|WW's 'Legally Blonde' Is In The Pink|
|Friday, 22 June 2012 17:25|
Everything is absolutely positive and positively pink on stage at the Wagon Wheel Theatre where “Legally Blonde” opened Wednesday evening.
The story of Elle Woods and her determined pursuit of happiness in the form of Warner Huntington III is offered with the usual spit and polish of every WW production.
Complete with director/choreographer Scott Michaels always amazing dance numbers (how do they do that on such a small stage???), Michael Higgins’ absolutely appropriate set (towering pink hair rollers moved to define one location after another), Stephen R. Hollenbeck’s maximum pink costumes, a multi-talented cast and two canine characters that go straight to the heart, “Legally Blonde” is the perfect way to spend a couple of hours in a cotton candy world without gaining an ounce.
Beginning its life as a novel, then moving to the big screen in 2001 as a straight comedy and finally, with music by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, coming to Broadway in 2007, “Legally Blonde” may hold the record for the number of touring companies (two U.S. and nine foreign) in the shortest amount of time.
It’s easy to see why.
No interpreter is needed to translate the enthusiasm of Elle (played with non-stop energy by an endearing Mary Little) and her Delta Nu sorority sisters. Like that well-known pink bunny, Elle keeps her eyes on the prize and, in the end, discovers that although you may not get the one you want, you love the one you get.
Following Elle’s path from sorority house to Harvard Law School, is a real trip as are the characters who accompany her and those she meets along the way.
Chief among these are three sorority sisters (Leigh Ellen Jones, Annie Yokom and Erika Henningson) who are a part of the Delta Nu “Greek chorus” that offers help when needed; Emmett Forrest (a properly hirsute Matthew Janisse), a law professor who finds Elle’s unique approach to a legal problem more than interesting; and Paulette Bonafonte (Kira Lace Hawkins), a beautician with a heart of gold and an eye for the UPS man (Robert Montgomery), whose delivery style received well-deserved laughter..
When an expected proposal turns into a breakup, Elle sets her sights on Harvard Law where ex-boyfriend Warner (Stephen Anthony) is in grad school and already has a seriously more appropriate “other” (Emily Trumble). I do not recommend Elle’s path to admission but, for her, it works.
Before graduation, she encounters lawyer/law professor Callahan (a wonderfully sharky Mike Yocum), who demands his students go for “Blood in the Water” and, after a brief side trip to navy blue, returns to her signature color to win the case and the guy!
There are no familiar melodies in “Legally Blonde” and I doubt any will enter the American Songbook even with the passage of time. But in the moment, and as interpreted by the excellent WW singers and dancers, they definitely are to be enjoyed.
As always, there are several show stopping moments. One is when Paulette shares her dream of a life in “Ireland” and, with Elle, details the secret of the “Bend and Snap.” Another comes as exercise maven (and accused murderer) Brooke Wyndham (Hillary Smith) leads her TV audience in a killer routine designed to get them “Whipped Into Shape.”
Applause breaks out whenever Elle’s dog Bruiser (an adorable Yorkie named Lillie) or Paulette’s reclaimed bulldog Rufus (a dignified Princess Ariel!) are on stage.
Many of the performers play several roles. Even though they may be recognizable (it’s difficult to disguise 6 ft + Andy Robinson) each gives his/her characters often-hilarious individual definitions.
“Legally Blonde” is almost non-stop music. The up-tempo beat that sets Elle’s pace is difficult to resist.
“LEGALLY BLONDE” plays through June30 in the Wagon Wheel Theatre at 2517 E. Center Street in Warsaw. For performance times and reservations, call (574) 267-8041 or visit www.wagonwheeltheatre.org.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 02:09|