Q&A with David Rossetti, Director/Choreographer, Legally Blonde

David Rossetti is honored to work on his seventh show with GTA, most recently as choreographer for last semester’s production of Cabaret. Previous artistic work includes Associate Choreographer to Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, In The Heights, Cats revival) for the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat national tour and Dance Captain and swing for the Broadway revival of Annie. Choreography and directing credits: Thankskilling: The Musical, Nightfall on Miranga Island (2012 Fringe Festival “Encore Series”) and the viral sensation The Spidey Project which was an official selection for the 2018 New York Musicals Festival (retitled Peter, Who). At GTA: Once on this Island, Hairspray, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Wedding Singer and Singin’ in the Rain. He also served as an Assistant Director for the Hairspray National Tour and at Paper Mill Playhouse. He thanks this tireless cast, crew and creative team for their dedication to this beautiful pink beast of a show! Also, thanks to the Rooks for their hospitality and friendship, Jim for his trust in him yet again, and his now-hubby Dustin for letting him leave NYC to come down South. Check out more at davidrossetti.com.

What excites you the most about this production?

There are so many things to be excited about for this show. We’ve got a jump rope number, Broadway trained dogs, incredible costumes, and even Irish Step Dancing. It really has everything, but I think the thing I am most excited about is this show’s message of finding one’s worth not in material things, or looks, or the perfect guy, but within yourself.

What is the most challenging thing about this production?

See the list of things above. Haha! I think one of the most challenging things about this production is that there are so many locations, costume changes, props, and choreography. It really is a tour-de-force for all departments and from our cast and I am so lucky to have an incredibly strong and dedicated team on all sides of the table.

Can audiences expect the musical to resemble the film?

I think this is probably one of the best movie-to-musical adaptations because you get so many of the iconic lines and scenes, but they then created so many more lines, scenes, and new songs that you get the best of both worlds. Trust me, you have no choice but to be entertained throughout, and along the way to get all the things you love from the film…and then some!

Given the recent “Me Too” movement, why do you believe the message of this show is so important?

I think it’s so interesting to think that this show was written before the “me too” movement. It speaks so well to how females can be treated by men, especially those in an authority role. One of the most heartbreaking lyrics is sung by our lead character Elle when she is confronted with an unwanted advance from a mentor: “Some girls fight hard, some face the trial, some girls were just meant to smile.” It gets me emotional every time because I think, what a terrible thought that your worth might just be in how you look instead of what’s inside your heart and mind. Elle stands up to the bully and wins and not just against evil, but she finds her authentic self in the process and that is as “me too” as you can get!

How are you approaching such a cultural icon of a story?

I mean, I’m a huge fan of this movie and musical so I was very familiar with the material before I started working on it. I think the music is always my “front door” into a musical and this music is so full of character and subtext that it makes it come easy. Well, easy-ish. There is a lot of music, so it makes my job harder, but way more fun! I think this show really lands with these larger than life characters we know and love and keeping them honest. Keeping them grounded even in their silliness at times.

What number has been your favorite to work on?

I think the big Act 2 jump rope number. I guess you could say it’s equal parts my favorite and most-hated number in the show. It’s exhausting to even start piecing it together and we’ve started rehearsals and the cast gets tired so quickly. Though, as we continue to do it their stamina will build up and I’m already seeing the moves and tricks get easier each time, but we sweat a lot!

What do you most hope audiences take away from this show?

I hope people come ready to laugh, think, and cry. Elle goes through such a big journey in this show that I hope the audience finds the joy in watching someone who is not willing to give up their integrity, heart, and self-worth for success or even a new pair of shoes! I think the world would be a much better place with more Elle Woods’ around. Keeping true to oneself is always in style!

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