By Jordan Wright
In a frothy musical comedy from Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, an air head blonde makes good at Harvard for what becomes an inspiring tale for young women who sublimate their dreams to snag a man.
Elle Woods (the effervescent Morgan Arrivillaga) is the adorably peppy sorority president who gets dumped by her rich beau, Warner Huntington III, before he goes off to law school. Warner, whose old-line family have chosen a Kennedy-style future for him that doesn’t include Elle, is played convincingly by Brendan Quinn, which is no stretch for the suavely handsome actor.
Unfortunately for Malibu-bred Elle, she’s not in his league (NOCD – Not Our Class, Dear, as the upper crust say), or so he tells her: “My future’s all planned out. Time for me to get serious.” Elle, believing she can win him back, tells her parents she will follow him to Harvard Law, and, with a razzle-dazzle dance routine assisted by her Delta Nu sorority sisters, convinces the Approval Committee to grant her acceptance to the ivied halls – even though her degree is in fashion merchandising. (“Pink is my signature color,” she perkily pronounces.)
The 25-person cast is impressive, giving us a slew of Elle’s high-energy sorority sisters (who all look like they are out of Central Casting for cheerleaders), as well as her fellow Harvard students, most of whom snub the party princess. There’s Enid Hoops, the brainiac activist (Karen Kelleher); Vivienne Kensington, Warner’s snooty new girlfriend (Elizabeth Gillespie); and Emmett Forrest (the silken-voiced Kaylen Morgan), the handsome African-American student on scholarship who helps Elle get serious about studying rather than man-chasing.
The savvy Elle soon realizes that there is more to life than pom-poms and Warner and
shows Emmett she’ll get down to business. She plans to nab a prestigious law internship with the prickly Professor Callahan (Sean Cox). Meanwhile, she meets Paulette (played hilariously by the very talented Katherine Lipovsky), owner of the Hair Affair who commiserates with Elle over their lost loves. Elle teaches Paulette how to get a man with the “Bend and Snap,” a bend-at-the-waist-stick-out-your-fanny move that’s one of over 23 lively musical numbers.
One of the funnier moments is when Paulette falls for the UPS guy (the hunky Sean
Garcia) and she puts her newfound skill to good use.
Director Hans Bachmann (who doubles as Elle’s Dad) has assembled a fine cast of actors, singers and dancers to pull off this stage-filled romp and Stefan Sittig delights with complex choreography, managing lively dance and cheerleading routines that often
demand the entire cast to be on LTA’s challengingly small stage at once. Numerous set changes are smoothly accomplished thanks to Set Designer Dan Remmers and crew, while Orchestra Director Christopher A. Tomasino’s 14-piece band keeps the party rocking.
“Legally Blonde” is a fun and bubbly musical comedy that aims to beat the summer heat.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Brendan Quinn was student at Harvard Law. Quinn doesn’t attend Harvard Law. The Times regrets this error.