Do blondes have more fun? Find out in the Legally Blonde musical, now in Singapore
Your favourite 2001 chick flick is now a musical you can watch in Singapore. We chat with Maris McCulley, who plays the lead, Elle Woods
Are you naturally blonde? What's the best thing about being blonde? I am a natural blonde and have been blonde my whole life. Now that I'm older my hair is darker and I get highlights. The best thing about being blonde is being LEGALLY blonde!!! Because blondes have more fun.
What was your early education into theatre like? When I was younger I enrolled in summer theatre classes with my older brother. We had so much fun rehearsing shows and bonding with new friends. Then I joined choir in school, which was the most amazing experience. My favorite part about choir and theatre has always been working together in a group to achieve an artistic goal.
Who are some iconic, comedic roles by women you admire and would possibly like to play one day? Elle Woods is definitely a dream role. I would also love to play Glinda in Wicked some day!
Were you a fan of Legally Blonde the movie? I remember when the movie came out and going to see it with all of my friends. I absolutely love the movie still and I really look up to Reese Witherspoon! She is an incredible actor and feminist and also has her own production company now that prioritizes female-driven, women-centered projects.
Do you identify with any aspects of Elle Woods? I definitely identify with being underestimated sometimes because I'm blonde.
If there's a trait of Elle Woods you wished you had, what would it be? I would love to have her confidence! How do you think Elle's grit will resonate with women today — women who are looking to banish stereotypes and fight for equality and representation? I'm hoping females in the audience will find something in common with Elle's story even if they aren't blonde, and that they will be inspired by the mutual female empowerment in the story and the strong relationships between the women.
It's more than just a story of a rich girl who wants to stalk her boyfriend, right? What's your take on it? I like to say that Elle does the right thing for all the wrong reasons. Yes, she initially goes to Harvard to try and win back her ex-boyfriend, but it ends up being the best thing she ever did because she discovers her true value and potential along the way, and meets some very important people who change her life for the better.
Did you look towards Reese Witherspoon's portrayal in the crafting of this character? What else did you draw on for your portrayal? When I started this show I honestly already knew the movie so well that my portrayal has definitely been informed by Reese's iconic role, but I didn't need to go back and watch it to specifically reference it (though I do still watch it for fun sometimes!) I also drew inspiration from Laura Bell Bundy, who originated the Broadway production, and from Becky Gulsvig, who played Elle on the first US National Tour and whom I had the pleasure of meeting when the show came through my hometown! But once we started rehearsing I found it important to discover a portrayal that felt honest to me.
What's your favourite line from the show? My favorite line from the show is when Elle tells Emmett in Take It Like a Man: "That's best part: The outside is new, but now it reflects what's already in you. Couldn't change that if I wanted to... and I do not." I think it's the moment their connection begins to deepen, and it's a very poignant moment where Elle explains to Emmett how you can be a good, smart person and still dress and present yourself well, and he begins to understand that about her. Legally Blonde - The Musical runs till 20 May at Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands. Tickets here.