Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Legally Blonde: The Musical

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 1:57 PM

In the flash of neon pink that is Legally Blonde: The Musical’s opener “Omigod You Guys,” the tone of this musical is quickly apparent. The shrieking excitement of the girls of Delta Nu for Elle Woods’ (Hannah Rachal) upcoming (or, so they think) engagement might scare those unfamiliar with the strange world of Greek life. Although sugary, the show is self-aware, and a sense of humor and a game cast — which includes two live dogs — propels Theatre 13’s production.

The word “subtle” doesn’t come to mind in describing the 2001 Reese Witherspoon comedy that inspired the musical, but the stage iteration makes the film seem relatively quiet. The video essay Elle submits with her Harvard Law School application in the film is translated onstage as a splashy showstopper with a marching band and a hip-hop — as interpreted by Malibu sorority girls — dance breakdown.

Theatre 13’s take on that number is slightly scaled down from the Broadway version, but there’s still gymnastics, a cheerleader stunt and Kelly Fouchi and Heidi Malnar’s fresh, energetic choreography. That cast members weren’t gasping for breath by that scene, which follows a well-paced block of songs, shows their stamina.

Rachal, physically, is perfectly suited for Elle, and she’s good at snapping from sorority girl to whip-smart student. She also handled Elle’s difficult vocal parts, which culminate in a long-sustained note in Act 1 closer “So Much Better.” She could have pushed further as an actor, though. Her trio of sorority friends who morph into the "Greek chorus" later in the show (Kayla Herrington, Katie Lynn Cotaya and Anna Toujas Rosenberg) are capable singers and deft comedians. Local personal injury attorney — and frequent stage actor — Greg DiLeo plays the smarmy Professor Callahan. Tammy Mansfield was funny and likeable as Paulette, the wise beautician Elle befriends.

A post-sugar rush crash sets in during Act 2, which features the cast singing while jump-roping (again, the stamina), an Irish dance number and the film’s “bend and snap” scene blown up into a pop number. Janie Heck, playing the icy Vivienne Kensington, reveals a fine singing voice at the end.

Despite a few lines of sexual innuendo, this show is best-suited for teens attuned to “omigod” youth culture. But everyone can appreciate that like Elle herself, the show is smarter than it seems

Legally Blonde: The Musical
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., through Sept. 30. Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts, 325 Minor St., Kenner; (504) 461-9475; www.theatre-13.com

Tags: , ,

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in The Latest

More by Lauren LaBorde

  • The NOLA Project premieres immersive poolside play Exterior. Pool-Night

    The theater company blurs the lines between actor and audience
    • Jul 11, 2016
  • Gambit’s 2015 Big Bar Guide

    From craft cocktail emporiums to dive bars, places to get your drink on
    • Nov 23, 2015
  • How to survive White Linen Night

    This guide from 2011, by Lauren LaBorde, is as relevant as ever. Happy White Linen Night!
    • Aug 3, 2013
  • More »
Submit an event Jump to date

© 2016 Gambit
Powered by Foundation