By Alison Tingley
Legally Blonde is now playing at the Erie Playhouse. Legally Blonde’s music and lyrics are by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin, and the book is by Heather Hatch. It’s based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon. The musical production opened on Broadway in 2007 and was nominated for several Tony and Drama Desk awards. This energetic show is directed and choreographed by Richard Davis.
The cast includes Leah M. Johnson (Elle Woods), Evan O’Polka (Emmett Forrest), Kelly Rodland (Paulette), Ken Brundage (Professor Callahan), Jesse Yates (Warner Huntington III), Melissa Bruckart Adzima (Brooke Wyndham), Jessica Dearbeck (Vivienne Kensington), Alanna Grafius (Margot), Christine Carmichael (Serena), Rebecca Coleman (Pilar), and Brendan Daugherty (Kyle). There’s a lot more people in the cast. It’s huge.
Elle Woods, a UCLA senior majoring in fashion design, has just been dumped by her longtime boyfriend and expected fiancée, Warner Huntington III (you can just hear the ATM spitting out money, can’t you?). He wants to find someone more serious and go to Harvard law school. So, Elle decides the only way to win him back is to get accepted to Harvard law school herself, which she does. Yay. The only problems are that she doesn’t really fit in, what with all the pink she wears and her lack of study habits, and that Warner has found another girlfriend, Vivienne Kensington (serious name for a serious woman). Professor Callahan is not impressed with Elle at all, but his assistant, Emmett Forrest, is and tries to help her to get more serious about her studies. Along the way, Elle also has the support of a friend, Paulette, who works at a beauty shop, and she has her Greek Chorus starring Margot, Serena, and Pilar. Elle also helps Paulette find a good boyfriend in Kyle, the UPS guy. When Elle gets assigned to the Brooke Wyndham murder case, she really gets a chance to show what she’s made of. Does she win the case? Does she graduate? Go find out.
Johnson carries the lead well. She’s quite talented and shines in every aspect of this performance. She portrays frustration and growth as they should be for the situation. She also has a sweet singing voice. O’Polka puts forth a great performance. He’s funny. His face shows all his emotions. And he’s a damn fine singer as well. Rodland is hilariously awkward. And, as I’ve said in other reviews, that woman can SING. Wow. Just, wow. Yates, Dearbeck, and Brundage are appropriately arrogant. Daugherty is just too much as he struts around the stage. Adzima is crazy energetic.
Everyone acts, sings, and dances quite well. Other members of the cast that need to be mentioned in this review include James F. Dixon and Matt Huefner. They are just so much fun to watch. They’re full of energy. You can tell they’re having fun. And their dancing is fantastic. In other dancing news, Grafius and Carmichael give very enjoyable performances. They’re graceful, and it seems that their every movement comes from the heart. Additionally, Liz Figurski (Enid) does a wonderful job as a militant feminist.
The music, under the direction of Patrick Rose, is great. The set and costumes are perfect. The choreography is fabulous.
Legally Blonde runs through August 25. It’s a really fun, fluffy show that’s very entertaining. It’s worth going just to see the jump-rope workout. For more information and tickets call the Erie Playhouse box office at 814-454-2852 or go online to www.erieplayhouse.org.