We won’t call it typecasting. But Katie Marie Jones is pretty much the perfect person to play Elle Woods, the lead role in Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s upcoming production of Legally Blonde.
Both have the same favorite color: pink. Both are attractive blondes. And both share a sense of warmth and optimism. “The character is so light, fun and bright, it’s hard not to smile when [I’m] onstage,” Jones says. “The role is so high-energy and so fun that it’s hard not to have joy when doing it.”
The novel-turned-film-turned-musical tells the story of a stereotypical sorority girl (Elle) who follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School to win him back. Movie star Reese Witherspoon made the role famous. Jones is hoping to make it her own.
“Because I’m a bubbly blonde and I try to keep things light, people don’t always take me seriously. There’s more than what you see to her and me. People are very surprised when I start talking to them—‘Oh, you aren’t stupid.’ That’s Elle, too.” Jones says Elle turns a bad situation into a beautiful growing experience, and Jones aspires to do the same.
Actually, her biggest challenge might be finding those negative experiences. The Las Vegas native has seen more success than failure since coming up through Green Valley High School. In addition to teaching tap dance and musical theater around town and performing in productions for Majestic Repertory Theatre, Super Summer Theatre and Las Vegas Little Theatre, she’s also a dancer in V—The Ultimate Variety Show at Planet Hollywood. But Jones is probably best known for her work with the Vegas Golden Knights. She started on the Golden Aces Cheer Team and then aced an audition to become an arena host alongside Mark Shunock and Big D.
“Katie is a rock star,” Shunock says. “She is so passionate about everything she does. She jumped right into her role at VGK and was such an asset to the team. I loved working games with her and hope to share the stage with her one day.”
It appears the feeling is mutual. “I love those boys so much,” Jones says. “They took me under their wing and helped me so much. I can’t speak more highly of the organization. They lead with positivity, which is everything.”
If Jones gets her way, she’ll star in Broadway musicals one day. But then, she says, she’ll be just as happy anywhere she can entertain audiences. And Vegas is a great place for doing that. Her dream is to be “constantly working as an actor/entertainer in any way, shape or form for the rest of my life,” she says. That could mean “hosting, dancing, singing, acting, whatever—as long as I’m always going.”
LEGALLY BLONDE May 3-12, days & times vary, $28. UNLV's Judy Bayley Theatre, 702-895-2787.