|Roy Sexton as the morally dubious Professor Callahan|
Back when I was a law student, I had a few professors that took particular glee in inflicting their own sadistic version of the Socratic method on their students. They would answer every question with another question and try to get the student to paint herself into an intellectual corner, just to watch her squirm. But none of them were quite as evil as Professor Callahan, the pompous, scheming villain in Legally Blonde, the Musical, who encourages his students to acquire a taste for “Blood in the Water” if they want to become successful lawyers.
In our production, Roy Sexton, a theater veteran making his Farmington Players’ debut, plays Callahan. Roy describes his character as follows: “Callahan is technically the villain of the piece I suppose, but not in a malevolent, Snidely Whiplash way, but more of a postmodern, stealth villain. He is the preening, self-important teacher or boss many have had the misfortune of experiencing once or twice in their lives…but here’s the thing: he actually thinks he is making his students better.” While Roy enjoys playing the bad guy, he says it is challenging to find that “balance between loathing and admiration, repulsion and likeability. I haven’t played too many ‘bad guys’ to this point, so I am really thrilled at trying to figure out the right chord to strike.”
Roy loves the “rampant silliness” of Legally Blonde, but was drawn to the show more for its underdog story. As he says, “An underdog who doesn’t know he or she is an underdog always really appeals to me. Elle Woods is a character who has connected all the dots in her life as she thought they were laid out before her … and has come up empty handed. She bought into this cruddy ‘princess’ culture stuff and finds out there is no prince charming, no reward … and then she doubles down and STILL tries to make the fantasy work. She is rejected by the supposed nerds that she would have stomped her Jimmy Choos [designer shoes] on in Cali, and then sees that there is all this untapped intellectual potential in herself. I adore that. At some level, I have been both the underdog and the insider at different times in my life, and I think I like being the underdog more … it motivates you, it connects you, it gives you empathy.”
Although he is new to the Barn, Roy enjoys the “wonderful sense of collaboration and camaraderie here that is rare and special.” Roy co-founded his own theatre company in Ann Arbor – The Penny Seats (www.pennyseats.org) – and had the lead role Georg Nowack in last summer's production of She Loves Me. When not on stage, Roy works as vice president of marketing and planning for Trott & Trott, PC, a real estate law firm in Metro Detroit.
The Farmington Players' production of Legally Blonde, the Musical is sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors. The show opens April 26 and runs through May 18. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.