Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Legally Blonde: The Musical

Presented by the Diablo Theatre Company at the Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek.
Directed by Gia Solari
Musical Director- Sean Kana
Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro Goldwyn-Mayer Motion Picture
Choreography by Renee DeWeese and Gia Solari
Cast: Bailey Hanks, Ian Leonard, Frankie Mulcahy, Lynda DiVito, Brenna Wahl, Mary Kalita, Tom Reardon, Lital Abrahams, Riley Krull, Taylor Jones.
Full cast list can be found here: http://diablotheatre.org/blog/legally-blonde-cast

“Being true to yourself never goes out of style.”

Sassy Blonde Elle Woods (Bailey Hanks) decides to follow her heart all the way from UCLA, and her Delta Nu sorority sisters, to Harvard Law School and its bright and ambitious lawyers in training. Her goal is to convince ex –boyfriend, Warner (Frankie Mulcahy), who is also matriculating at Harvard, that they are in fact perfect together and meant to be. It’s not until she is thrown out of her very first class that she realises the hard work that comes with the territory of attending a prestigious Ivy League school. What she also comes to learn, however, is that books can’t teach us everything, and that trusting your instincts can prove to be your smartest move.
Featuring original, soon-to-be stuck in your head songs such as Omigod You Guys, What You Want, and Bend and Snap, Legally Blonde: The Musical, is a girly rom-com with plenty of references to love, fashion and the strength of sisterhood. With perfectly coiffed blonde hair and her pet Chihuahua, Bruiser, by her side, Miss Woods shows those who pre-judged her that even though her interests may lie outside the world of academics, it does not mean she is incapable of achievement.
 Leading this cast is Bailey Hanks, who has previously played the role of Elle on Broadway, and whose voice was so crystal clear, and very well suited to the character’s vivacious personality. Another character that was well cast was the part of Ireland loving Paulette, portrayed by Lynda DiVito. Hairdresser Paulette almost instantly becomes friends with Elle, as they both have stories of being unlucky in love, and they both offer each other helpful advice. DiVito had excellent comedic timing and her voice was also was one of the strongest in the company. The kind hearted and shy Emmett (Ian Leonard) was a slight disappointment, not because the actor lacked talent, but because his portrayal wasn’t quite dorky or endearing enough; it’s not as easy to adore him as expected. (Spoiler alert) His romance with Elle at the end was nice, but nothing more.
The ensemble was energetic, but not faultless. The choreography and execution of steps in the first act were at times disjointed, but the routine for What You Want was sharp, clean, and enjoyable to watch. The dancing in the second act was of a much better quality; there were some excellent moves especially from a couple of the male performers. The skipping rope routine carried out on mini trampolines was very creative; although it wasn’t perfect, it was still impressive to see.
There were a couple of actors whose voices were slightly muffled and it was difficult to hear and understand what they were saying, during both speech and song. Some of the microphones in general were not in good working order, so it was a good job that the theatre itself was not any bigger, otherwise those towards the back of the auditorium would have been left very unsatisfied.
The two furry additions to the cast- Bam Bam and Lucy (Bruiser and Rufus respectively) were well behaved and there were no noticeable mishaps, although Lucy sometimes seemed nervous to be on stage, and could be seen struggling to go in a different direction to the way the actor with the lead was trying to take her. Overall, however, they were both very precious and gained a few laughs from the audience.
Legally Blonde: The Musical’s story line is not exactly demanding on the intellect, and nor is it intended to be; this show is all about the entertainment, and entertained you shall certainly be. “Get ready for some pink!” (Artistic Director, Daren A.C. Carollo).
Family friendly, suitable for ages 12 and up (suggested age by the Diablo Theatre Company).
NB: UK residents, the West End version of this show closes on April 7th 2012, so if you are intending to watch it, book your tickets ASAP.

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