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David Harris' Legally Blonde Moment

Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

As Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre prepares itself for Legally Blonde: The Musical, actor David Harris gives us a warts-and-all insight into the production.

David Harris is renowned as one of the most acclaimed Australian leading men of his generation. A force to be reckoned with, Harris is more than competent in the holy trinity of performing: dancing, singing and acting. These skills have garnered him roles in the theatre productions of Miss Saigon, Wicked, The Boy From Oz and The Full Monty to name a few. After stints on television, Harris returns to the stage for the Australian version of Legally Blonde: The Musical, which is said to be quite different from the film.

“Apart from the obvious that it’s a musical version, it’s a lot more heightened than the film. I saw the film originally in 2001 when it came out, but I hadn’t touched it again until after I started performing in the show. We all [the cast] watched the film and we realized it’s not as funny. The theatrical version is a lot funnier and more energized than the film. It has the core storyline, but the characters have been fleshed out a lot more and it’s a lot more humorous.”

Legally Blonde: The Musical follows Elle Woods (Lucy Durack), a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend, Warner (Rob Mills). Along with a little help from her friends Paulette (Helen Dallimore), Emmett (David Harris) and trusty Chihuahua Bruiser, Elle realises there is nothing more attractive than authenticity. “The message of the musical is to be true to yourself; to accept yourself and not waver from who you are.”

Since the first Broadway production in 2007, Legally Blonde: The Musical has delighted audiences across the US and the UK. Along with an all-star cast, the Australian production is led by Tony Award-winning director and Olivier Award-nominated choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray).

David Harris“He’s fantastic,” Harris says. “It’s the second time I’ve worked with him. I worked with him about seven years ago in Melbourne for the production of The Full Monty. He’s high-energy and has a brilliant mind. He has such a positive energy with such clear, precise direction. You can’t help but feel relaxed in a rehearsal room with him. It’s a tonne of fun, and that shows in the direction and the final product. You feel very open to discovering new things and making the character yours, rather than fitting into some mold. He gives you a lot of freedom, which is great.”

QPAC’s strict no-dogs policy will be forfeited for the performance due to the species-spanning cast, with the spotlight-stealing performances of a Chihuahua and a Bulldog.

“The difficult thing is that they get all the applause, but they don’t have to remember lines or choreography or anything. They just come on and people applaud before they do anything. Actors have to work to gain praise. We have to remember lines and hit the right notes. But the dogs are really well trained and spot on every performance. Of course, things happen and you have to ride with whatever the dog does, but essentially they do what they’re meant to do each show.”

Legally Blonde: The Musical is an effervescent laugh-riot that promises fun, frivolity and feel-good tunes. “It’s an upbeat night out at the theatre that appeals to all ages — from kids to grandparents.”

Legally Blonde: The Musical plays at Sydney Lyric (The Star) until January 27, before heading to QPAC's Lyric Theatre (Brisbane) from March 12 and The Princess Theatre (Melbourne) from May 9.

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