BWW Reviews: Stage Door's LEGALLY BLONDE Makes You Think Pink
While I, and all of the other insanely giving and informed people, have always been aware that self-centeredness and shallow preoccupations are not traits of silly, frivolous women but of silly, frivolous people - usually tweens, teens and people in their early twenties (see exhibits A , B and C) - LEGALLY BLONDE has convinced the world and looked fabulous doing it. What? Like it's hard. Well, it is hard. Duh. That's why it's impressive.
Because LEGALLY BLONDE is BEYOND referential, I obvs thought of Jane Austen's Emma and Amy Heckerling's Clueless immediately. Unfortunately, there was nothing as clever as Cher's "riding the crimson wave," but it is still a lot of fun. There is plenty of razzle and dazzle and, as much as I loathe to admit it, "What? Like it's hard" is so much better than "As if."
Applause is in order for Director Marc Anthony Glover, Co-Director Renee Hinojosa and Musical Directors Carrie Doss and Bryan Weber for the many things that are totes amaze about the production. The technicolor sequences. The exquisite, measured lines that divide the action in the courtroom scenes. And the deft staging that manages to organize a major cast (pun intended) made largely of a diverse set of women (yay!) in a way that is pleasurably overwhelming, like eating a little too much cake, instead of just overwhelming, like eating the whole cake.
Something that is less totes amazing is the inconsistent vocal performances. In the first song, "Omigod You Guys," Hinojosa (Elle), Jana Smith (Serena), Gretchen Odum (Margot), and Kortney Pepper (Pilar) are not an army of one. Until they are. Ryan Hancock (Emmett) is not a good vocalist. Until he is. Wash, rinse, repeat. I had a difficult time hearing any of the performers. My ears were screaming for projection. Mics would probably work just as well, but I am an old fashioned girl.
That is not to say the the singing is all bad. I enjoyed Hinojosa's rendition of "So Much Better." And she is especially moving in "Legally Blonde." For those who witnessed me at the show, I can assure you I was not crying. I was listening with tears in my eyes. Also, despite feeling as if I missed out on the strength and complexity of her voice much of the time, I really liked her performance. Hinojosa's Elle is much more than the sum of her parts. She brings such personality, such joie de vivre, such an undefinable something that I simply did not care about the flaws in her performance. What can I say? Her smile lights the stage. I am not sure Marc Anthony Glover and George Hughes Jr. (Lights/Sound) are necessary when she's on.
She is also hilarious with great comedic timing and movement. I died when she and the cast break into a ridiculous drum line dance. If only there weren't just ethnic dances, as one of the character's slyly terms it, but also more ethnic performers. I would have died. Literally.
Speaking of dance, her dancing is energetic and precise. This is unsurprising when you consider she is also the choreographer. Though she had help in the form of the Assistant Choreographer Jennifer Richardson.
Kiefer Slaton (Warner) is solid throughout the show. His singing is strong and consistent which allows the audience to focus on how much fun it is to hate him and other fantastic elements of the production. Amber Deschamps (Paulette) has a thrilling and inspiring turn in "Ireland" and "Ireland (Reprise)." And the Greek Chorus is sublime with Jana Smith as a standout.
Of course I cannot sign off without mentioning the Costume Design. Here it goes: Her pink dress was major. In her pink velour (velvet?) tracksuit, she was so fancy. By the time she steps out in her all pink business suit, it is clear she is a boss. Her sparkly pink bag was EVERYthing.
I went in expecting hard candy, sweet but substantive, like a jolly rancher if you will. What I got was more like carnival cotton candy slightly past its sell by date. However - please pause and take a breath before reading on - as insulting as that sounds, I liked it. Just like I would continue eating the cotton candy until I was sick, I will watch the digital copy of LEGALLY BLONDE on the web as soon as it becomes available. But perhaps that says more about me than the musical.
Until we meet again - think pink!
If you missed LEGALLY BLONDE at Stage Door Inc. (now at 2307 South Shaver), that really sucks for you. But you can catch the theatre's next production A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. It runs from July 18 to Aug 10. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.stagedoorinc.com/ or call the box office at (832) 582-7606.