Legally Blonde: The Musical opened Saturday night, September 17, 2016, at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. Based on the book written by Amanda Brown, and also the popular 2001 movie, Legally Blonde: The Musical, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and book by Heather Hach, tells the story of Elle Woods – a popular sorority girl who believes her boyfriend Warner is about to propose. Instead, as he is headed to Harvard, he breaks up with her so he can find somebody more appropriate.
A completely heartbroken Elle, decides that to win him back she must follow him to Harvard Law School and join him there to show him she can be who he needs, of course! She isn’t really interested in becoming a lawyer, but ends up studying hard in order to stay and with the help of the teaching assistant, discovers more about herself, as do we.
Theater Three’s production, directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, is full of laughter and energy. The set by Randall Parsons was simple, yet effective as it easily moved and changed to fit the scene. The costumes were varied. From simple white clothing for the Greek chorus, colorful outfits for Paulette and Brooke, to some beautiful dresses for Elle to wear, Costume Designer Su Jung Lee Weaver did a wonderful and a colorful job.
The orchestra, under the direction of Jeffrey Hoffman, provided the accompaniment to the songs which were not just musical interludes, but also told the story. The musicians did not overpower, but rather supported the singers which made the lyrics easy to understand.
Many of the musical numbers were high energy. From the opening number “Omigod You Guys,” acrobatics in “The Harvard Variations,” the use of jump ropes in “Whipped into Shape,” and great action in “Positive,” Choreographer Whitney Stone put her cast through a workout.
The chorus members were troopers. They sang well, added humor, and danced repeatedly with energy throughout the show. They sang while jump-roping with impressive endurance.
Brittany Lacey portrayed Elle Woods with an indomitable spirit. She was full of excitable energy, and had a terrific smile which she used to great effect along with some animated facial expressions. Her high singing voice fit her character very well, but when she sang the softer “Legally Blonde” the beauty of her voice shone.
Brett Chizever truly fit the part of Emmett Forrest, the unpolished teaching assistant. He had a sweet charm and reserved manner which made you like him immediately.
The proud boyfriend Warner was played with appropriate arrogance by Chris Brady. His performance added a tiny bit of pathos, so you could almost feel sorry for him when he dumps Elle. His new girlfriend Vivienne (Caitlin Nofi), displayed her arrogance so well you instantly disliked her, and Steve McCoy did a worthy interpretation of the pompous professor with his “I-am-so-important” attitude.
A highlight of the evening was the performance of Sari Feldman as Paulette the beautician. She was full of vim and vigor and had a tremendous singing voice, as shone in her big number “Ireland” and her hilarious “Bend and Snap’ when Kyle (Kyle Breitenbach) – the macho UPS driver/delivery man – appeared on the scene.
Elle Woods grows and changes during the course of the play, but so do most of the other main characters. As they learn and mature the audience is treated to high energy and amusement, lots of pink clothing and an adorable Chihuahua.
While the show is mostly lighthearted, the undercurrent of heart and perseverance shines through, and you find yourself caring for the characters, and having a great time rooting for Elle. Bring the entire family and think pink!
Running Time: Two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.