By MIKE CHAIKEN
Connecticut actress Andee Buccheri is coming home.
This time, however, she is returning to the Nutmeg State as part of the national tour for “Legally Blonde – The Musical” as the character Margot. The show stops at The Palace Theater in Waterbury on Feb. 15 and 16.
Going back to Connecticut to perform at The Palace, Buccheri said she is experiencing some nerves. “When you go back to your hometown, of course, you want to impress everyone.”
But as the date draws nearer for Buccheri to take the stage in the Brass City, she’s received a slew of messages wishing her well and expressing anticipation for her arrival.
Although she has had stints on regional theater stages such as West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park and the Ivoryton Playhouse, this is Buccheri’s first national production.
Besides the opportunity to perform across the nation, the Wethersfield High School graduate said the tour gives her the chance to experience the nation.
Until now, said Buccheri, who was calling from Texas, she has only traveled up and down the east coast (except for one trip to San Diego). As part of the cast, Buccheri said she was excited to see the rest of the country as the tour stops into cities like Phoenix, St. Louis, Detroit, and states like California and Washington.
A couple of nights into the tour, Buccheri said the experience has exceeded her expectation. She said she has learned how little she really needs to be happy.
Buccheri, who now calls New York City home, thought she would feel lost without her New York gyms and coffee shops. But she kept a positive attitude heading into the tour and learned she only needs a yoga mat and a cup of coffee to feel at home.
The tour not only brings Buccheri home geographically but career- and taste-wise.
“It’s such a full circle moment,” said Buccheri. Her high school staged “Legally Blonde- The Musical.” And Buccheri was cast as the lead character, Elle Woods. Additionally, when she was younger, she was obsessed with the 2007 musical. She drove her family nuts by watching the taped production of the musical on MTV over and over again.
Buccheri said she likes the lead “Legally Blonde” character of Elle Woods because no matter what happens, she is super supportive of the women around her. And, in turn, the other women are supportive of Elle.
This atmosphere of support on stage and the social environment in the year 2019, said Buccheri, has given “Legally Blonde” a contemporary sheen. “Legally Blonde” has “renewed relevance following #MeToo. [Given that situation], I feel a certain responsibility [to the material],” said Buccheri.
In addition to her stage work, Buccheri has been making in-roads as a stand-up comic in New York City. It’s a credit that impressed the director as they were casting the show.
When she auditioned, Buccheri said the director saw the notation in her resume. He told her to sing one of the songs as if it were one of her standup routines. That performance sealed her fate, said Buccheri.
“I never thought my stand-up would inform my musical theater,” said Buccheri.
As for the cast on this tour, Buccheri was effusive with praise for the women and men who share the stage with her for “Legally Blonde – The Musical.”
“It’s a rock star cast.”
For instance, Buccheri said Maris McCulley, who plays the lead Elle Woods, is a “force of nature,” said Buccheri.
“It’s a privilege to learn from her and all of the veteran actors,” said the Connecticut native.
“Legally Blonde – The Musical” comes to The Palace Theater, 100 East Main St., Waterbury on Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2 and 8 p.m. For more information, go to PalaceTheaterCT.org