Kevin Ray Johnson
I would like you to meet Maris McCulley. Maris is performing the role of Elle Woods in the National Tour of Legally Blonde (a role she has also performed regionally as well as internationally). Ms. McCulley has also performed with Royal Caribbean Productions, Prather Entertainment Group (PEG), Arizona Broadway Theatre, and The Phoenix Theatre. It was a privilege to have the chance to interview this talented actress who has had an amazing journey playing this role!
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?
I’m not really sure when I decided, but I started doing theatre camps and classes when I was 9 years old and I fell in love with it.
Where did you study? Are there any mentors that helped you on your path?
I studied music theatre at Arizona State University, and so many of my teachers have been inspirational to me! But mostly my high school choir director- Mr. Hebert. He inspired my love of music and taught us how to work as a team to achieve a common goal, which is also something I love about theatre.
How has your time been touring in Legally Blonde? Do you have any favorite moments?
Touring has been a crazy, fun whirlwind! We’ve been in a different city, state, theatre almost every day! But my favorite part is how we all- cast, band, and crew- help each other through tough moments of being tired and sore. They all truly keep me going and inspire me to give my all every night. I literally couldn’t do it without them! We also just did a Secret Valentine gift exchange while on the road! It was so much fun sneakily acquiring gifts for our Valentines, and we all know each other so well at this point that it was a fun task. Then we all showered our valentines with gifts on our show day in Portland, MA and revealed our identities! It was such a fun way to celebrate a holiday on the road.
Are there any shows (other than Legally Blonde) that you have done in your career that will always be near and dear to your heart?
I had a wonderful experience doing two different productions of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, in college and later professionally. The show is improv-based and involves audience participation, which is a blast. Both times, I played Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, an 11-year-old perfectionist with a lisp, and she is near and dear to my heart.
What advice would you give young performers who want a career in this business?
Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons! Because your love for it will keep you going through the hard times. And so will the wonderful friends you’ll make along the way.