Centennial goes to Harvard

Roan Wallace, 17, plays sorority girl Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, a Centennial Musical Theatre production that opens Thursday at the Coquitlam high school.  - JANIS WARREN/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Roan Wallace, 17, plays sorority girl Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, a Centennial Musical Theatre production that opens Thursday at the Coquitlam high school.

Roan Wallace wants to get into law. So does Elle Woods. Wallace, a Grade 12 student at Coquitlam’s Centennial secondary, is playing Elle in Legally Blonde, a musical about a girl who gets into Harvard Law School to try to win back her love.

The 17-year-old teen is ending her high school years starring in the production that opens Thursday and includes some 70 actors, technicians and musicians.

They have been rehearsing nearly every weekday since last fall, making sets and flyers, and getting costumes organized and rented from Theatre Under the Stars, which ran Legally Blonde last summer. Now, they are ready to put on the high energy performance, under the direction of drama teacher Lisa Boddez.

“Oh, they’ll be ready,” says musical director Carole Baker, who is conducting 18 young people in the pit.

Her orchestra started practising the 20 songs last October and joined the actors in the theatre last month to mesh the sound with the stage acting.

Baker, who notes Legally Blonde is her 14th musical at Centennial, said the show is technically challenging for the musicians as each tune often changes key and the score is filled with lots of sharps and flats.

Still, the band has plenty of experience as many crew members have played at least two school musicals (two volunteer musicians are Centennial alumni).

Wallace said she started to research her role right after she was cast last September. She studied the Broadway production, on which the school musical is based, on YouTube as well as the 2001 flick starring Reece Witherspoon. While the Hollywood version has a sweet Elle, the Broadway rendition offers a more sassy sorority queen. “I want to find a happy medium when I’m playing her,” Wallace says.

The story centres on Elle’s pursuit of her ex-boyfriend, Warner, to Harvard Law School. There, she makes a few gaffes but finds success — and a new love — along the way.

For the Centennial show, Wallace is joined by Rajan Prasad as Emmett, Kaeli Seddon as Margot, Darlene Jordan as Serena and Shauna Lim as Pilar.

Legally Blonde is Wallace’s fourth credit at Centennial, having portrayed the baker’s wife in last year’s Into the Woods as well as appearing in The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee and Seussical, in which she played JoJo. Wallace said Legally Blonde “is so much fun. I couldn’t think of a better way to finish my Grade 12 year.”

Legally Blonde by the Centennial Musical Theatre runs Feb. 6 to 8 and Feb. 13 to 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at $15/$12 are available at the school (570 Poirier St., Coquitlam) or by calling 604-936-7205.





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