Oh my god, oh my god, you guys! It’s Elle Woods and friends in a musical! You know the story: Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy because she’s a “Marilyn, not a Jackie.” Girl gets into Harvard Law to try to win that arrogant old douchebag back, and finds out in the process that she’s good enough just the way she is. It’s a tale as old as time. Let’s sing about it! It’s Legally Blonde: The Musical!
Playing at Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, now through August 1st, Legally Blonde: The Musical is campy fun. Or, as the theater manager good-naturedly put it prior to the show, it’s “mindless fluff. Amirite?” In a set doused with pink and good humor, Katie McConaughy entertainingly renders the love-sickness of our frothy, good-hearted hero, Elle Woods, with just the right amount of squeak in her voice. Angelica Roque (with her broad singing capacity) stands out as Paulette, Elle’s Ireland-and-man-obsessed hairdresser friend. Lauren Blair, who plays Brooke Wyndham, the allegedly-murderous fitness video magnate, puts on an amazing showing of both her talent and her lung capacity. She belts out an energetic jailhouse performance while jumping rope! Brandon Stanford brings the spine of wussy nice guy Emmett strong and straight through the course of the play.
And while the main players are fantastic, it’s the overall ensemble that really brings the comedic energy to this confection of a musical. The entire cast exhibited a winking self-awareness to the campy script that made it more fun for the audience to be in on the joke. Several members of Elle’s sorority, Delta Nu, make up a “Greek” chorus, doling out bottomless–and hilarious–sisterly support for Elle. Hunky UPS delivery man Kyle (Steven Weber) sends up the beefcake stereotype with a cheek-clenching take. And two non-human actors, playing Elle’s dog Bruiser and Paulette’s dog Roscoe, steal the show with their brief and adorable on-stage appearances.
The songs are catchy, high-energy, and fun. The best ones are the ensemble pieces, like the opener, “Oh My God You Guys” and the is-he-or-isn’t he romp, “Gay or European?” And of course, “Bend, and Snap!” gets the high-camp treatment here. But one of the best moments is when the entire ensemble breaks into a triumphant Riverdance (thanks to choreographer Lauren Blair, who did an amazing job with the dance pieces–who knew a dance move could make you laugh that hard?).
On opening night (June 27th), the house was packed at Morgan-Wixson Theatre. Based on the raucously good time the audience was having, I expect that the same will be true throughout this summer’s run of Legally Blonde: The Musical. Oh my god, oh my god you guys! You should go see it! Legally Blonde: The Musical is the perfect choice for fun summer theater.
Legally Blonde: The Musical. Directed by Anne Gesling. June 27th through August 1, 2015. Morgan Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Reserved seats start at $25 (www.morgan-wixson theatre.org or 310-828-7519).
Kari Tervo enjoys pop culture as a universal language. Sorry, Esperanto and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: Bieber wins. She’s not sure if she’s supposed to be writing about herself in the first or third person right now, so she’s going to act like someone does this kind of work for her. Why ruin the mystique?
Kari reviews zines for Pop Culture Beast in her regular column, Blog Zine. She also provides pop culture opinion and analysis about whatever she gets the urge to write about.