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The Little Theatre of Fall River is thrilled to have Jillian Zucco playing the lead role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Jillian’s talents and gifts, on and off stage, are limitless - which will help audiences see that the character of Elle is so much more than just a ditzy college student, a blonde bombshell, and a stereotypical beauty queen. It takes an accomplished actress to play any character role well and it seems that Jill is hitting the ball out of the park with this one.
Jillian Zucco is most definitely an amazing talent. Her past theater roles include Kim in Miss Saigon, Tammy in Hairspray, Amneris in Aida, and Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Jillian is an accomplished dancer and vocalist who has performed at Fenway Park, the American Airlines Arena in Miami, at the Boston Pops with Keith Lockhart, and in camps, bands, commercial dance troupes, and barbershop choruses locally and regionally. Jillian is currently a member of the Occasion Singers, and she co-directs the Showstoppers, an award-winning community service vocal troupe.
Aside from the performing arts world, Jillian is a junior studying in the Honors Program at UMASS Dartmouth. She is also a personal care attendant through the Cerebral Palsy of MA Org. and a licensed EMT.
It is hard to believe that Jillian has added multiple titles in the Miss America Organization to her résumé. A former Miss New Bedford and Miss Fall River, Jillian is currently Miss Middleboro 2015 and will go on to compete for the title of Miss Massachusetts in June.
Jillian’s most memorable experience as a Miss America local titleholder was last year, when she organized a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals that raised $5,500. CMNH is a non-profit organization that raises money for children's hospitals around the country and the proceeds from any CMNH fundraisers go to the closest CMN Hospital in the area. In this case, the proceeds from those fundraisers go directly to Hasbro and Boston Children's Hospital. Jillian has raised almost $10,000 for this worthy cause and plans to top that amount this year before she competes for the title of Miss Massachusetts.
“I really enjoy working as a CMNH ambassador. Being a nursing student and having been treated at Boston Children's Hospital when I was very young, it has become a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I visit and volunteer at CMNH hospitals regularly and have seen, firsthand, how this organization impacts the lives of the hospitalized children.”
Each contestant is required to have a platform, something she promotes or advocates for during her year of service. Jillian’s is entitled "Choose a Cause, Make a Difference" and it is about spreading the spirit of volunteerism. Jillian chose this because it is something she has been doing since she was very young and presently averages about 700 hours of community service per year.
“My goal is to encourage others to volunteer with me, so that they realize how much fun and rewarding it can be. Volunteering is builds community, promotes networking, and offers something for everyone's individual talents and interests. As you can probably tell, I am a strong proponent of volunteerism, which is why this is something I love to work on, with or without a crown.”
In addition to Jillian’s volunteer work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and LTFR cast members. Jillian uses her vast and varied life experiences to help her create a portrayal of Elle that is not only entertaining, but also as authentic as possible. Jillian is both empowered and humored by the role.
“I like everything about playing Elle, but I particularly have so much fun putting on the blonde wig. It looks so real! I look just like my mom, who happens to be blonde. I can't definitely say that blondes have more fun, but I know that Elle Woods definitely does! She is energetic and charismatic. She sees the best in everyone and just dances through life not taking herself too seriously. We need more people like her in the real world. That's what I love about theatre. You can portray characters that are different from you and, even though they are fictional, you can still learn something from them.”
Ironically, Jillian learned much from Laura Bell Bundy, the woman who originated the role of Elle Woods on Broadway. When Jillian was eleven years-old, she actually met Ms. Bundy in New York City. Jillian was in NYC to perform in the opening number of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with other children who had auditioned across the country. The directors of the program had a karaoke party for performers. During Jillian’s karaoke song, Laura came up on stage, grabbed a microphone, and sang the rest of the song with her. Afterward, Laura chatted with Jillian. Jillian was awestruck when Laura complimented her singing, signed an autograph for her, and wished Jillian luck on her future endeavors.
And now, here is Jillian, ten years later, playing Elle Woods! When she first learned she had been cast as Elle, Jillian posted a shortened version of this story on Facebook. What a wonderful surprise to find that Laura Bell Bundy had actually commented on that post from her Facebook page!
“I don't know whether she remembered me or if it's just something she or her marketing people do, but it was still awesome!” noted Jillian. “So, this has been a whirlwind of an experience. It's just so cool when life throws you a series of events like this!”
This “whirlwind” will begin in three weeks, which also happens to fall during the week of Jillian’s final exams. The number of activities that Jillian is able to juggle on a daily basis is just astounding. Be sure to see Legally Blonde and watch this multi-talented actress, choreographer, vocalist, volunteer, student… and yes, beauty queen… dazzle you.
May 14, 15, 16, and 17, 2015 Thurs, Fri, Sat- 7:30 PM
Sun- 2:00 Pm
Margaret L. Jackson Arts Center
Bristol Community College
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