Nikki Bohne as Elle Woods in 'Legally Blonde The Musical.'
Here's the burning question of the day for Nikki Bohne (that's pronounced as "bonnie"), who plays Elle Woods in the stage show Legally Blonde, the Musical.
Do blondes have more fun?
"I'm a natural brunette, but I have a lot of fun playing Elle, so there would definitely be some debate, but I kind of have the best of both worlds. I'm a brunette by day, blonde by night, so I think I have the most fun," she said, laughing in a telephone interview from Tyler, Texas, where the tour had stopped last week.
Bohne and her cast mates will perform in Toledo Thursday night through Sunday as the final show in the Theater League's 2010-11 Lincoln Broadway Series at the Stranahan Theater.
With music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach, Legally Blonde is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon. It opened in 2007 on Broadway, where it earned eight Tony nominations and ran for 18 months.
It's the story of Elle Wood, president of Delta Nu sorority at her Malibu college, top student in fashion merchandising, and sweetheart of Warner Huntington III, from whom she expects an engagement ring.
But instead of a sparkler on her finger, Elle gets dumped by the pompous Warner, who explains that Elle had been fun, but now it's time to get serious. He's going to Harvard Law School, and he needs a girlfriend who is less shallow.
After wallowing in her misery for a few days, the spunky Elle (with the help of her sorority sisters and her chihuahua, Bruiser) decides that she'll follow Warner to Harvard and prove to him she has brains as well as looks.
"I love the show," Bohne said. "I love the songs and the dancing and more than that, I love the message of the story. I think anyone can relate to Elle Woods and sympathize with her. I love being able to portray her growth throughout the show. She goes from a not very deep-thinking stereotypical blonde to a woman of substance and power. She learns a lot about herself, as I've learned a lot about myself during the show. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a very inspiring, uplifting musical and I'm very proud to be part of it."
The cast also includes Matthew Ragas as Warner; Kahlil Joseph as the demanding Professor Callahan; Hannah DeFlumeri as Warner's preppy new girlfriend, Vivienne Kensington, Nic Rouleau as Emmett Forrest, Callahan's assistant, and Jillian Wallach as Paulette the beautician.
Legally Blonde is the first professional tour for Bohne, a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in musical theater.
"I got the job a few weeks out of college," she said. "I graduated last April  and moved to New York City and ended up getting this show right away. It was all very quick and exciting and terrifying, every possible emotion you could feel, I felt it last year."
Nikkie Bohne, center, as Elle Woods performs with other cast members of 'Legally Blonde.'
She has mixed feelings on the quick success. On one side, it quieted the few people who wondered what she was going to do with a degree in theater. On the other, the first success doesn't mean the second will come as easily.
"You have to go for it, because there's nothing else you can do. I never wanted to live a life of regret and so I went for this, and so far it's working out great. I'm sure I'll be paying my dues when I get back to New York, but it's something that was worth working for," she said.
That "back to New York" part" will be in the next several weeks.
"The tour is ending May 15, so you're catching us like 10 days before [we close] and we'll be giving it our all … because it's going to be one of our last," she said.
Along with missing her fellow cast members, Bohne's one big regret about the close of the show will be ending her relationship with Bruiser, of which there are three.
"I love the little dogs," she said. "I don't even want to think about what's going to happen when I have to say good-bye to them. I spent a lot of time getting to know them and bonding with them, and we really have a connection. They really are my babies."
As for Bohne's future, if the world were perfect, she'd be in a revival of Thoroughly Modern Millie or The Little Mermaid, but neither is likely to happen any time soon. (Millie had a recent revival and Mermaid is just too expensive to bring back, she said.)
"There are definitely shows out there that I love and I'd love to be a part of, but as long as I'm performing, honing my craft, as long as I'm progressing, I'll be satisfied."
"Legally Blonde" is scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. Tickets range from $23 to $57 from the Stranahan box office and TicketMaster outlets, including charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000. TicketMaster outlets charge additional fees. Information: 419-381-8851.
Contact Nanciann Cherry at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6130.
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