Thursday, November 12, 2009

Broward Center: Legally Blonde (4- 1/2 Reviews)

Legally Blonde the MusicalThe national tour of Legally Blond the Musical opened at the Broward Center for a two week run on November 10, 2009.
The hilarious MGM film is Broadway's new smash hit musical, and now LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL is coming to you. When her boyfriend dumps her for someone more "serious," Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
Jerry Mitchell choreographed a cast that includes Becky Gulsvig, D. B. Bonds, Natalie Joy Johnson, Ken Land, Jeff MacLean, Megan Lewis, Coleen Sexton, Tiffany Engen, Rhiannon Hansen, Lucia Spina, Candice Marie Woods, Barry Anderson, Sara Andreas, Kyle Brown, Nick Dalton, Ven Daniel, Brook Leigh Engen, Spencer Howard, Paul Jackel, Ashley Moniz, Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone, Brian Patrick Murphy, Cjay Hardy Philip, Alex Puette, Jonathon Rayson, Constantine Rousouli, Sara Sheperd, and J.B. Wing.

John LaRiviere reviewed for Talkin' Broadway:
From the opening song, "Omigod You Guys," it is clear that great energy and fun is to be found in this show, and it would be hard not to find yourself smiling through most of it.
Becky Gulsvig is perky and likeable as Elle.
D.B. Bonds is the perfect Emmett. He is warm and funny and cute. Ken Land is a bit disappointing as Professor Callahan. He seems not up to the task of making the most of "Blood In the Water" which is an incredibly good character song. Natalie Joy Johnson is charming as Paulette. She adds great vulnerability and silliness to her comedic ability. Sara Sheperd is a bit off visually as Vivienne, as she appears too plain and dowdy for the role, but her acting is strong and convincing. The show is laced throughout with delightful ensemble moments, such as those by Elle's sorority sisters, and well-done cameos such as a sexy Coleen Sexton as Brooke Wyndham.
Matthew David Glass reviewed for the South Florida Blade:
Don’t expect any death scenes, deep philosophical arguments or moments of profundity. Do expect a high-energy, over-the-top and fun piece of musical theatre that reaches out to all audiences, old and young alike…with a lot of pink.
Becky Gulsvig as Elle Woods is someone to watch. She plays Elle with, sass, grade-A comic timing and dignity...
Other highlights of the evening include Elle’s new salon owner friend Paulette, played by Natalie Joy Johnson, who steals many a scene with her dumpy physicality and campy Bostonian accent.
Paulette’s dream man appears as Kyle (Ven Daniel) a humpy UPS man who shows up one day in her salon to deliver a large “package.”... He is built like an Adonis... along with his physical good looks and ripped body, he can dance, sing and act too. Let’s suffice it to say, we are very glad he is back in South Florida.
Jerry Mitchell’s direction and choreography keep the energy up and never lets the story lag. Composer and Lyricists Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin provide us with a high voltage, upbeat and quirky score that keeps the pacing of the show right on track.
If you are craving Hamlet or Crime and Punishment don’t go see this show. It is true, in this case anyway, that Blondes have more fun.
Anthony Jones reviewed for EDGE Magazine:
The sense of déjà vu is an alarming trend on Broadway, but the musical numbers are where Legally Blonde: The Musical shine.
There are real moments of inspired brilliance that almost recall a different musical, like the courtroom is he gay-or-European sequence "There! Right There," a clear audience favorite and a highlight of the show, which actually seemed to pick up steam in the final act.
What brought it all together is the cast. Each sorority sister of Delta Nu Nu Nu was as memorable and strong as Becky Gulsvig’s sugary sweet Elle Woods. Each character was dreamed up as a scene-stealer, from the gorgeous and fiery Brooke Wyndham, played by Colleen Sexton, to Serena, Margot, and Pilar, who became Elle’s Greek Chorus for the show, another inspired bit.
...the show brought enough dazzle and charm to make this not-for-cynics underdog story pop. But audiences would be hard-pressed to be disappointed. If some of the performances don’t make you smile, then cameos from Woods’ chihuahua surely will.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
How much you enjoy Legally Blonde the Musical -- and loads of people do -- will probably depend on your tolerance for things kitschy and adorable.
The musical's creators -- composer-lyricists Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, script writer Heather Hach and director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell -- tried to infuse the stage version with the movie's quirky comedy while making room for razzle-dazzle musical numbers. But too many moments in Legally Blonde the Musical are more goofy than genuine.
The touring cast is just fine. Gulsvig brings a radiant confidence to Elle, belting when she needs to, finding poignant near-defeat in the show's title song. D.B. Bonds is a knight in rumpled armor as Elle's mentor-turned-beau Emmett. Jeff McLean is (quite properly) a self-adoring jerk as Warner, the guy who does Elle wrong, and understudy Sara Sheperd brings just the right amount of witchiness to the role of his new squeeze Vivienne. Johnson is a scene-stealing Paulette, Ven Daniel* a mass of moving muscle as her hunky UPS guy crush, and Ken Land a professor Callahan who underscores everything lawyer-haters believe about attorneys.
Legally Blonde the Musical looks tired, as if Elle's oft-repeated journey from Malibu to Harvard has worn away at the show and its charms, rendering it a pale pink imitation of its far more enjoyable source.
*Editor's note: Ven Daniel appeared in the Actors' Playhouse production of AltarBoyz awhile back.

Beau Higgins reviewed poo-pooed it for BroadwayWorld:
This musical version of the popular Reese Witherspoon film is pure pink bubblegum. Unfortunately, the gum never pops.
OK, we can gather he didn't like it. Fair enough.
In a season seemingly filled with gems at the Broward Center, this show is tarnished and it will have difficulty holding anyone's attention for very long.
Care to explain that, Beau? What was tarnished? Why did it "have difficulty" holding people's attention?
'Legally Blonde The Musical' has its best chance of entertaining females of a certain age and sorority sisters. I warn you ladies, enter this world of pink bubblegum at your own risk.
Did it fail because of the writing, the music, the performances? Why does it only have a "best chance" of reaching twenty-something females? This really isn't much of a review, is it? You've told us nothing beyond "I didn't like it."

But at least you used full sentences to do it.

The Sun Sentinel sent out Rod Stafford Hagwood, who inflicts yet another poorly written...thing...on the theatre community;
The first act is pink, but the second act is pinktabulous.
You know what? F*** it. Hagwood's condescending collection of sentence fragments won't tell you anything useful. Just go see it, if it remotely interests you.

Legally Blonde The Musical plays at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts through November 22, 2009.

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