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Legally Blonde: The Musical
a Musical
by Book by Heather Hatch, Music & Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin

COMPANY : Theater of the Stars [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Fabulous Fox [WEBSITE]
ID# 3443

SHOWING : July 14, 2009 - July 19, 2009



Snaps! Elle Woods is live and on stage, bringing her Malibu sense of style to the staid halls of Harvard Law. Harvard doesn't stand a chance!

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Legally Blonde: The Musical
by Totalbroadwayfreak
Monday, August 17, 2009
Objections Overruled!
by Dedalus
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Broadway hit “Legally Blonde: The Musical” has brought its stylish energy to the Fabulous Fox for a fashionably short run. Opening night was filled with understudies, with not-quite-up-to-expectations performances, and with hordes of pleased and happy fans (my rabidly Elle-centric daughter included). As a self-designated judge of the proceedings, it’s my task to rule on objections raised.

Objection # 1: Last year, MTV aired an energetic (but badly filmed) version of the original production. This touring version is scaled down, and, with too many less-impressive choices made by the design and direction team.

Judgment: The opening set was actually more interesting than the heads-in-the-windows design from the original (though I did miss the staircase of the original set). The background columns translated nicely from UCLA’s Delta Nu to the hallowed halls of justice. Other sets (the actual courtroom, Elle’s room, the salon) were the same (at least as far as my memory serves). Transitions between scenes were smooth and elegant. OBJECTION OVERRULED!

Objection # 2: Here, the choreography was underwhelmingly simple. Group numbers usually involved everyone merely walking in a circle. The athletic “Whipped Into Shape” had about half the energy and half the people, many of whom were off the beat. Elle’s “essay” was tap-less and muddled.

Judgment: All true. But not relevant. The musical strengths of this piece are the numbers themselves. Well-constructed “exposition” numbers (“What you Want” and “Chip on My Shoulder” in particular) trump the choreography, which, truth to tell, was never a selling point for this show and this story. OBJECTION OVERRULED!

Objection # 3: This show succeeds or fails on the strengths of its leading actress. Becky Gulsvig has a nasal voice that carries through on her songs, making them go down as easily as press-on nails across slate. Her early scenes are shallow and by-the-numbers.

Judgment: True up to a point. However, once Elle hunkers down and applies herself, once she develops her friendship with Emmett, Ms. Gulsvig’s charm carries the day, her interactions take off, her sense of timing scores, and she wins over at least one cynical observer. In spite of the whining voice, I still must say, OBJECTION OVERRULED!

Objection # 4: The supporting cast is weak. Understudy Nick Dalton brought absolutely nothing to the table as Warner and D.B. Bonds’ Emmett was too movie-star handsome to be interesting.

Judgment: Maybe so, but what about Natalie Joy Johnson’s Paulette? Ken Land’s Callahan? Megan Lewis’s Vivienne? Ven Daniel’s Kyle? Even understudy Sara Andreas’ Brooke? All were spot-on characterizations, all sold their songs with abandon, all raised surprising laughs and found truthful moments amidst the excess surrounding them. Even Mr. Bond proved more interesting as the play continued. Again, and fer shure, OBJECTION extremely OVERRULED!

Objection # 5: The script has many weak points. The Ireland digression in Act I is amusing, the extended line dance in Act II just stops the show cold. Is it necessary (or credible) to move the trial to the bathroom? Is Vivienne’s Act II “conversion” foreshadowed enough to be believable?

Judgment: In the MTV broadcast, I thought these same things. However, then and now, the sheer momentum of the production lets me overlook them. So, for now, let me sustain the objection, but forgive the lapse.

Objection # 6: I recently received this anonymous E-Mail: “I gotta say, this was one of the worst shows I have seen at the Fox. It showed me how gullible and uneducated the general public is. It's a show made and marketed to tweens. Most the theatre folks I knew there thought it stunk.”

Judgment: Well, in honor of the maxim that “everyone is entitled to their opinion,” I have to give credit to a dissenting view. That being said, I have to add that everyone is NOT entitled to denigrate those who disagree. Gullible and uneducated? I do not consider myself uneducated (though I do have to confess to some gullibility). Let’s just examine one number – “Chip on My Shoulder.” Here is an exposition song that charts Elle’s progress from mindless stalker to driven law student, covering several months of action. But, it’s Emmet’s song, so we really learn more about him than we do about Elle, more, in fact, than the movie shared with us. That’s just smart writing, plain and simple. Oh, and just because the small sample of your friends thought the show stunk, doesn’t make you (or them) right. You were definitely in the Fox Minority on opening night. OBJECTION OVERRULED (with prejudice)!

Objection # 7: The show requires far too much willing suspension of disbelief. Is it credible that an air-headed blonde could easily get into Harvard and get to argue a high-profile murder case while still a student?

Judgment: I heard this same objection after the original movie came out. I’ll say now what I said then – if you think Elle is an “air-headed blonde,” the problem is with you, not with her. She is set up as intelligent, driven, and successful. So, she carries a dog, likes to shop, and looks great in pink. How is this a measure of her intelligence? The script then (and now) goes to great lengths to justify what she does and how it happens. That it does so breezily and with a sense of humor is a credit to the writers, and, to one with an open mind, requires absolutely no willing suspension of disbelief. OBJECTION now and for all time OVERRULED!

Final Verdict: The audience voted with its hands and feet, and I followed. The show is a winner. The objections noted only serve to bring down the show’s arbitrary rating, not to bring down the enjoyment to be had from it. The score is a delight to hear, the usual Fox sound system problems were nowhere in evidence, the design is impressive and dazzling, and the (admittedly “B”) cast brings so much good stuff to the table, that these objections seem petty and pointless.

My verdict has to be “SNAPS” to “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”

-- Brad Rudy (



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