‘Legally Blonde The Musical’ at Encore Stage & Studio by Erica Laxson

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FOUR AND A HALF STARS
Encore Stage & Studio’s production of Legally Blonde The Musical is a wonderful example of a community of theater lovers of all ages coming together to put on an amazing show. Director Susan A. Keady has harnessed the energy of her talented cast to present the DC Metro Area with this fun, flirty, and fantastic modern musical full of cast members who just can’t stop smiling. From catchy songs and cute dogs to an incredibly enthusiastic ensemble and shining stars, this musical is a ‘must see’ this summer!

Elle Woods (Melina Smith) rethinks if Harvard was the right decision for her. (Bruiser is played by Romeo Giammittorio). Photo by  Larry McClemons.
Elle Woods (Melina Smith) and Bruiser (Romeo Giammittorio). Photo by Larry McClemons.

Dive into the world of sorority girl gone serious as Elle Woods (sparkling singer Melina Smith) follows her dream man, Warner Huntington III (a sickeningly smarmy Josh Connor), to Harvard Law School to prove blonde means more than bimbo. Elle is supported by best friends Serena (quirky and attention grabbing Carla Astudillo), Margo (Amanda Herman), and Pilar (funky and funny impersonator Meghan Mack) and singing manicurist Paulette (Meghan Smith who easily had the best voice of the evening) throughout her love driven challenges. Despite all that, Elle is quick to lean on Emmett Forrest (the incredibly vocally talented David Lopez) to find her way to the light at the end of the legal tunnel.

Though Woods gets to sing and dance her way through Law School, speed bumps come along in the form of competitive Vivienne (a perfectly preppy Valerie Chamness), fellow law student Enid Hoopes (the entertaining physical actress Eileen Sugameli), and the less than understanding Professor Callahan (Matthew Heap was as slimy and pretentious one could hope for). Client Brooke Wyndham (a bubbly Rachel Snare with perfect pipes) hopped, belted, and sassed her way through the performance while giving Elle a chance to shine at what she does best and impressed us all with her rousing rendition of “Whipped into Shape.”

The hilarious supporting cast made each moment count as their unique quirks and traits had the audience laughing the whole night. Jim Clancy made a huge splash as Kyle, the wiggle walking UPS man, Usman Ishaq played both the love stricken Padamadan and the two-faced pool boy Nikos with charm, and Tara Koslov pulled out all the stops to portray the wacky yet supportive Judge and the blond inspiration for Elle’s style, her mother. All the fun that is Legally Blonde wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for two furry stars. Rufus (Bubbles) and Bruiser (Romeo) pitter- pattering across the stage.

 Elle Woods (Melina Smith) finds the love of her life, Warner (Josh Conrad), proposing to Vivenne (Valerie Chamness). Photo by  Larry McClemons.
Elle Woods (Melina Smith) finds the love of her life, Warner (Josh Conrad), proposing to Vivenne (Valerie Chamness). Photo by Larry McClemons.

Music Director Matthew Heap coached his stars and a great chorus to perform at their best and never stop smiling while they sing. Audience favorites were “Omigod You Guys,” “Blood in the Water,” “Bend and Snap,” and “Legally Blonde.” Kristen Jepperson doubled up as both Costume Designer and Set Designer creating a wonderful world of Elle for all to enjoy. The bright costumes fit each character perfectly and popped against the minimalistic set that created the perfect tone for each scene. Lighting Designer Gary Hauptman lit up the multi-talented ensemble that Choreographer Kelsey Meiklejohn directed to dance and distract the audience while the quick transitions occurred. An extremely talented running crew, led by Stage Manager Rebecca Pfeil, made each scene change fly.

4.5 stars for a fun production of an incredibly popular musical that is sure to entertain theater lovers of all ages, fans of furry friends, and catchy music you’ll sing the whole way home.

Legally Blonde The Musical runs though July 28, 2013 at Encore Stage & Studio at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre – 125 South Old Glebe Road in Arlington, VA. For tickets visit them onlineor call the box office at (703) 548-1154.