BWW Reviews: OMIGOD! LEGALLY BLONDE is a Must See
Omigod, nothing this fun should be legal! If you want one "Elle" of a good time, go see Legally Blonde: The Musical now playing at Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, Maine through July 14th!
Based on the hilarious MGM film of the same name, Legally Blonde follows sorority star Elle Woods, an underestimated blonde who doesn't take "no" for an answer. When her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, dumps her for someone more serious, Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
Alex Ellis (Elle Woods) is flawlessly perfect! With her triple threat talent, hilarious comedic talent and winning smile, you can't help but fall in love with her character and want to see her succeed. Ellis is the next Kristen Chenoweth! MSMT favorite Charis Leos (Paulette) is show stealing FUN-tastic! From the second she enters, Leos commands the stage with her heartfelt acting and subtle comedy. Congratulations to Leos for keeping it 'real' and not 'shticking' it up. The "omigod" talent and cuteness of Chico (Bruiser) and Nellie (Rufus), perfectly trained by William Berloni, is worthy of a standing finger snapping.
The adorable Chuck Ragsdale (Emmett) is simply stellar, sings beautifully and blends all the right ingredients to make the perfect love interest for Elle. Matthew Ragas (Warner) and Lauren Blackman (Vivienne) are a strong support- both act and sing their roles very well. Ragas shines in the duet, Serious, with Ellis. Blackman showcased her vocal chops with the Legally Blonde Remix. Curt Dale Clark (Kyle) proved why the UPS man is everyone's fantasy. Clark is like walking porn and performs Kyle's comedy like a pro.
Jessica Lee Goldyn (Brooke) explodes with energy and talent, her character solid. Courtney Romano (Serena), Lara Hayhurst (Margot) and Emmeline Wood (Pilar) are top-notch as Elle's Delta Nu sisters. The entire ensemble played multiple roles (led by the multi-talented and hilarious Brian Michael Hoffman) with energized enthusiasm and commitment- their singing and dancing excels in every musical number. The Whipped Into Shape number with Goldyn and the men's ensemble is a highlight with jump ropes! Ken Land (Professor Callahan) does a good job, but lacked stand-out energy that made his character get lost among the rest.
Director and choreographer Marc Robin gives us a production that is fresh, bright and fun. Robin stays true to those Legally Blonde moments you come to expect, yet infuses his production with originality that leaves you laughing, smiling, and yes, cheering for Elle Woods. Musical Director Jason Wetzel does a great job with the vocals, although there were times that it was hard to hear and understand the singers because the band was too loud. The band is not as tight as it will be, with some missed notes and pitchy moments that the singers outsing.
The set designed by Robert Kovach works well and provides for quick changes. Costumes designed by Kurt Alger are character appropriate, colorful and fun. Lighting design by Jeffrey S. Koger is creative, with an imaginative mix of color and focus.
Unfortunately, sound design by Colin Whitely is an issue for the audience, Body mics and sound levels are muddy, flat sounding and unbalanced, preventing the audience from hearing and understanding the performers. The volume level of the band overpowered the singers many times, particularly the drums and percussion. Since this was the number one comment I heard throughout intermission, I hope the issue is fixed immediately so the focus stays on the excellent work being performed.
I must say that Steven C. Peterson, Executive Director, gives the best curtain speeches I have ever had to unfortunately sit through. Peterson is like theater foreplay.
With the unfortunate current trend of making movies into musicals, I am happy to say that this show is wicked fun and the stellar cast make it well worth finding your way to MSMT and Legally Blonde- omigod!
Legally Blonde continues through July 14 at Maine State Music Theater, Brunswick, ME. For tickets and information call (207) 725-8769 or go to www.msmt.org .
From This Author Michael Tobin