Saturday, August 15, 2009

review - Legally Blonde The Musical

Legally Blonde
The Musical
book by Heather Hach
music & lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin
directed by Jerry Mitchell
Pantages Theatre
through September 6
Omigod! You mean, like, Elle Woods isn't from the San Fernando Valley, but from Malibu? Wow! And- she not only attended college locally but got into Harvard Law School? May seem a bit far-fetched or too hard to swallow, but it doesn't matter, because once you've seen Elle in action, she's irresistible: a cross between Goldie Hawn, Glinda from Wicked and a splash of Mary Poppins thrown in for good measure. You're gonna love her, guys, so run, don't walk to the Pantages and get tickets for this grande spanking, freshly blossomed pink rosebud of a show. If you liked Reese Witherspoon, you will adore perky Becky Gulsvig and everyone else in the fantastically sugar-coated extravaganza Legally Blonde The Musical.
I never saw the film but it only took a few scenes for me to fall in love with the overly-optimistic story and the excessive giddiness of the characters. When Elle enters Harvard Law School for the first time dressed as a majorette with marching band in tow, Blonde had me hooked. And it's all for the sake of love. How can you top that? Gulsvig and troupe radiate big time. Also captivating are Natalie Joy Johnson as the good-hearted Paulette, Coleen Sexton as fitness guru/accused murderess Brooke and Elle's rival Vivienne, vixen Megan Lewis - and all of Elle's Greek chorus: Rhiannon Hansen, Cortney Wolfson, Crystal Joy, Gretchen Burghart and Sara Sheperd. And the men in the show, who learn to treat their women well: Jeff McLean as Warner, Ken Land, so disgustingly overbearing as Professor Callahan, sweet and dependable Emmett, played by magnetic D. B. Bonds and Brian Patrick Murphy as Kyle, the sexiest, Irish jig-dancin' UPS guy I've ever seen! Oh, and who can forget the 2 most loveable canines to tread the boards in a while: Frankie as Bruiser and Nellie as Rufus!
Benjamin and O'Keefe's swinging score is fresh and tingly and Mitchell's fast-paced choreography is crowd-pleasingly sensational.
This is not Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber, so you need not worry about the serious side of life. Leave that to Elle, who strives to be serious, but has an awful lot of fun as well.
Warning: there are issues of sexual harrassment, infidelity, deceit, homosexuality and lesbianism, and even murder...and some cases of... poor taste in clothing and..omigod, bad hair, but it all sort of meshes together in what seems like one big happy colorful dream, so lighten up and bring the kiddies! What's the bottom line? A bright evening of laughs and a lot of sunshine.
5 out of 5 stars


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