BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE at Downtown Cabaret Theatre
On Friday, September 21, I had the pleasure of seeing LEGALLY BLONDE at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport, CT. This comedic musical is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM motion picture. The book for the play adaptation is by Heather Hatch with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Neil Benjamin.
The central protagonist is Elle Woods (Monica Charlene Brown) who after expecting to be proposed to was instead dumped by her boyfriend Warner Huntington III (James Conrad Smith), on the grounds that she wasn't a serious enough person, despite being seriously in love with Warner. Elle decides, in the name of love, to try to win him back by becoming an attorney, learning at Harvard Law School, where Warner would be attending. A fascinating original element to this storyline is that the audience does not want to see the central protagonist achieve her desired goal (winning back Warner's heart) on the grounds that Warner comes across as arrogant and unworthy of Elle.
The best song, musically, is "What You Want," a song that includes Elle's live dance performance with her friends, designed to impress administration so they would grant her admittance into Harvard Law School. Her strategy works, and she is granted admittance.
Actress Dana DiCerto steals the show, in the role of Paulette, a hair stylist who Elle befriends. Paulette is deeply hurt that an ex-boyfriend failed to propose, and took custody of their pet dog at their break-up. Dana DiCerto becomes Paulette and really sells the pain and emotion in a moving performance of "Ireland."
The best dance number, hands down, is "Whipped Into Shape," which is one of the most impressive live dance numbers I have ever seen. In the role of Brooke Wyndham, a fitness expert who had been accused of murdering her own husband, actress Katie Robidoux leads a group of extremely talented dancers performing all types of tricks with jump ropes at rapid speeds in rhythm and synchronicity. I can not even begin to imagine the intense level of work and cooperation it must have required to perform this number so flawlessly. The audience was so impressed that applause occurred even at moments during this song.
There is furthermore always the potential element of surprise in any show that has a real live dog on stage, as this show does.
As the show goes on, and Elle's priorities change, the central plot changes with Elle's priorities. The show does a great job showing the adverse emotional impact that sexual harassment can have on a person's motivation towards greatness, especially if she is manipulated into believing that something superficial, like her appearance, is the only reason she has achieved the level of success that her talent, dedication, and hard work have in reality yielded. This abusive behavior is a chronic problem in society, today, sometimes motivated by sexual intentions, sometimes by the desire to make one's own power felt, and other times due to jealousy over those whose valid efforts have led to higher levels of achievement. It is very dangerous when people who have such condescending attitudes rise to positions of authority, whether in business, government, or media.
LEGALLY BLONDE is scheduled to continue to run at Downtown Cabaret Theatre, in Bridgeport, CT on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October 14, 2018. For times and tickets, please go to https://dtcab.com/show/legally-blonde/.