Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Based upon the novel "Legally Blonde" by Amanda Brown and the 2001 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture of the same name, Legally Blonde - The Musical features music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and a book by Heather Hach. It opened on Broadway at the Palace Theater on April 29, 2007. The production received seven 2007 Tony Award nominations, ten 2007 Drama Desk Award nominations and a 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award. The chorus of the production was honored by Actors' Equity Association's Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs with the first ever ACCA Award. The show closed on October 19, 2008, after 595 performances. In the fall of 2007, MTV aired a performance of the musical in its entirety, which was nominated for two 2007-2008 Daytime Emmy Awards. It was followed by the MTV reality show "Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods," which premiered on June 2, 2008.
The plot of Legally Blonde - The Musical follows the plot of the movie with exactness. It is the story of the seemingly pampered, Malibu-born Elle Woods. As her UCLA graduation date approaches, she is sure her boyfriend Warner is about to propose marriage, and she shares her excitement with her Delta Nu sorority sisters. Instead, he proposes they break up, as he is looking for someone more seriousor in his words, "more of a Jackie (Kennedy) and less of a Marilyn (Monroe)." He feels Elle is not the ideal bride for a future politician. Elle doesn't take "no" for an answer. Instead she puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to follow Warner where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law School. Once she is there she discovers Warner has a new uptight and preppy girlfriend named Vivienne. She also meets scrappy Emmet Forrest who has pulled himself up by his own bootstraps through hard work and dedication. With Emmet urging her to concentrate on her studies rather than getting Warner back, she learns to trust in her own intelligence. They form a friendship that could be the start of something more.
Elle's determination is put to the test when she, Emmet, Warner and Vivienne are placed on a special case for the law firm run by her law professor. The case defending a fitness guru accused of murdering her much older, millionaire husband holds the potential promise of a secure future job with the law firm upon graduation. In the end, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
Legally Blonde - The Musical does a phenomenal job in honoring the script of the movie while providing songs that stylistically fit the characters and define the moments in the show beautifully. From the opening song, "Omigod You Guys," it is clear that great energy and fun is to be found in this show, and it would be hard not to find yourself smiling through most of it. The choreography is engaging, the costumes are colorful, and the tunes are memorable. Becky Gulsvig is perky and likeable as Elle. She quickly holds the audience in the palm of her hand. D.B. Bonds is the perfect Emmett. He is warm and funny and cute. Ken Land is a bit disappointing as Professor Callahan. He seems not up to the task of making the most of "Blood In the Water" which is an incredibly good character song. Natalie Joy Johnson is charming as Paulette. She adds great vulnerability and silliness to her comedic ability. Sara Sheperd is a bit off visually as Vivienne, as she appears too plain and dowdy for the role, but her acting is strong and convincing. The show is laced throughout with delightful ensemble moments, such as those by Elle's sorority sisters, and well-done cameos such as a sexy Coleen Sexton as Brooke Wyndham. Of course, the audience is also won over by two adorable dogs named Bruiser and Rufus. This lighthearted show is completely entertaining, and presents a valid reminder to all to look beneath the surface to see the true value of others.
Legally Blonde - The Musical appears November through 22, 2009 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. For tickets and/or information on the many diverse offering of the Broward center for the Performing Arts you may contact them at 954-462-0222 or online at www.browardcenter.org. Tickets may also available in person through Ticketmaster by phone at 954-523-3309 in Broward County, in person at Ticketmaster outlets, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Broadway Across America - Ft. Lauderdale is presented in arrangement with the Florida Theatrical Association, which is a non-profit, civic organization with a volunteer board of trustees established to ensure the continued presentation of quality national touring Broadway productions in the state of Florida. Broadway Across America is dedicated to creating memorable and accessible theatrical experiences for all guests, selling over five million tickets to first rate Broadway shows, family productions and other live theatrical events in over 40 North American cities each year. For more information or to purchase tickets through an authorized agent, please visit www.BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com.
The actors and stage managers in this production are members of Actors' Equity Association, the union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.