There should be no complaints that this year's Cloquet High School musical isn't relevant, as some of the plot twists in "Legally Blonde: The Musical" could have been plucked from recent headlines, including sexual harassment by people in positions of power and even a Donald Trump reference.
Don't worry though. While "Legally Blonde" has a great message, it is also high-energy, packed with great choreography and musically fun - all wrapped up in a pretty pink package.
Based on the blockbuster movie of the same name, the stage version tells the story of fashion major Elle Woods as she heads to Harvard Law School to follow the man of her dreams, only to discover that dreams can change and being yourself never goes out of style.
Landon Hall, who has been on and around the CHS stage for years, is making his directing debut.
"We've got a great group of students," Hall said, noting that the large ensemble cast is truly impressive when they all hit the stage. "The cast is packed with talent. They help make my job easier."
Music director Katy Buytaert said the students were "driven."
"They dug into a really tough show and have taken such ownership," she said, marveling at their ability to balance grueling rehearsals with athletics, academics and other activities. "They support each other working together to make this their show, and I'm grateful for all the support from school administration and parents to help these students put on a production of this magnitude."
The show only lasts through four performances, and all of them are this weekend. Evening performances at the CHS auditorium begin at 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 16, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18-19.
The Saturday matinee replaces an originally scheduled Friday evening performance, which was changed to allow students to go watch the CHS football team in the state tournament Friday afternoon. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for students (k - 12) and will be available for purchase one hour prior to each performance. Advance ticket sales for Friday's performance will be honored for any of the other show times.
Other members of the creative team include Dan Stein as assistant director, Abby Bauch as choreographer and Karen Fox on costumes.
As in previous years, the set is impressive.
"We've got some talented set designers," said Hall. "Iris Keller and Rich Brummer make the stage come to life. It helps take the show to a whole new level."
The musical stage version of Legally Blonde premiered in San Francisco in 2007 before hitting the Broadway stage later the same year. It has consistently toured throughout the U.S. and played for nearly three years on London's West End, where it was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2011. Overall it has been nominated for seven Tony Awards and has been performed in South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, and throughout Western Europe.
Hall promised the musical will leave audiences feeling tickled pink.
"The music, energy and message of this show is sure to be loved and appreciated by the audience," said Hall. "This show is so much fun it shouldn't be legal!"
Pine Journal reporter Jana Peterson contributed to this story.
IF YOU GO
"Legally Blonde: The Musical"
Where: Cloquet High School auditorium
When: Thursday 7 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m.
Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for students (K-12) and will be available for purchase one hour prior to each performance.