BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL Shakes Up the PINEWOOD BOWL

BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL Shakes Up the PINEWOOD BOWL

LEGALLY BLONDE, the 2007 feel good musical of Broadway is strutting its stuff on the open air stage of the Pinewood Bowl in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Written for stage by Heather Hach and based on an earlier novel by Amanda Brown, the plot covers the blonde ambitions of a stereotypical Malibu sorority girl who has her eyes fixed on winning back her Harvard Law School-bound boyfriend who has just dumped her over dinner. Aided by her Delta Nu sisters, Elle Woods (Carly Ann Moore), passes the LSAT, packs up her tiny dog Bruiser, and heads East. Elle doesn't crack a book until Emmett Forrest (Sam Ninegar) ignites in her the will to do more than wear a Playboy bunny costume and moon over lost love. Her ex, Warner Huntington III (Riley Beranek) has found himself a serious girlfriend in the uptight Vivienne Kensington (Sarah Koch). The aspiring lawyers are challenged by a morally reprehensible Professor Callahan (Jamie Ulmer) to defend an exercise celebrity, Brooke Wyndham (Sarah Arten) who has been accused of murder. Elle finds a friend in Paulette, the hairdresser (Amy Koepke), who teaches her that law can be used to help others.

The plot is light weight, yet has an underlying message of empowerment for women, and for anyone who does not have the courage to fulfill their potential.

What is most captivating about LEGALLY BLONDE is the music. Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin have composed catchy melodies with clever lyrics. The Pinewood Bowl cast's clear enunciation and solid sound system...aside from 2 or 3 miscues with microphones...ensure that the audience does not miss a word. The talented vocalists do justice to the songs backed by a fine orchestra led by William Maltas.

Courtney Piccoli, both director and choreographer, pulls out some pumped up choreography! The high octane dancing is probably my favorite part of the show.

Piccolli directs a fine cast. Elle's trio of Delta Nu besties, Serena (Anneliese Saathoff), Pilar (Savannah Bishop), and Margot (Kelly Krueger), are high energy fun as they sing and cavort around the Bowl. Koepke adds just the right touch of gauche humor contrasted with Beranek's elegant sophistication. Arten, who appeared to be having vocal issues, is in crazy fit form as she whips her fellow prisoners into shape.

Ninegar's Emmett is spot on. His vocals and acting are solid. He and Moore have believable

BWW Review: LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL Shakes Up the PINEWOOD BOWL
Sam Ninegar and Carly Ann Moore

chemistry between them and share an innocence refreshing in the law school's pool of sharks.

Moore could not be better as Elle. She nails her personality. She is spirited and vacuous, but surprising with glimpses of intelligence and astuteness. She owns that stage, and vocally, she is tremendous.

Favorite scene: Elle's in person application to Harvard. This number alone is worth the price of admission.

All of this takes place on a pink set with rounded corners and simple design that is constantly transformed by creative lighting. Add in the natural elements of an outdoor theater. Train whistles. Helicopters occasionally flying overhead. The flickers of lightning bugs. Throw in a superlative pre-show rendition of The National Anthem by Sarah Koch. All of these make for a special evening out in the middle of Nebraska.

The show runs July 12-15 and 19-22. Bring your blanket or lawn chair and prepare for a great night under the stars with LEGALLY BLONDE.

Photo Credit: James & Shannon Ochoa and Neil Stenberg

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From This Author Christine Swerczek

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