Entertainment :: Theatre

Legally Blonde

by Jennifer Chen
Contributor
Wednesday Aug 19, 2009
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Pink is the new black is the best description for Legally Blonde: The Musical, because it can’t get much pinker than Elle Woods. Decked out in pink jeans, pink coat, pink boots, and carrying a pink purse, Elle Woods is everyone’s favorite blonde lawyer.

The original movie starring Reese Witherspoon was a delightful romp with a cute "Clueless-esque" girl heading to Harvard Law School. Pantages Theatre in Hollywood presents the Los Angeles premiere before the show continues on its first national tour.

Legally Blonde: The Musical captures all the mood of the movie but now set to music, which is a challenge considering the movie has only one dance number-the famous "bend and snap" routine. The opening number captures the story of "Legally Blonde" in a nutshell with a group of sorority sisters eagerly belting out, "Omigod You Guys."

The book follows the plot of the movie where our seemingly ditzy blonde, Elle Woods, chases after her ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III to Harvard Law School to prove that she’s got brains under the beauty.
Becky Gulsvig, an original Broadway company member, stars as Elle Woods and embodies the positive energy that Reese Witherspoon brought to the movie.

Rounding out the cast are Warner (Jeff McLean), Warner’s snooty current girlfriend, Vivienne (Megan Lewis), and pull-him-by-his-boot-straps and Elle’s love interest, Emmett Forrest (D.B. Bonds). Elle’s best friends (Courtney Wolfson as Serena, Rhiannon Hansen as Margot, Crystal Joy as Pilar) turn into a cheerleading Greek chorus and give her pep in her step when she’s feeling down, particularly after showing up as a Playboy bunny at a non-costumed, stuffy Harvard party. Elle’s hair stylist and friend, Paulette (Natalie Joy Johnson), learns through Elle how to be sexy and lure the hot UPS guy, Kyle (Brian Patrick Murphy).

The original movie starring Reese Witherspoon was a delightful romp with a cute "Clueless-esque" girl heading to Harvard Law School

Elle gets to prove her worth when she is one of four interns working alongside the tough law teacher Professor Callahan (Ken Land). The group is working on a trial defending fitness guru Brooke Wyndham (Colleen Sexton) who is accused of murdering her much older husband. When Elle secures the alibi but swears to her Delta Nu sister not to tell, all of the law students are shocked and Professor Callahan tries to coax it out of her.

Refusing to budge, Elle earns Brooke’s trust and through a series of smart insights from Elle, the real killer is revealed.
The music and lyrics written by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, who both earned 2007 Tony Award nominations, is chock-full of fun, laughter, and "omigods." The only moments when the lyrics are awkward are at the end or beginning of a song.

During Elle’s breakup moment with Warner, he sings the song "Serious" at the restaurant, telling him how he needs someone more "Jackie-O and less Marilyn," but ends the song with "Check, please!" It’s awkward and takes the viewer out of the moment. While there are some bumps in the road with music, the standout numbers are "Whipped Into Shape," and "There! Right There!" which both capture the essence of "Legally Blonde."

"Whipped Into Shape" is especially impressive, considering the accused Brooke Windham, fitness instructor extraordinaire and possible murderer, jump ropes her way through the song while singing. The chorus matches her jump roping beat for beat and the whole effect is quite stunning.

On the whole, Legally Blonde: The Musical, captures every minute of the fun and frivolity and charm of the movie. To quote Elle Woods, "Snaps for everyone!"

Theater Info:
Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, Running time: two hours and 30 minutes with one fifteen-minute intermission. Through September 6th. Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m & 6:30 p.m. Tickets available: 1-800-928-2787, online at BroadwayLA.org, or at the Pantages Box Office.

Jennifer Chen is an editor, magazine writer, and young adult novelist based in Los Angeles with an MFA in dramatic writing.

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