Here’s a sign that Mahopac has just the right girl to play Elle Woods in this week’s “Legally Blonde”: Mention her character’s name and Mahopac senior Olivia Dean (inset) lets out a tiny shriek of delight and begins to hop up and down.
“It has been my dream since I’m like 7 to play her,” says Dean, who beams as she talks and practically levitates when discussing Elle. “It’s exhausting, because I don’t really ever leave the stage. It’s the best kind of crazy ever.
“I just love her as a person,” Dean says. “She starts off a little shallow, making the wrong choice, going to Harvard to chase Warner, but I like the transition she makes. At the end of it, she’s such a strong woman a good role model.”
Dean has played meanies in the past, Velma in last year’s “Hairspray” and the Ice Witch in “Narnia,” but Elle is nothing like that.
“Now I get to be nice and bubbly and happy, which is cool,” she says.
Dean is one of those kids with a hand in everything. Consider:
She participates in Pac-apellas — Mahopac’s 23-member a capella competition team — and has won the top choreography prize two years running, for her work alongside fellow senior Marco Fiumara.
“The thing with a capella choreography is that there’s a lot of cool spacing, and moving as a group. In the musical, there’s a lot more actual dancing involved, which is challenging,” she says.
Dean choreographs the musical, too.
One of the biggest numbers in “Legally Blonde” — based on the 2001 Reese Witherspoon film about a fashionista who goes to Harvard for all the wrong reasons but ends up teaching them a thing or two — comes early in the action, in the number “What You Want.” It’s like the “Eye of the Tiger” montage in “Rocky III,” except instead of Rocky training to box, it’s Elle studying to get into Harvard Law.
“There’s a lot going on in that number,” she says.
Dean is also a Girl Scout whose year-long Gold Award Project was teaching kids how to garden at Camp Combe in Putnam Valley.
“We have a giant garden by the nature cabin and we plant vegetables and donate the vegetables to the food shelter,” she says.
In the fall, the 17-year-old is heading to NYU Tisch to study musical theater.
“Legally Blonde”—7 p.m., April 23, 24, 25—$10—At door.
Here’s the Running Lines video I shot at Mahopac. Enjoy!