Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Legally Blonde
The Players Theatre
Review by William S. Oser | Season Schedule


Miranda Wolf and Brian Craft
Photo by Don Daly Photo.com
Legally Blonde the musical, music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, was The Players' Christmas offering this season. The writers have done an excellent job musicalizing the hit movie, upping the emotional levels with an upbeat score that perfectly captures the Valley Girl/sorority milieu inhabited by Elle Woods. I did not see the show in its successful Broadway run, but saw the taped version made originally for MTV. The Broadway cast album is one of my guilty pleasures.

Directed and choreographed by Dennis Clark, this production had the high energy that only a young cast can bring. Legally Blonde demands that youthful exuberance. Unfortunately it did not have focus to bring the characters out of the realm of stereotypes that the audience could emotionally connect with them. Almost all of the leading performances lacked that specificity. I was unable to get to this production until very late in its run, so I don't know if the fault lies with Mr. Clark's direction or if the cast was tired from an overdose of holiday sparkle. I was just unable to really care about Elle Woods and her cronies here.

Miranda Wolf as Elle Woods has a fine Broadway belt and lots of presence, she also is a fine dancer. Brian Craft, a fine performer, is probably not ideally suited for leading man roles, but he competently filled the role of Emmet Forrest. In other important roles, Ian Cicco presented the looks and poise for Warner Huntington III, Joshua Taylor sang well as Professor Calahan, Alyssa Goudy always sparkles on stage, here as Paulette, and John Wyczlinski played multiple roles including Kyle, a love interest for Paulette. The ensemble filled many many small roles. What the entire cast lacked was the ability to make the characters emotionally connect with each other, so the story just meandered along without engaging the audience.

The musical end of things was in the capable hands of Berry Ayers. The set design by Michael Newton-Brown was a plus, cartoonish and effective. Costume design by Mara DeCourcy got the job done on what appears to be a very limited budged. Lighting design was by Nick Jones and was bright, bright, bright.

Legally Blonde is a fun show, and I hope Players' audiences enjoyed it for a Christmas treat.

Legally Blonde ran through December 23, 2016, at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL. Box Office (941) 365-2494. For more information visit www.theplayers.org.

Cast:
Elle Woods: Miranda Wolf
Emmett: Brian Craft
Professor Callahan: Joshua Taylor
Serena: Lauren Neilson
Margot: Ashley Figlow
Pilar: Samantha Crawford
Kate: Naomi Glatzer
:Paulette: Alyssa Goudy
Warner Huntington III: Ian Cicco
Vivienne Kensington: Asia Dekle
Brooke Wyndam: Dat Sallet
Kyle/Dewey/Pforzheimer: John Wyczlinski
Enid: Natalie Taylor
Chutney: Sunny Smith
Padamadan/Nikos: Adam Fuentes
Elle's Mom/Ensemble: Lacey Knispel
Elle's Dad/Ensemble: Michael Brown
Aaron Schultz/Ensemble: Alex Wojtaszek
Ensemble: Brett Anglin, Michelle Benghtt, Christine Cicco, Dan Espinal, Hannah Johnson, Lily Mancini, Patty McGuire, Zoe Zimmerman

Musicians:
Berry Ayers: Piano conductor
Alan Corey: 2nd Keyboard
John Januszewski: Percussion
Nick Spagnuolo: Guitar
Zachary Lasebny: Woodwinds

Director/Choreographer: Dennis Clark
Musical Director: Berry Ayers
Set Design: Michael Newton Brown
Stage Manager: Micah Noelle
Technical director: Ken Junkins
Lighting Design: Nick Jones
Costume Designer: Mara DeCourcy
Special Thanks To: Manatee Players, Venice theater, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Unfinished Furniture of Sarasota


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