by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM
Legally Blonde: The Musical is on stage at the Times Union Center as a presentation of the Artist Series. Fans of the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, which was not a musical, will love this 2006 Broadway production that is mostly faithful to the story with a few embellishments to make it funnier. The show was nominated for several Tonys but did not take home any of the statues.
The story is that of Elle Woods (Nikki Bohne) who comes from a wealthy Los Angeles family and has chosen fashion merchandising as her college major. Her even richer boyfriend Warner (Matthew Ragas) decides to dump her because he is going to study law at Harvard and he needs to find a serious woman who can help him with his plans to become a Senator. Elle just isn’t the right accessory for his future.
To Elle, a serious woman is someone who wears black even if no one is dead. But she is seriously in love with the undeserving Warner. Fast forward, Elle charms her way into Harvard, shakes up the old institution with her flamboyant ways, winds up a legal wizard, finds a new boyfriend and successfully solves a murder case. In a subplot, Elle assists a local beauty shop owner solve her love life problems and marry a UPS deliveryman.
One of the most popular performers in the show comes on for a cameo role; Bruiser, the Chihuahua, runs across the stage at one point, barks loudly several times and jumps into her arms. His other brief appearances are not quite as dramatic but you will like him anyway.
The musical is a bit more risque than the movie if our memory serves us well. There are a few sexually suggestive jokes, gay characters, and some dialogue about legal issues related to sperm donors. The dialogue, like the show is rapid paced, so you might not even notice some of the minor language. Compared to many TV shows now, it’s pretty tame.
What you will see is a lot of dancing, dancing, and dancing, by Elle and the large, young, energetic cast, which includes a “Greek Chorus” of Elle’s friends. The second act is better than the first, especially the opening number featuring female prisoners in orange uniforms who jump rope as they dance!!! The best song in the show in our opinion was one called “Ireland” and no you won’t find that in the movie or the book.
The show is colorful with lots and lots of costumes in Barbie Doll colors – pinks, blues, purples, yellows. Elle wears some spiffy threads that are dazzling (wear your sun glasses). The light design makes frequent use of colors to match the costumes, and there are frequent, seamless set changes that depict many locales, ranging from Elle’s California sorority to Harvard Yard.
There seemed to be more women in the audience than men, but we expected that, and we did notice quite a few blonds!! Wonder why?
You will have a good time at Legally Blonde as long as you realize it is a great big fairytale for adults, and don’t take any of it too seriously. (And don’t wear black when you go!) If you want to hear up and coming new talent that sings and dances well, then don’t miss Legally Blonde. Call (904) 632-3373 for tickets or order on online at www.artistseriesjax.org
LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL
by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM