April 18 2012 12:00 AM

A sorority sister gets schooled in MSU musical


Director Rob Roznowski says Michigan State University’s “Legally Blonde” will be a moving production — fast-moving, that is.

MSU senior Erika Moul — known for her Lady Gaga impersonation as Baby Gaga — plays Elle Woods, a former sorority girl who becomes an unlikely Harvard Law student after her boyfriend, Warner (Wes Haskell) dumps her before heading to Harvard himself. 

Although the plot is basically the same as the popular 2001 Reese Witherspoon movie, the musical’s songs help quicken the pace. For example, Elle’s depression over her breakup with Warner and her decision to attend Harvard Law School is packed into a seven-minute musical piece.

This is also the MSU Theatre Department’s first production using "show control," an automated scenery system that employs a turntable. 

“The scenery moves as quickly as the songs move,” Roznowski said. 

The play is choreographed by three students, and Roznowski plans to discuss how they worked together in the pre-show and post-show discussions on April 22 and 26. 

Baby Gaga hits the road

Moul has performed as her alterego Baby Gaga at Spiral Dance Bar, Lansing Pride 2011 and Michigan State University. Soon she’ll be making a bigger scene, as the first licensed Lady Gaga tribute artist.

The Grand Rapids native leaves Lansing on June 6 to start a national tour; she´ll settle in Las Vegas this fall.

What leads someone to become a tribute artist? For Moul, 22, it was a desire to excite in others the same positive reaction that her idol inspired in her. After attending Lady Gaga’s first Monster Ball tour in Detroit, Moul says she was struck that Lady Gaga’s performance could be so motivational and that she could encourages her fans to be free to be who they are.

“As an actor, that’s my job,” Moul says, “to create, and inspire people.”

Moul says Baby Gaga doesn’t try to exactly replicate its progenitor’s performance, but reinterprets it instead. “I want my own thing,” Moul says. “I think that’s (Lady Gaga’s) message, too: Be yourself.” 

Moul creates all of her own costumes from modified thrift store finds. “I take my BeDazzler to an old jacket,” she says. “I’m a big fan of safety pins, nail polish and glue.”

She says that helped her stand out when auditioning for recruiters in Las Vegas. “I make pretty much everything from scratch. There’s nothing creative about wearing a Halloween USA costume.”

Like her muse, Baby Gaga has an energy and quirkiness that can’t be ignored. “For me,” Moul says, “life isn’t about finding who I am, but creating who I am.

“My goal is for every show to be able to touch at least one person out there that’s insecure — to touch someone the way I was touched at (Lady Gaga’s) concert.”

‘Legally Blonde’

April 20-29

Michigan State

University Theatre

Pasant Theatre,

Wharton Center

8 p.m. Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. April 25 and 26.

Pre-show talk at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, April 21; post-show talk on April 26

$20; $15 for students