Friday, May 4, 2007

Legally Blonde

I came out wanting to dance, or at least sashay, my way though the theatre district. I woke up feeling the same way. This go-girl musical is frothy and fun from beginning to end. I loved it.
I had enjoyed the movie, but the musical is even better because it’s live and soooo High Energy. I couldn’t always understand the lyrics, but the message was loud and clear. After seeing the show I felt ready to shop -- and conquer the world in my spare time
“Legally Blonde” is the funniest show I’ve seen in a long, long time. The situation, of course, is great -- a ditzy Malibu blonde whose boyfriend dumps her because she’s not serious enough. Vowing to get him back, she applies to Harvard Law School so she can be near him, even though her father tells her “law school is for boring, ugly people.” I loved the stuffy Harvard admissions board’s consideration of her application, with her 4.0 -- in fashion merchandising! -- a letter of recommendation from Oprah and a glossy color head shot; she’s the only applicant to send one. “Is that the face of Harvard Law,” a board member asks. They reluctantly decide to admit her under the umbrella of “multiculturalism.”
The visual gags are great, such as when Elle shows up for her first class in a fuchsia tank top emblazoned with Harvard in rhinestones. Her sorority sisters are a blast throughout, popping up as a Greek chorus, in the style of a 1960s girl group, to sing/comment on the action and empower Elle.
At first I missed Reese Witherspoon because she was so great in the film, but it didn’t take long for Laura Bell Bundy to win me over. She embodies Elle’s sensibilities; she’s delightful in pink sweats -- “pink is my signature color” -- conveying Elle’s logic with complete seriousness, including her deadpan horror at “someone who wears black when no one’s dead.”
And can she dance! She’s the star of Jerry Mitchell’s energized choreography, and she really owns her space, Elle-style, when she sings. I was high at intermission after her act one curtain closer, “So Much Better.” I was ready to head out and conquer the world too, not that anything short of a fire would have gotten me out of the theatre early. That spirit was capped beautifully at the end with the empowering “Find My Way.”
In the language of Elle and her sisters, “omigod you guys,” you have just got to see this show!

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