McLean Community Players presents Legally Blonde—The Musical, an infectiously silly show carried by actors with great dance moves, voices, and comedic timing. Directed by Mike Replogle, Legally Blonde will bring out that giddy pre-teen in all of us, or die trying!
The set, designed by Bill Brown, goes through many transformations – from a girly sorority house and a kitschy salon, to an ivy-covered brick campus and back. Lighting (designed by Jeff Auerbach) and sound (Jon Roberts) proved to be big problems for this otherwise fun production, as the spotlight cues didn’t hit the characters until they were well into the second line of their song, the words of which were almost completely drowned out by the accompanying band. Truly, the sound was so overpowering that a lot of the dialogue and lyrics could not be heard. The costumes by Ceci Albert and Lisa Brownsword do a great job at showing character (and the drastic differences between a pink-clad Elle and her argyle-print, pleated-skirt peers).
The show didn’t really grab my attention until Elle Woods (Kate Merryman) makes it to Harvard Law School, where she has enrolled to try to win back her ambitious ex-boyfriend (Mark Gray-Mendes as Warner Huntington the Third). It is here where her perky personality clashes horribly with the serious, conservative crowd. She seeks solace in a friendship with beautician Paulette Buonofuonte (a hilarious, scene-stealing Toby Nelson) and song-and-dance numbers starring her three best friends, who present themselves as welcome hallucinations. This trifecta, which includes Margaret Berkowitz as Margot, Courtney Drake as Selena, and Courtney Drake as Pilar, entrances the audience with their powerhouse voices and spunky, fun dance moves (compliments of choreographers Chris Dore and Kathleen McCormack).
Easily the most standout numbers include a song dedicated to the “Bend and Snap” move, and the jump-rope wielding “Whipped Into Shape,” with an excellent Rebecca Clary as fitness guru Brooke Wyndham, who is about to go to jail for a murder that she did not commit…unless Elle can help her. Faced with harsh judgments and condescension, Elle has to prove that she has the power to be seen as more than a “Marilyn.”
Can Elle rise above her stereotype and not only show others what she is capable of, but also herself? Okay, most of you know the answer to this (it was a popular movie) but with songs and dance numbers added in, the fun level is kicked up a notch.
Take in a showing of Legally Blonde—The Musical, and see if you can’t leave without a silly grin on your face.
Running time is 120 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.
Legally Blonde—The Musical runs through July 29, 2012 at McLean Community Players at Alden Theatre – 1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. For tickets, call (703) 790-9223, or order them online.