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Prepare for high energy in Golden Chain’s Legally Blonde, Jr.

Elle (Amber Persson) with her ex beau Warner (Joseph Picoletti) and Harvard classmate Emmett (Eben Hammond). The teens play lead roles in the Golden Chain Theatre’s production of Legally Blonde, Jr., this weekend.
Elle (Amber Persson) with her ex beau Warner (Joseph Picoletti) and Harvard classmate Emmett (Eben Hammond). The teens play lead roles in the Golden Chain Theatre’s production of Legally Blonde, Jr., this weekend. Sierra Star

Oh, the angst of young love. Throw in a one-sided breakup, and any semblance of logic flies out the window.

So here’s the gist of it: Ditzy Elle enrolls at Harvard Law School to try to win back her ex-boyfriend, Warner, who dumped her in high school saying she’s not “serious enough.” Somehow Elle charms her way into Harvard, focused more on trying to win Warner back than her studies. But it turns out Warner has moved on and is dating Vivian, a rude intimidating girl (who is intimated by Elle).

Given the law school setting, throw in a whole lot of atypical lawyering and audiences are guaranteed what promises to be spirited and lively entertainment as 24 children, ages 12-17, perform 42 roles in Golden Chain Theatre’s Legally Blonde, Jr., 7 p.m., July 14-15 and 2 p.m., July 16..

“This is the first year we’ve split into two different age groups for our summer workshops, and working with the older kids, we’re able to do a much more challenging show because they have more maturity and more experience,” Director Michael Van Buren said.

When it comes to experience, it’s actually hard for the leads to remember a time when they weren’t on stage.

Yosemite High junior Amber Persson plays Elle. She’s been performing since the third grade, and called this one of her favorite parts in a musical.

“The show is just so energetic and never lags. Elle starts off with everyone thinking she’s very ‘blonde,’” Persson said while patting her long blonde locks, “and then they’re surprised that she turns out to be a pretty good lawyer.”

Elle’s love interest, Warner, played by YHS sophomore Joseph Piccolotti, 15, agreed that the production is high energy, adding that “After a while you become the character you’re playing and everything else fades out.” Piccolotti has been performing all his young life.

Besides the fun he’s having, Piccolotti is perfectly happy that he has the chance to spend a few hours a day with his friends - friends he said he otherwise wouldn’t see during the summer break. Because the young performers have been working hard during an intensive GCT workshop to hone their roles and musical numbers, it’s bound to happen that they become a tight knit group.

“The cast is more like family because of the connections made through the show and rehearsals,” said Eben Hammond, 16, who plays one of Elle’s main supporters and classmates. “I think the writing in Legally Blonde, Jr., is very well done and the music is high quality for a junior show. I’ve always liked being on stage, and have always felt comfortable. Everything fades so it’s not like I’m standing in front of an audience, it’s more like I’m at home.”

Legally Blonde premiered in pre-Broadway tryouts in San Francisco, with the show moving to Broadway in April 2007. While it received seven Tony nominations, it was not a winner.

“The first time I saw the show, my sister had a part in Legally Blonde in Los Angeles. I didn’t want to see it ... it’s not my kind of thing,” Van Buren admitted. “But it turned out to be so much fun that I ended up going back and seeing it two more times. And this production - with the energy the kids bring to it - is even better.”

Tickets for Legally Blonde, Jr. are available at www.goldenchaintheatre.org.

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