We are excited to have Legally Blonde the Musical make its Muni debut as our third show this summer! Sponsored by UCB, Legally Blonde will run July 13-15, 18-22. Oh my God, oh my God, you guys! Based on the fabulous movie, Legally Blonde the Musical is a fun, award-winning show that is follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she bends and snaps stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. You guys. We can’t. Elle has like the ultimate #TransformationTuesday. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. When the musical starts, Elle literally has it all: she’s in a sorority, she has a killer wardrobe, she owns an adorable Chihuahua named Bruiser, and she snagged a hottie boyfriend with Roman numerals after his name. But her life is totally turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law! It’s like, so sad. So Elle charms her way into the prestigious law school to win him back, but gets totally bummed out when her fellow classmates, professors, and ex are total haters completely underestimate her. Ugh! But with the support of some new friends, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to be so much better than before.
Director: Anna Bussing Maisenbacher
Anna has been involved with The Muni for approximately 25 years. She has directed and choreographed West Side Story and All Shook Up, choreographed Hairspray and High School Musical, and was most recently on stage at Muni as Betty Haynes in White Christmas. Anna works as the coordinator for the audiology department at SIU Medicine.
Producer: Jake Smith
Jake is thrilled to join this staff. This is his sixth show to produce for the Muni most recently producing Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In addition, Jake is serving a co-chair for publicity this year for the Muni. He is excited to see this season materialize and share it with his family (Mary Kate, Stella, Jesse, and Jude.)
Assistant Director: Cory Blissett
Cory Blissett has been performing in the local theater scene for over 20 years. Some of his favorite performance moments at The Muni include Angel in RENT, dean Hyde in All Shook Up, Huck Finn in Big River, and Younger Brother in Ragtime. Cory is a licensed counselor and the Director of Outreach at Hope, which is a non-profit in Illinois serving individuals with developmental differences. Fun fact, a part of that job includes co-directing the spring musical each year. Cory is also a youth group co-leader at Phoenix Center and an actor at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This is Cory's first time on staff at the Muni and he is excited to be working alongside some truly talented artistic innovators.
Assistant Director/Choreographer: Julie Ratz
Julie is the Artistic Director of the Springfield Ballet Company. She has performed with SBC; ISU Dance Theatre; Twin Cities Ballet Company; Scottish American Ballet in Edinburgh, Scotland; and Harvard University Summer Dance. Julie holds a B.S. in Dance Performance/Choreography from Illinois State University (ISU); and she has studied dance in Chicago at Lou Conte and Joseph Holmes dance studios, and the Ruth Page Foundation. She has received the Springfield Area Arts Council choreography award, and has been a member of the Illinois Arts Council Partners in Excellence and Dance panels. Julie has performed in, choreographed and directed many productions for Over the Moon Productions (OTM), Springfield Theatre Centre (STC), Muni and the Hoogland Center for the Arts (HCFTA).
Vocal Director: Mary Kate Smith
Mary Kate is excited to be back on Muni staff for the first time since 2011's Wizard Of Oz. She has been on stage at Muni in the meantime starring, most recently, in the title role of last season's hit Mary Poppins. She has long been a vocal coach, teacher and instructor as well as a musician and recording artist. Her favorite thing about Muni is sharing it with her family (Jake, Stella, Jesse and Jude) as well as her extended Muni family. That, and the peach green tea you can only get there and, like, two other places.
Apprentice Director: Craig McFarland
Craig is extremely excited that Legally Blonde marks his first time on a Muni staff. He's been involved in Springfield area theatre for the past eight years, playing numerous roles from Hubert Humphrey in HCFTA's All the Way to Patsy in STC's Spamalot. This past Muni season he was in our White Christmas. Craig also has directed and assistant directed shows for Springfield Theatre Centre. He's currently a member of the Muni Board of Managers, where he is serving as Co-chair to the Muni's publicity committee. He works as an Academic Advisor at UIS. When he's not busy with theatre he is at home with his lovely wife, Anna, and his adorable son, Liam.
Stage Manager: Kevin Kulavic
Kevin most recently played Roger in our production of Grease. His resume is very extensive from performing and staffing numerous shows throughout the area. To pay his bills, Kevin is Deputy Director at the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. He will be busy this summer at the Muni, Kevin is also the assistant director of our Little Shop of Horrors.