by Paul Bruce

I just came from The Players Guild of Dearborn where the awesome troubadours who populate that space have just scored big for the second time, making them two for two with the productions that compose this season.

LEGALLY BLONDE, the musical version of the movie of the same name, is a masterfully executed show with top notch staging, vocals and choreography. A tip of the hat is hereby given to Ron Williams Jr., Steven C. Woznicki and Jenny McPherson for those tasks respectively. The snappy dance numbers and crackerjack orchestra are positively enviable.

Headlining the cast are Maura Donovan as Elle Woods and Gannon Styles as Emmett Forrester. Ms. Donovan’s performance is nothing short of stellar in all three of her triple threat arenas. It is a joy to listen to her sing (particularly the gorgeous 11th hour number “Legally Blonde”) and her dancing and acting are positively seamless. Mr. Styles is charming and his pleasant voice and demeanor as Emmett makes the evening extra memorable. The two perform well together.

The marvelous performances, don’t end there however. The cast is littered with engaging actors who, each in turn, give the show another sparkling bauble to hang from the rafters. Nancy Valentini, in the role of Paulette, returns to the Guild with all the style and energy for which she is known. Her flawless interpretation and comic timing, coupled with her marvelous voice, allow her to stop the show multiple times, much to the delight of the audience. Her real life husband, Lonnie Valentini, plays the part of her romantic interest, Kyle, the burly and handsome UPS man who arrives in her world at the most opportune moment.

A Greek chorus, played by a well rounded bevy of talented young actresses is smashing and worth the price of admission to watch alone. Mariah Berryman, Lia Bertucci, Kaela Green, Rebekah Preiss, Danielle Riley, Bridget Styles and Cara Weglarz provide an enthusiasm and energy that is contagious and they set the show on fire whenever they appear.

Of special note are the roles of Professor Callahan, Warner Huntington III, Brooke Wyndham, Vivian Kensington and Enid Hooper played by Kenny Konaszewski, Adam Carey, Caitlin Donovan, Courtney McKenna and Jazzmin Sharara respectively. Each gives a memorable performance that adds to this tightly knit ensemble show. Equally talented is the Guild’s Sydnee Rose Dombrowski in the role of the judge. Nice to see her back on stage!!

A particularly interesting part of this production is the linking of many real life family members into roles that make them family on stage. Maura Donovan is parented in the show by her own mother and father, veteran performers Kim and Joe Donovan. Nancy Valentini (Paulette) and Lonnie Valentini (Kyle) are her real life aunt and uncle. To complete the scenario her real life sister, Caitlin Donovan, plays Brooke.

The show is produced by Loretta Bullock and Mike Mayne. Timothy Carney is the assistant director and Adam Lynch is the show’s dance captain.

Kudos to all the remaining cast and crew who look like they are having a wonderful time at every moment. The show plays ten more times with performances every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I give this show my highest of recommendations and strongly urge theater lovers to get out and see this splendid piece of entertainment.


Book by Heather Hach
Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin

On Our Stage in Our 89th Season

AUDITION DATES – September 19 and 20, 2016

PRODUCTION DATES – November 11-13, 18-20, 25-27 and December 2-4, 2016

Produced in Cooperation with Music Theatre International

The Show

This fabulous international award-winning musical, based on the hit movie, follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. From the sorority house to the halls of justice, the show is equal parts hilarious and heart-warming — it’s so much fun it should be illegal!

SPECIAL NOTE Given the strong female empowerment message of the play, the production team has partnered with First Step, an organization whose mission is to eliminate both domestic and sexual violence by providing comprehensive services to individuals and families impacted by these crimes. Those interested in supporting First Step can do so by donating a consumable item (paper towel, toilet paper, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes, etc.) during one of the Legally Blonde performances. All donations will be given to the organization after the show’s run.

First Step’s Wish List of items may be viewed here.

The Crew

Producers – Loretta Bullock and Mike Mayne
Director – Ron Williams, Jr.
Assistant Director – Tim Carney
Music Director – Steve Woznicki
Choreographer – Jenny McPherson
Stage Manager – Mike Herman assisted by Tim Carney, David Wood, and Guild members
Set Design – Tim Timmer
Lighting and Sound – David Reynolds II and Stan Guarnelo
Set Construction and Painting – Chris Boudreau, Andrew Brown, Loretta and John Bullock, Steve Gautreau, Kirk Haas, Mike Herman, David James, Dave Kanclez, Mike Mayne, Gordon Mosley, John Sczomak, Jana Smith, Tom Sparrow, Tim Timmer, and David Wood
Hair and Makeup – Julie Ballantyne Brown, assisted by Jeff Bartos, Corinne Fine, Maddie Kaplan, Frann Stempek, Ron Williams, members of the committee and the cast
Costumes – Bobbie Justice assisted by Kim Donovan, Karen Drugola, Inez Hernandez, Margaret Kinnell and the cast
Props – Diane Cliff assisted by Renae Hayward, Kim Donovan, Marty Brennan, Rich Bulleri, Ken Overwater and the cast
Publicity – Melissa Foster
Social Media – Kori Bielaniec and Tom Sparrow
Postcard Mailing – Marcia Barnett-Krause, Christine Berryman, Julie Ballantyne Brown, Steve Gautreau, Bruce Hack, Cheryl Hack, John Hutchinson, Victor Hydel, Patti Martin, Mike Moseley, Tom Sparrow, and Sue Suchyta
Programs – Anna Dewey, Brian Townsend, and Nancy Valentini
Tickets – Lois Sczomak and Julie Sparrow
Afterglow – Robb Clarkson and Denise Kowalewski Tucker
Cast and Crew – Marcia Barnett-Krause
50/50 and Intermission – Frann Stempek and the Ways and Means Committee
Ushers – Shari and Mike Mayne assisted by Steve Gautreau and Guild members
Original Cover Artwork – Brian Townsend
Special Thanks to … – Starbucks, Image by Devin and Wigboys for making Elle blonde!

The Cast

Elle Woods – Maura Donovan
Bruiser Woods – Bella
Emmett Forrester – Gannon Styles
Professor Callahan – Kenny Konaszewski
Warner Huntington III – Adam Carey
Paulette Bonafonte – Nancy Valentini
Rufus – Molly Sczomak
Brooke Wyndham – Caitlin Donovan
Vivienne Kensington – Courtney McKenna
Serena – Bridget Styles
Margot – Lia Bertucci
Pilar – Kaela Green
Kyle/Lowell – Lonnie Valentini
Whitney – Kelly White
Kate – Cara Weglarz
Dewey/Winthrop – Jake Dombrowski
Elle’s Dad – Joe Donovan
Elle’s Mom – Kim Donovan
Aaron Schultz – Joshua Lisiecki
Sundeep Agrawal Padamadan/Carlos – Inez Hernandez
Enid Hoopes – Jazzmin Sharara
Grandmaster Chad/Nikos – Zachary James Morgan
Store Manager/Judge – Sydnee Dombrowski
Pforzheimer – David Zolotarchuk
Chutney – Hailey Hayward
Gaelen – Danielle Riley
Leilani – Rebekah Preiss
Court Stenographer – Jana Smith
Cashier (“Laker Girl”) – Camille Smith
Claire – Mariah Berryman
Greek Chorus – Bridget Styles, Lia Bertucci, Kaela Green, Cara Weglarz, Danielle Riley, Rebekah Preiss, Mariah Berryman

***Most Supporting Characters are also members of the Ensemble and help fill out the smaller, unnamed parts in the show***

The Orchestra

Vocal/Music Director – Steven C. Wozniacki
Bass – Brian Mark
Drums – Paul Sikorsky/Nick Bakos (selected performances)
Guitar – Andrew Toering
Trumpet – Mike Flickenger/Paul Roche
Trombone – Davey Lazar
Woodwinds – Joe Ivers/Ian McEwan/Amina Mustafa

See Show Photos