Susan Granger’s review of “Legally Blonde, The Musical” (Summer Theatre of New Canaan)
Omigod! They’ve done it again! The Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s production of “Legally Blonde, The Musical” is better than Broadway!
Omigod, you guys! I saw this gleeful show when opened in Manhattan in 2007 – and director Allegra Libonati has not only assembled a stellar, multicultural cast and staged a perfectly-paced production but Doug Shankman’s inventive choreography has elevated the energetic chorus numbers to stand-up-and-cheer level.
Based on Amanda Brown’s novel and Reese Witherspoon’s movie (2001), it’s all about Delta Nu president Elle Woods’ empowering quest to win back her smug, social-climbing ex-boyfriend – who wants a “Jackie,” not a “Marilyn” – by getting into Harvard Law School.
The rousing opening number, “Omigod, You Guys,” performed by the spunky, talented ensemble, sets the stage for the frothy fun of Heather Hach’s playful book, enhanced by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin’s peppy, light-hearted melodies.
Kara Dombrowski sparkles as the smart ‘n saucy UCLA sorority girl with a Chihuahua named Bruiser and a penchant for Pepto-Bismol pink. While Ivy League snobs view Elle as not serious enough for Harvard, her resourcefulness impresses Emmett (Matthew Christian), the scruffy teaching assistant.
Elle’s spirited sorority sisters form an amusing Greek Chorus, appearing at her side as she faces various dilemmas, but the real highlights come from Jodi Stevens as Paulette, the warmly humorous hairdresser, and Stephen Hope as predatory Professor Callahan. Jodi Stevens shows her versatility, commanding the stage with hilarious timing, while Stephen Hope’s sly mannerisms are masterful.
Let’s not forget Brooke Wyndham’s exuberant skip-rope “Whipped into Shape” number and the scene-stealing UPS guy (Maxwell Schuster).
Julia Noulin-Merat’s sturdy two-tiered set is multi-functional, while Lauren Gaston’s costumes are fanciful, enriched by Daniel B. Chapman’s lighting.
Filled with vitality and joyous from start-to-finish, this show celebrates its bubbly ridiculousness with perceptive wit. Like “Hairspray,” it’s a feel-good family fare.