She’s attractive, bubbly, perky, blonde and a bit dumb.And much like the actress, Alaina Swearingen, who plays Elle Woods in Lewiston Civic Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde The Musical,” she’s a hard worker — which may be one of the few similarities between the two.
“I live at the Civic Theatre,” said Swearingen, who spends from noon to 11 p.m. on stage, behind the scenes, as assistant choreographer or in the box office as the administrative assistant.
She’s spent hours in a chair for makeup and hair, too. A former brunette, Swearingen made the switch from brown to blonde.
“I’m not blonde and never have been,” said Swearingen, who dyed her hair for the role, but emphasized that she doesn’t stereotype blondes as being dumb. “It’s not bad, because (Elle’s) very smart.”
Director Larry Goodwin said Swearingen has brought freshness to the role.
“She really portrays (Elle) and gives her real heart,” Goodwin said.
But some roles haven’t been as flawless. This, Goodwin’s first time directing a musical, came with casting issues, as he filled the entire cast only three weeks ago.
“There’s a whole new level of detail I have to deal with,” Goodwin said. “But I can just trust where I’m going with it.”
Humans weren’t the only casting problem. Because the musical is similar to the movie, “Legally Blonde,” there are two dog roles: Bruiser, Woods’ sidekick chihuahua, and Rufus, friend Paulette’s bulldog.
Bruiser, or Abby, is owned by the actor playing Callahan, Woods’ professor. While Abby is not a chihuahua, Goodwin said her hair is cut to look like one.
“Bruiser is really sweet,” Swearingen said. “She lets you hold her, and she doesn’t bark.”
Rufus was another story.
Moxie, the bulldog, was found by the stage director on the street in Lewiston. She asked the owners if they were interested in having a star, and Moxie joined the cast.
“One time, the bulldog took off running,” said Swearingen, who watched Moxie move from backstage to the front after a scene had finished. “All she wanted to do was be on stage.”
Having never worked with animals in a production, Swearingen said she had no clue how to act around dogs.
“Turns out I know nothing about dogs,” she said.
Another first for Swearingen, much like Goodwin, has been the musical itself. It combines her talents like no other production that she’s been in before.
“This is the first role where I sing and dance and act,” Swearingen said. “Elle gets to do a ton of dancing, which has been a blast.”
And song and dance can’t be complete without a good wardrobe.
“I imagine the first-day-of-Harvard outfit will be fun,” said Swearingen, who will be sporting pink leggings, a pink tank with “Harvard” bejeweled across the chest and a pink jacket.
She looks forward to her drum major outfit in another scene.
“If you like the movie, you’re going to just love the show,” Goodwin said. “You’ll walk out of the theatre singing some of the songs. People will walk out with a huge smile on their face.”
Wear pink, he said.
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Legally Blonde The Musical
WHEN: May 23 through June 9; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Doors open 30 minutes before showtimes.
WHERE: Lewiston Civic Theatre
COST: $8 for children, age 12 and under, $11 for students with ID, $13 for seniors over 60, $16
for adults. Tickets can be purchased at lctheatre.org or by phone at (208) 746-3401.
NOTE: The musical is rated PG-13.