Legally Blonde, The Musical based on the Reese Witherspoon mega hit film Legally Blonde (2001) opened this week at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis. The fun, frolicking romp is seen through the eyes of UCLA sorority girl, Elle Woods, dumped by her social-climbing boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. The story changes location as does Elle's priorities when she enrolls in Harvard Law School to win him back.
Always a difficult task to take a movie, particularly one as popular as this one, and put it on a live stage. B&B utilized set designer extraordinaire Michael Layton to, once again, perform his layout magic. Layton's revolving set whisks us from courtroom to murder scene to beauty salon with ease.
The Not so Dumb Blonde portrayed by Maggie Taylor, finds her own identity during her quest to be "a Jackie, not a Marilyn," for Warner, played by Chad Brosky. Taylor brings the necessary high energy to the part, giving the young members of the audience exactly what they want from their favourite blonde. Brosky, who has appeared on television, stage and film, turns in a solid acting and vocal performance as wishy-washy Huntington.
Other love interest, Emmett Forrest, portrayed by Dominic Sheehan-Stahl, plays the odd-man on campus winning Elle's affection.
It's simple to watch the main characters, bypassing side and supporting roles in all the glitz of this fast-paced show. I implore you, however, to look to the right and left of the main stage for this one.
Stepping into the Gotta Go Spotlight are two ladies portraying polar opposite characters: unpolished, with low self-esteem, beauty salon owner, Paulette Bonafonte, and perfectly refined and confident law student (and Warner's new love) Vivienne Kensington.
Bonafonte is portrayed by Annie Edgerton with the smoothness of a professional with years of rolling with whatever comes her way during live theater performances. It is not difficult to understand how Edgerton is able to snatch the attention again and again -- a task accomplished even during the stage-crowded "Bend and Snap" number.
Throughout the high-energy, well-choreographed production, a lone figure stands composed, drawing attention by her sheer serenity. Erin Wegner Brooks, as Vivienne Kensington, is afforded too few lines, too little stage time and too few songs to showcase her extreme vocal and acting talent. Her calmness in the bustle on stage throughout the performance emphasizes her strong, unwavering abilities. As the beacon in a storm, Brooks gives a clear, subtle performance deserving of all the applause available by the sold-out crowd.
Judah Garva and Jeremy Sarlin bring the roles of gay couple Nikos and Carlos to an all-time high with their over-the-top portrayal in the courtroom scene.
One of my Destination Actors, Mark Goetzinger (Hello Dolly), completely nails the role of conniving, egotistical Professor Callahan. A few minutes more on stage and rotten tomatoes would most definitely have been tossed at the cad.
Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Legally Blonde, The Musical brings talent and energy to the tale of everyone's favourite girl in pink.
For tickets, shows and details, visit BeefandBoards.com
Images by JulieCurryPhotography.com
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.