Sean Thompson returns to the Walnut Street Theatre in the new production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, an adaption of the hit comedy film. Thompson will play Elle’s self-absorbed ex- boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. Thompson has had an ongoing professional relationship with the Walnut for years and this will be his first principal role with the theater. With Broadway and National Tour credits, Thompson is thrilled to be back “home” to perform in Philly.
Legally Blonde officially opens Wednesday, May 22 and plays through July 14, 2019.
Debra Danese: At what age did you get bitten by the theater bug?
Sean Thompson: I think I was born with the bug in my DNA. I used to perform my kindergarten songs for the hair salon next door. I played Saint Joseph twice in the school play at St. Tim’s in Mayfair. And once I majored in Theater at Temple University, I knew for sure what I was going to do with my life.
DD: How did you get involved in this production of Legally Blonde?
ST: I’ve worked with the Walnut in some capacity since I was 22. When I was coming off of tour last year, with no idea what was next in my career or my life, Bernard Harvard, the artistic director at the Walnut, kindly welcomed me home and offered for me to play Warner.
DD: What’s it like returning to the Walnut?
ST: This is my first principal role here at the Walnut, which is a blast. As a kid, I used to stand outside the stage door and wait for autographs from all the actors in all the shows I’d see there, with stars in my eyes. To be one of those people coming out of the door now is extremely gratifying. I’m filled with gratitude that coming back to the Walnut feels like coming home.
DD: How did you prepare for the role and did you watch the movie as a reference for your character?
ST: I first concentrated on really getting into Warner’s song, “Serious.” I don’t often get to do shows with pop scores, so I had to kind of wrap my voice around that style. To do that, I listened to a lot of Backstreet Boys and mimicked the voices of Nick Carter and Brian Latrell. For character, I went back to two characters from TV shows of my youth- Kevin from the MTV cartoon “Daria” and Dylan McKay from the 90s teen drama “Beverly Hills 90210.” I watched the movie once and really enjoyed that actor’s performance. But creating a role for the stage kind of requires a different set of technical tools. I drew more from those characters above.
DD: What advice would you give your character, Warner Huntington III?
ST: I’d tell him that sitting with yourself and figuring out what it is exactly that you’d like to do with your life is infinitely more important than doing what your loved ones think you should.
DD: If you could cast yourself in any show, what role would it be, and who would you like to work with?
ST: I’ve played Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard, opposite Glenn Close, on Broadway. Honestly, I don’t know if there is anything else that could top that.
DD: What’s your favorite thing to do after a performance?
ST: It depends on the night! Sometimes, it’s grabbing a Manhattan with friends at a local watering hole. Sometimes, it’s lighting a candle and enjoying a nice, long bath. Other times, it’s running home and passing out to power up and do it all over again the next day!
[Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street] May 14-July 14, 2019; walnutstreettheatre.org