PoCo musician leads orchestra pit in Legally Blonde

Clare Wyatt is behind the conductor’s podium for Align Entertainment’s next musical.

A Riverside secondary grad is behind the conductor’s podium for Align Entertainment’s next musical.

Port Coquitlam resident Clare Wyatt is the music director for Legally Blonde, an all-ages show based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon as sorority sister and lawyer-in-training Elle Woods.

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The production by the Coquitlam-based company that was co-founded by Chad Matchette — artistic director of the Lindbjerg Academy for the Performing Arts in Coquitlam, who also directs and co-produces Legally Blonde — opens next Friday (Feb. 2) at the Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby; it runs until Feb. 17.

Wyatt, who was also Align’s music director for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last year and the rehearsal pianist for its debut musical of Shrek, is a freelance vocal coach, accompanist, transcriber, arranger and sound designer. Currently, she’s on faculty at Vancouver Film School.

Align, she said, “very much values trying to make the company feel like home and that’s reinforced by Chad all the time.”

Wyatt said the score, which is handled by 13 musicians in the orchestra pit, is very complex “but the music is so infectious. It’s rock-based and all of us really enjoy playing it.”

The novel by Amanda Brown was adapted for the stage by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin (music and lyrics), and Heather Hach (script). For the Align musical, Julia Ulrich takes on Elle while Stuart Barkley — who portrayed Joseph in the Align production last fall — is her pompous ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III. Other leads include Chris King as Professor Calahan, Laura Cowan as Brooke Wyndham, Ranae Miller as Vivienne and Terry Fox secondary grad Justin Lapena as Grandmaster Chad.

As well, two pooches will be making their stage debuts: Port Moody’s Molly Spinola will play Bruiser Woods — Elle’s pet — and Seamus O’Kelly is Rufus.

• Tickets for Legally Blonde, running Feb. 2 to 17 at the Michael J. Fox Theatre (7373 Macpherson Ave., Burnaby), are $27 to $39 by calling 778-888-8444 or online via alignentertainment.ca/tickets. Tickets are $15 each for the Feb. 9 school matinee and the Feb. 12 Family Day matinee. The show is sponsored in part by The Tri-City News.

jcleugh@tricitynews.com

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