CVU musical ‘Legally Blonde’ goes to the dogs

Courtesy photos
Elle Woods (played by Emily Friedrichsen of Shelburne) gives her ex-boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (played by Oscar Williams, of Charlotte) a well-deserved tug, as her Harvard Law classmates cheer her on in the upcoming CVU musical, “Legally Blonde.”
Whitney (played by Amanda Gagne) meets Elle Woods (Friedrichsen) and her dog, Bruiser Woods, on their first day at Harvard Law School. Bruiser is played by canine Ellie Padula, who belongs to Candy Padula, CVU’s theater program director.


Students at Champlain Valley Union High School are in the final stretch of rehearsing the fall musical, “Legally Blonde.”

Based on the popular 2001 romantic comedy film, the stage production tells the story of Elle Woods as she takes Harvard Law School by pink storm.

This is the first time that canine performers appear on the CVU stage – two dogs are in the show.

“Needless to say, these four legged creatures have been keeping the cast and crew on their toes,” said Candy Padula, co-curricular theatre program director at CVU.

The dog playing Bruiser Woods belonging to lead character Elle Woods is Padula’s 7-year-old good-natured Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Ellie and this is her second musical.

“Last year Ellie performed in the musical ‘Lucky Stiff’ at Mount Mansfield Union High School, where I am also the Theatre Department director,” Padula said.

Canine performer Finnley Hicks plays Rufus the missing dog, belonging to hairdresser Paulette, played by Rowan Dunlop. Finnley, from Shelburne, belongs to cast member Sydney Hicks.

Ellie was a natural for the stage, the props, and the action. “Ellie was at one point sitting in a pouch attached to her co-star as her co-star was flown while singing,” Padula recalled.

Also in the production in the second canine role of Rufus is Finnley Hicks, who belongs to cast member Sydney Hicks of Shelburne.

Finnley was top dog in auditions. “Finnley is doing a great job, and responds quite well to treat motivation,” Padula said adding that cast and crew are enjoying their four-legged co-stars. They even have added new tech crew positions: dog handlers Kristen Arles and Levi Lagrow.

Performances are next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $8 students, children, CVU faculty and staff; $10 general admission. Available online: with a 10 percent fee. Also at the CVU school store with no fee.

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