Photos courtesy of Margie Mays
Margie Mays got her start on American Idol. Now, the Delaware native brings her performance skills to the theater for a beloved role.
On an evening in January, Margie Mays felt something big coming her way.
Her intuition was right. The Wilmington native is set to make her musical theater debut in April, starring in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Hollywood Majestic in Los Angeles. Mays is a singer, songwriter and actor who had her “big break” on American Idol on ABC seasons two and three.
Mays says following her appearances on Idol, the COVID-19 pandemic limited the ability for her to perform live—the typical avenue many artists who garner success on the show pursue. To continue to hone her craft, she studied musical theater by taking dance classes and recording herself singing popular numbers.
After some practicing, Mays decided to put her dreams of performing live musical theater onto social media and came across a casting call at the Hollywood Majestic through a fan. While her first auditions didn’t land her a part, the director took note of how much Mays resembled Elle Woods, the lead character of Legally Blonde. Through good relationships and her skills, Mays received a text sometime later asking if she’d be interested in taking on the role.
Mays was shocked the part was hers. But, when she arrived at the venue for callbacks and was introduced as Elle Woods by the director to the assistant director and choreographer, she could finally take it all in—the manifesting and hard work had paid off.
“I had written like a couple of weeks earlier [in my journal that] Elle Woods would be the dream role ever to play. It’s crazy though. I’m excited,” she gushes.
Now in rehearsals, Mays is practicing constantly. She compares performers training for live musical theater to athletes training for the NFL. While she says at times it can be overwhelming, she’s trusting her supportive castmates who are motivating her and telling her it gets easier.
“Every spare minute that I have, I bring up a video of another girl from the cast that I videoed of her dancing a section and just practice little section by section and then with my voice coach I practice little section by section and just pray that it all comes together,” she says.
Playing the iconic character of Elle Woods is something Mays is cherishing. While Reese Witherspoon’s movie performance is an influence on her, Mays says she’s trying to bring a little of herself to the role.
“In general, I have a lot in common with the character,” she explains. “I’ve been through heartbreak and studying my butt off in school when I was growing up. So, there are a lot of similarities and I’m just bringing me.”
Those common experiences seen throughout the musical are things Mays hopes the audience relates to as well.
“I hope they take joy from it,” she says.
Mays will be back on the East Coast on May 14 to perform at the Hold on til Dawn benefit concert at The Queen in Wilmington. The event’s proceeds benefit the America Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
For more information and tickets, visit holdontildawn.com.