BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE at Opera House Players
It seems these days that every other musical opening on Broadway is based on a popular film. From PRETTY WOMAN to BEETLEJUICE, Broadway has been home to film adaptations for years. Sometimes these can be a mixed bag, but sometimes they shine as brightly (or even brighter) than their original source material. Such is the case for LEGALLY BLONDE, with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and Book by Heather Hach, which is currently playing at the Enfield Annex, produced by the Opera House Players.
LEGALLY BLONDE tells the story of bubbly UCLA Delta Nu sorority president, Elle Woods (Chelsea Derby) and her unlikely journey to Harvard Law School to win back her ex, Warner Huntington III (Jon Simmons) who has dumped her for someone more "serious". Elle's signature pink wardrobe, her effervescent personality, and her little dog Bruiser are quite a sight for the buttoned up Harvard Law crew, but through the help of new friend (and stylist) Paulette (Erin Dugan) and class TA (and maybe more) Emmett (Jay Torres), Elle finds a way to prove her worth and not only change her outlook, but that of her friends and classmates.
As with many of the productions I have seen by the Opera House Players, LEGALLY BLONDE is a strong showing with standout leads and a solid ensemble. The strength of a production of this musical hinges on a convincing Elle, and Chelsea Darby does marvelously in the role. Her singing voice is stellar and she is determined and focused as the pink-clad sorority sister. As Emmett, Elle's mentor and guide, Jay Torres is strong, and as the hilarious stylist, Paulette, Erin Dugan shines - delivering the funniest performance of the evening. Other standouts include the "greek chorus" including Erin Fields, Alexandra Laliberte, and Katelyn Carlson, Amber Levine as Elle's new nemesis and Warner's new girlfriend, Vivienne and Gene Choquette's gruff professor Callahan. Overall, the ensemble does a great job in each group number, delivering high energy choreography (by Sarah Rose Stack) and strong vocal numbers (Musically Directed by Juliane LaRocca.)
Denise Boutin's direction is good and her Set Design works well on the large Enrico Fermi High stage. Emma Connell's costumes are fun and functional and Nate Ferreira's Lighting Design adds the right amount of depth to the stage.
Overall, LEGALLY BLONDE is a fun, fast paced and fantastic musical. Watching Elle Woods prove how she is "so much better" and conquer her fears and all those who doubt her strength and smarts is something exciting to watch. Add in a delightful score and a cast that is clearly having a blast, and you get a great night of theatre.
Opera House Players, Inc. is currently presenting LEGALLY BLONDE through February 23rd (Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm) at the Enfield Annex, (Formerly Fermi High School), 124 North Maple Street, Enfield, CT 06082. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 860-292-6068 or online at www.operahouseplayers.org.
Top Photo: Elle Woods-Chelsea Derby Photo credit: Mike and MaryLou Druzolowski
Mid-Photo: Elle and the Delta Nus-Left to right-Alexandra Laliberte, Erin Fields, Katelyn Carlson, Chelsea Derby, Paige Stawasz, Victoria Cannon, Jamie Wisset. Photo credit: Mike and MaryLou Druzolowski
Bottom Photo: Paulette-Erin Dugan and Kyle-Chazz Logue . Photo credit: Mike and MaryLou Druzolowski