at the moment, and a reading is expected in spring or summer 2005, Playbill On-Line learned. As the writing process is still in the early stages, any talk of casting is premature.

O'Keefe and Benjamin are married and have collaborated on Mice, one act of the trio of musicals known as 3hree. They also wrote a musical version of the beloved book, "Sarah, Plain and Tall," seen Off-Broadway. The writers have each won Ed Kleban Awards for their work. O'Keefe's highest-profile show is Off-Broadway's Bat Boy, which has winged its way into regional theatres.

Hach wrote the screenplay for the 2003 feature, "Freaky Friday." A former comedian and journalist, Hach won a 1999 Disney Fellowship for Screenwriting, and has written for television’s "Caroline in the City" and "Dilbert." She is writing "The Governor’s Wife" for Mandeville Films, and adapting the Kate Christensen book, "In the Drink."

Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, "Bel Air's favorite pink-clad blonde, and her equally stylish Chihuahua, Bruiser," according to the announcement. "After Elle's boyfriend dumps her at graduation, she gets accepted into Harvard Law School to win him back, then discovers that she has far more legal savvy than she ever imagined." "'Legally Blonde' has the makings of a great musical: a fun plot, strong characters and a truth that everyone can relate to," said Luftig, in a statement. "We're confident our incredibly talented creative team will infuse the story with terrific music, a smart and sassy book and inspired direction and choreography. We are grateful to MGM On Stage president Darcie Denkert and executive managing director Dean Stolber for the opportunity to bring one of MGM's crown jewels alive."

The 2001 movie made actress Reese Witherspoon a major Hollywood actress. She would go on to produce a 2003 sequel, in which her character tried to make an impact on the cold Washington, DC, political community.

Mitchell received a 2004 Tony Award nomination for his choreography of Never Gonna Dance. This fall, he will choreograph Broadway-bound musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (another MGM On Stage project).

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O'Keefe won the 2001 ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizon Award and the 2001 Jonathan Larson Foundation Award. Benjamin also received a 2003 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant.

Luftig, Fox Theatricals and Berinstein previously collaborated on Thoroughly Modern Millie, which won 2002 six Tony Awards in 2002 including Best Musical. Luftig's other credits include Movin' Out, the current off-Broadway production of The Normal Heart, Annie Get Your Gun, Angels in America, and the 1998 revival of The King and I.

Fox Theatricals is a producer of this season's Tony nominated musical Caroline, or Change. Other credits include Tony Award winners One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Death of a Salesman.

Berinstein has produced widely in theatre, film and television, working with Fox Theatricals in producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Other credits include Tony winner Fool Moon, and 30 films, including "Dirty Dancing" and " Unzipped." She is producing a documentary on the 2003-2004 Broadway season titled "Broadway: The Film."

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