Screenwriter and playwright Heather Hach, a 1993 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Journalism and Mass Communication, accepts her success in film and theater writing with a mixture of awe and humility.
Hach penned the book for "Legally Blonde, The Musical" a first-time playwriting experience that garnered her a Tony Award, Broadway's highest accolade for theater professionals. CBS will air the 61st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 10, and Hach plans to attend.
"This is my first Broadway endeavor," she said during a recent phone interview from her Los Angeles home, where she lives with her husband and 7-month-old daughter. "It's hard to process. It's overwhelming. It's amazing. I never thought I'd work for Broadway, let alone go to this level."
Hach's upbeat stage adaptation of "Legally Blonde" is up for a Tony Award in the "best book of a musical" category, which recognizes writers who have created the overall storyline and unsung dialogue for a musical production. Other nominees include Rupert Holmes and Peter Stone for "Curtains"; Doug Wright for "Grey Gardens"; and Steven Sater for "Spring Awakening."
"Legally Blonde" is the story of a spurned California sorority sister who enrolls at Harvard Law to show her ex-boyfriend and others who dismissed her outright that she has more gumption - and smarts - than they realize. The musical follows the storyline from the best-selling book by Amanda Brown and the hit film starring Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson.
Previously, Hach earned high-profile attention for her updated screenplay for Disney's 2003 remake of "Freaky Friday," starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. The comedy tells the story of a working mother and her garage-band guitarist daughter who find themselves trapped in each other's bodies for several days. In the process, each gains a new appreciation for the other's day-to-day challenges.
The original 1977 version featured performances by Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris, but was sorely outdated, Hach said.
"Some remakes don't make sense to me, and 'Freaky Friday' really did," she said. "It's amazing how much women's roles have changed in that amount of time. So there really was a great opportunity to dig deeper and modernize it."
Hach credits her journalism training and experience with helping her hone her ability to observe human behavior and flesh out story ideas from daily headlines that reflect trends in U.S. culture and society.
Before the Tony Awards air on television, she plans to celebrate with fellow CU-Boulder alumni during a June 8 gathering in New York City.
Her next project is writing a character-rich film role for actress Reese Witherspoon based on the Douglas Carter Beane play, "As Bees in Honey Drown," the story of a beautiful con artist who charms suitors out of their money.
"I see it like a little bit of 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' kind of meets 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,' " Hach said of the screenplay and character. "She's just this really fabulous, life-of-the-party, toast-of-New York sort of woman."
To listen to a podcast about Hach's writing career, go to the CU-Boulder Office of News Services podcast page at www.colorado.edu/news/podcasts/.
To learn more about the CU-Boulder School of Journalism and Mass Communication, go to www.colorado.edu/journalism/.
CU-Boulder alumni who live in New York City and would like to meet Hach and celebrate her Tony nod with her should R.S.V.P. by contacting Beth Gaeddert at Eizabeth.Gaeddert@Colorado.edu.