Legally Blonde: the Musical
Broadway in Chicago
Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre
Last night Legally Blonde: the Musical opened it's limited engagement run at the Oriental Theatre. The pop-musical takes the movie that starred Reese Witherspoon and puts it on stage. The production features excellent dancing, sorority girls, and lots and lots of pink.
For a movie musical, the show actually does quite well. The story is perfectly suited to the musical genre requiring music to express feelings that cannot be simply said. The first act moves along telling its story in quite an engaging manner. About halfway through the second act, however, the plot derails a little in a a large dance number where the forward momentum seems to come to a crashing halt. The play gets back on track and finishes well, but the thrust that really had the audience going is lost. Still the musical is quite entertaining. The music is excellent and the cast all has more than the vocal power to belt it out.
The most ingenious thing that these writer do is bringing Elle's sorority sisters back through out the play as a "Greek" chorus to give her advice and support as she makes her way through the rigors of Harvard Law School. Also, the scenic design implements a moving proscenium to help focus the action and prevents the actors from ever seeming dwarfed by the set. My biggest complain was that the leading lady had less than 15 costumes; somehow I expect quite a lot more.
Overall the production is well conceived and superbly played. But the show is definitely stolen by the two canine co-stars. From the moment they sent their paws on-stage the audience was wrapped by their presence and cuteness. Indeed, Elle's chihuahua got the final curtain call, upstaging his leading lady.
While Legally Blonde will not fill the shoes of Wicked, it is a solid production and an enjoyable evening at the theatre.
Happy Birthday: Maria Irene Fornes (b. 1930)