BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE, JR. THE MUSICAL at Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre

BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE, JR. THE MUSICAL at Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre

BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE, JR. THE MUSICAL at Des Moines Young Artists' TheatreOh My God, you guys! Legally Blonde Jr., the Musical has made its way to the Stoner Theater in Des Moines, and will have you rushing home to practice your 'bend and snap' as well as consider changing your entire wardrobe to pink.

Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre launched its 2018-2019 season by opening this weekend with a show that focuses on a central theme of empowering the individual. There couldn't be a more fitting character that embodies this characteristic more than Elle Woods, who defies expectations by demonstrating that you are capable of achieving your dreams and doing anything you set your mind to.
The story of "Legally Blonde" follows the girl power story of the beautiful sorority sister Elle Woods who is deemed not serious enough by her boyfriend Warner, as he heads off to Harvard Law School. In order to win him back, she picks up the book, earns the grades and lands herself a place at the prestigious school.
But she soon learns that being true to yourself never goes out of style and finds her own way as she excels thanks to her ambition and hard work.
This high energy, upbeat show features Morgan Alaimo in the starring role of Elle Woods. Alaimo is a fabulous mix of intelligence and sweetness as Elle, with a voice that soars through musical numbers with a genuine feeling of warmth and relatability.
The energetic, youthful cast involved in this production breeze through their well-choreographed dance numbers -- no-one more convincingly than the show's fitness extraordinaire Brooke Wyndham, played by Stella Webster. Webster doesn't seem to break a sweat or certainly miss a beat, as she belts out "Whipped Into Shape" during an impressively complex skipping rope routine.
Anastasia Deace is wonderfully endearing in her role as Paulette, the salon owner who becomes friends with Elle as they help each other on their respective journeys. Her distinct Boston accent is as impressive as her singing voice, showcased beautifully in her ode to "Ireland," which is as comedic as it is brilliant. If you are a fan of the movie, you will also appreciate the quintessential "Bend and Snap" sequence.
Of course, special mention needs to be given to the canine stars of the show. Elle's pup Bruiser, played by Raider Allen Spazola, and Paulette's rescued Rufus, played by Frisco Melz, stole the show in each of their appearances and earned well deserved "oohs and ahs" during their star moments.
This is a fun, charming and fast-paced production that general audiences and families with children will enjoy. Director and choreographer Haley Melz has assembled an impressive cast that includes 27 students from over 18 different schools in the central Iowa area. Over half of the cast is making its stage debut in this production of Legally Blonde, Jr. the Musical.
As Melz states, Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre has "a passion for showing students that they are more than enough. By providing opportunities to be involved in the life-changing experience of the dramatic arts, often times being the first to welcome a student in, DMYAT is allowing students to see themselves the way we see them - talented beyond measure, kind, smart, dedicated, special and worthy of self-love."
Legally Blonde, Jr. the Musical runs at the Stoner Theatre October 26th - November 4th. For more information or to purchase tickets, check out www.dmyat.org.
About the author: Denise Forney is a Des Moines region theatre reviewer for Broadway World. She is a teacher, trainer, entertainer and theatre aficionado. Denise loves supporting local artists on stage in central Iowa and currently sits on the Board of Directors with Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre.

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