Share this article

print logo

Buffalo goes big time for 'Legally Blonde'

If you had set foot in Shea's Performing Arts Center this past week, you would have emerged thinking pink as a result of "Legally Blonde: The Musical."

The show is based on the 2001 smash hit movie "Legally Blonde," which established a sense of glitzy girl power in its devoted audience. It set a fantastic platform for the imminent success of the new musical, which closed on Broadway on Sunday, and earned seven 2007 Tony Award nominations and 10 Drama Desk Award nominations.

The show is directed and choreographed by Tony-winner Jerry Mitchell, music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Neil Benjamin with book by Heather Hach.

The fun begins when the band plays its first chord and we are automatically thrown into the world of Elle Woods. The story starts at the Delta Nu Sorority House at UCLA with the sorority girls led by Margot (MTV "Legally Blonde" star Rhiannon Hansen) eagerly waiting to wish their president Elle (Becky Gulsvig) good luck on her predicted engagement in the highlight number "Omigod You Guys," which is filled with clever choreography complimented by smart lyrics.

To Elle's surprise, her boyfriend Warner (Jeff McLean) dumps her, explaining that she's too "blonde" for him and runs off to Harvard Law School. Elle then decides in the incredibly upbeat "What You Want" to accomplish the difficult task of getting into Harvard Law School. She quickly wins over the dean of admissions with an appropriately placed cheerleading routine that compliments Gulsvig's obvious dance skills. Harvard proves to be difficult, until Elle's new friend Emmett (D.B. Bonds) convinces her to focus on her studies instead of Warner and his new girlfriend Vivienne (Megan Lewis) in "Chip on My Shoulder."

Along the way, Elle meets a hairdresser, Paulette ("Legally Blonde" veteran Natalie Joy Johnson -- she played Enid Hoops on Broadway) who also tells Elle to keep trying. Act 1 closes with the powerhouse number "So Much Better," sung with incredible flair by Gulsvig, as Elle receives a top-notch internship.

The show proceeds with numbers such as the fast-paced, jump-roping "Whipped Into Shape" that introduces the murder trial of Brooke (Colleen Sexton). The show takes some interesting turns such as the fun dance-in-your-seat "Bend and Snap" and incredibly hilarious "There! Right! There!" which was the laugh-until-you-cry highlight featuring Buffalo local Adam Zelasko, who shines as the pool boy Nikos. Gulsvig once again demonstrated her unmatchable skills in the ballad "Legally Blonde."

During "Legally Blonde Remix," the entire cast reunites to support Elle at the trial, which includes a random yet exceptionally well-done river dance.

Gulsvig undoubtedly demonstrated that she was born to wear the pink heels and Tiffany necklace of Elle Woods. Other recognizable faces include Rhiannon Hansen (Margot) and Lauren Zakrin who both competed for the Broadway role on "MTV's the Search for Elle Woods."
Other standouts were Ven Daniel as the UPS guy who won Paulette's heart and Ken Land as the sly Harvard Law Professor Callahan.

The unfortunate prejudice of "Legally Blonde" is a chick flick embellished with soap-opera melodrama bedazzled feminism. However, the show can only succeed with its impeccable blend of quirky humor, captivating music, well-thought dances and attitude that dares to go where no musical has gone before. The theme is to dream big and that, as stated in the show, "being true to yourself never goes out of style." "Legally Blonde" can captivate any audience.

Mary Best is a junior at Alden High School.

There are no comments - be the first to comment