BWW Reviews: LEGALLY BLONDE - A Bit of Fluff and a Lot of Fun
If you are in the mood for some high energy fluff, Toby's Dinner Theatre has just the thing – Legally Blonde, The Musical. Based on the 2001 movie, Legally Blonde follows the story of Elle Woods, a seemingly vacuous sorority girl. After being dumped by her Harvard Law bound boyfriend, Elle is determined to win him back. So, she packs up her Pradas and her pooch and heads to the Ivy League school.
The movie, which starred Reese Witherspoon, was a hit. It inspired a stage version that played Broadway from April 2007 – October 2008,
Legally Blonde is a fun show. It is filled with lively tunes and some cute comedy moments. Not to mention, as is almost always the case in these types of stories, there is a semblance of a message thrown in among the mascara and hair extensions.
Toby's production is vibrant and enjoyable. For the most part, the cast does a wonderful job. However, there are two standouts that need to be mentioned.
As a theatergoer, it is always interesting to see the growth of a performer throughout the years. It may be someone who catches your eye in the ensemble or a minor role and then one day they burst through, delivering a performance that is a revelation. In this show, that performance is delivered by Prescilla Cuellar.
Miss Cuellar has been around the DC theater scene for years. There was never any doubt that she has an incredible singing voice – a blow the roof off type of singing voice. Her acting skills were always good, but as Paulette, she has finally come into her own. Miss Cuellar has proven that she is a terrific comedienne and is adept at eliciting real emotion. It is exciting to see how much she has grown as a performer and she provides many high points in the show.
There is only one way to describe Jeffrey Shankle's portrayal of Emmett. It is simply real. Mr. Shankle delivers the most authentic performance in the show. To be fair, most of the characters are written as stereotypes and tend to be superficial. Still, his performance is so strong, it can't help but stand out.
The best of the cast does the best with what they have to work with. Jessica Lauren Ball is appropriately cute in the role of Elle and she handles the musical numbers quite well.
The score by Laurence O'Keefe and Neil Benjamin adds to the exuberant tone of the show. The book by Heather Hach pretty much follows the script of the movie. One of the most successful elements of the show is the choreography by Mark Minnick. Acting as both director and choreographer, Mr. Minnick provides the audience with excellent dance numbers.
Legally Blonde, The Musical may not be what some consider high art. However, it is a fun, family friendly show. Legally Blonde, The Musical runs through September 2nd at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia.
Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia is located at 5900 Symphony Woods Road, Columbia, Md.
Theater and ticket information may be found at www.tobysdinnertheatre.com or by calling 410-730-8311.
Photo credit: Kristine Christiansen