OMG! OMG! Silhouette Stages’ Legally Blonde is a blast!
The closed curtains on the stage at Slayton House Theater gave no clue as to what dynamic show the highly regarded Silhouette Stage’s would be doing this time.
Well, maybe offering an autographed poster of actress Reese Witherspoon at the Silent Auction in the lobby was a hint.
After the usual announcements were comically read over the speakers, the volunteer ushers shut the doors tightly, leaving the audience in the dark. Suddenly, the show jumped to life as several vibrant female cast members burst through the door as a full, shrieking Valley Girl-voiced chorus and joined their Delta Nu sisters onstage.
Also joining them is Bruiser (Biscuit Boo Bradbury), a Teacup Chihuahua.
Legally Blonde: The Musical, directed by TJ Lukacsina, assisted by Christopher Kabara and Co-Music Directors Nathan C. Scavilla and Michael Wolfe, was going full throttle from the opening note – and didn’t slow down. The show, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and the book by Heather Hach, was based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture.
At the center of the show – and she’s hard to miss – is the lithe, svelte, very blonde Lindsey Landry with a voice that’s three times the size of her body. She makes “Bend and Snap” – a not so subtle way to check if your “gaydar” is tuned up – appear fluid, elegant and easy. She’s more bubbly than a bottle of Moet, more upbeat than a Beatles cover band.
The show is set around the campuses of UCLA in California and, later, in and around Harvard Law School in Massachusetts.
Elle Woods (Lindsey Landry) is the popular, beloved president of Delta Nu Sorority. She believes her longtime boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Stephen Foreman) will propose marriage to her that evening.
Most of the show’s majority female cast is in full “Omigod You Guys” mode as an excited Elle scrambles to find the perfect dress for the golden proposal moment. In a dress shop, as a Fashion Merchandising major with a 4.0 GPA, Elle skillfully rejects one dress presented as having “just arrived” as being an item from the previous year that she spied in an issue of Vogue Magazine.
“I don’t want to pay this year’s prices for last year’s dress,” she huffs.
Another frock is handed to her and, with a stunning sleight of hand and a quick spin, Elle says yes to The Dress.
The Dress – and all the costumes by Costume Designer Andrew Malone – are perfect for the moment. Choreographer Rikki Lacewell keeps the upbeat action flowing with an exuberant, energized dance number more reminiscent of Rockettes in jeans than Dancing with the Stars.
Cheered on by her sorority sisters, Elle dances to greet Warner at a romantic restaurant.
The swift swiveling of the sets and rapid movement of props on and offstage throughout this scene and the show are a credit to Lukacsina, doing double duty as the Set Designer, aided by Props Mistress Ande Kolp, and Choreographer Lacewell.
Warner has a proposal all right. The young man is planning a political future and desires a “serious” spouse to present to voters. Raised in an elite Trump-style environment, as Warner prepares a departure to get a law degree from Harvard Law School, he’s decided Elle is not that person. She doesn’t meet his standards. He sings “Serious,” as he seriously breaks up with her.
Elle is devastated. And, decides she wants to go to Harvard to convince him to marry her.
Her parents (Brett Roher) and Lauren Tobiason) are aghast. “You could have a film career out here,” her father protests. “There’s no movie studio there and the girls all have different noses.” But, they relent, joining her in singing “What You Want” as she catapults through the admission process, including presenting a dance number instead of a personal essay.
Her law school instructor and law firm owner, the authoritarian, judgmental Professor Callahan (Ryan Geiger) is menacing, bombastic and a bully. He is quick to dismiss Elle from class for the slightest transgression.
A classmate, the golden voiced Emmett Forrest (Matt Wetzel), realizes Elle needs encouragement and helps her focus on her studies and stay “Positive.”
In turn, Elle thinks his wardrobe could use some fine tuning.
During one of the interactions with the playgoers, the audience approves LOUDLY of Emmett’s new look.
Her first days on campus, Elle In an awkward scene, Elle discovers the weasely Warner has a new girlfriend, the chilly Vivienne Kensington (Allison Bradbury), who possesses a knockout voice in “There! Right There!” and “Legally Blonde: Remix.”
Ellemeets her new BFF, Paulette Buonufonte (Michele D.Vicino-Coleman), a salon owner with a broken heart who pines for her dog Rufus (Olive Anne Landry) and has a thing for Irish men. She raises the roof with her hilarious “Bend and Snap.”
One of the professor’s clients is a female Richard Simmons who’s built an empire on the sales of a jump rope that’s supposed to slim and trim the user through exercise. Brooke Wyndham (Summer Hill) is accused of murdering her husband and poolboy Nikos (Mikey Nugent) claims he’s her lover. Professor Callahan assembles a team of five – Elle, Warner, Vivienn, Emmett, and Enid (played by Parker Bailey Steven).– to help free the client.
And, the frolicsome hysteria continues into the Second Act.
From Legally Blonde’s first scene it’s evident Director Lukacsina selected a cast overflowing with acting chops, dance moves and vocal talent – and reflective of the diversity, including height and body type, that is today’s norm. Kudos for not filling the cast with runway models.
Silhouette Stages’ Legally Blonde The Musical is filled with showstoppers and is a ‘must-see’ for its fun storyline, fast pacing, beautiful performances, and positive messages.
Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission.
There is a fun silent auction in a side lobby to enjoy at intermission.
Legaly Blonde The Musical plays through May 28, 2017, at Slhouette Stages at the Slayton House – in Wilde Lake Village Center – 10400 Cross Fox Lane, in Columbia, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (410) 637-5289, or purchase them online.