I have seen Legally Blonde: The Musical approximately 4,372 times as it was filmed for MTV when it was on Broadway. Okay, this may be a slight exaggeration, but we know how all things filmed for TV end up on the internet in some form or fashion, meaning I can watch it pretty much whenever I’d like. I also saw Legally Blonde: The Musical when it was on tour in Nashville. And as the original Broadway Elle, Laura Bell Bundy, was living in Nashville at the time, she stepped back into her role as Elle for the week while it was in town.As much of a fluff piece as Legally Blonde: The Musical can be, I love the whole thing. The music is catchy and hilarious. The story is one that even a brunette can relate to. And sometimes theatre is just made to entertain. I can often be found sharing lyrics and quotes from the show with a few friends on twitter and facebook.
When I found out that The Larry Keeton Theatre was producing Legally Blonde: The Musical, I knew I’d be making a trip to Nashville to see the show. I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years (I love keeping in touch via social media) and on Friday night, I was in the audience to see the pink wonderfulness that is Elle Woods.
Based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde follows main character Elle Woods in her quest to win her true love. A Southern California sorority girl that measures life in fashion and fun, Elle is unprepared when her big man on campus boyfriend Warner dumps her when he heads off to Harvard Law School. Along the way Elle discovers that she’s more than a sorority girl and makes some fantastic friends along the way.
The mood is set immediately at the Keeton Theatre by the pink carpet in front of the building that leads up to the pink carpet covered stairs. Taylor Tracey’s Elle Woods is full of sass and spark, giving life to what could be a very flat character. In fact, there were some times that Tracey was channeling Laura Bell Bundy’s performance so hard that I forgot that I wasn’t watching the Broadway version. Other times, she made the character so distinctly her own that it was almost like seeing a completely different show. Together it worked well.
Darin Richardson played Warner with enough attitude and arrogance that the audience could truly dislike the character while having pity for a human that could be so shallow. Britt Byrd played Vivienne, fellow Harvard student and completion to Elle’s quest to win back Warner. Byrd gave a strong performance and was able to play to the softer side of Vivienne’s character very well.
I must give props (or in the case of the Delta Nu sisters, “snaps”), to Sims Lamason, playing Brooke Wyndham, and the ensemble cast for their fantastic jump rope scene during the “Whipped Into Shape” number. And the fact that Lamason can sing AND jump rope at the same time is amazing. I can barely jump rope without singing. Lamason’s performance of Brooke Wyndham was pretty hilarious, and also reminded me very much of the OBC performance of the same character played by Nikki Snelson. It works and was quite hilarious.
Stephen Michael Jones played Elle’s biggest support, Emmett. While he might have been a bit young to take on the role, he was by far one of the best on the stage. I suppose that in my head Emmett is slightly older. That aside, he was perfect for the role. Jones was great vocally, and was able to pull off the balance of awkwardness and strength that Emmett portrays. His diversity showed through most during his "Chip On My Shoulder" number in the first act, pulling in comedy, sarcasm, and determination.
For me, there were a couple of standouts aside from Taylor Tracey. Jaime London, who played beauty parlor owner Paulette was one. The character has always been one of my favorite in the show (if I could act/sing/dance, I’d want to take on that role SO badly), so I paid special attention to her throughout the show. London was hilarious. Period. Her take on the quirky, Ireland loving hairdresser was unique and wonderful. The other was Jennifer Tatum, who played Elle’s man-hating lesbian classmate, Enid. Tatum could blend in seamlessly onstage, but when it time for Enid to speak, I knew she was on stage.
Some of the best ensemble numbers, showcasing the talent of the entire cast, were "Positive" and "Gay or European," both of which are comically hilarious and the kinds of songs that get stuck in your head for days. In fact, I woke up with "Positive" running through my head.
The show is directed by Kate Adams, with musical direction by Ginger Newman. This production of Legally Blonde: The Musical is great for a girls’ night out, or just for a light and fun evening with the family. You can see the show at The Larry Keeton Theatre through September 29th. You can purchase tickets HERE. My advice: don’t miss this one. It’s too much fun to let it slip by.