Legally Blonde the Musical is a Teaching Moment

Originally Posted on The University News via UWIRE

In 2001, the world was graced with Reese Witherspoon playing the typical, but surprising blonde, Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.” Once the movie skyrocketed to popularity, it was only soon after it would be turned into a Broadway hit.

 

The Stifel Theatre hosted “Legally Blonde the Musical” for a one night event on Feb. 4. The crowd filled with young girls and their mothers, all dressed in their pink and ready to teach the younger girls that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

 

If you are not familiar with the story, it follows a girl named Elle Woods, the typical blonde, sorority, Malibu girl who is expecting her boyfriend, Warner, to propose. A twist in her master plan happens as her boyfriend breaks up with her instead and Elle ends up following him to Harvard law school to win him back. Along the way Elle slowly learns that following a boy for love is not what she needs to be doing. Instead, she needs to work on actually applying herself to her school work to prove to her now ex-boyfriend that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to. She has help along the way from the local beautician, her TA, her sorority sisters and, of course, her trusty dog, Brouster.

 

The musical itself followed closely to the motion picture, but of course with much more singing and dancing. Some major differences, however, include Elle going all the way to Harvard to give her personal statement in a huge dance scene, Paulette dreaming of marrying a guy from Ireland and Brooke’s workout empire being built upon jump rope that is shown as a murder weapon in the video.

 

The story and songs were light hearted and silly for the most part, with a couple serious solos mixed into the arrangement. The goofy humor and fun attitudes made this almost cheesy musical enjoyable. It was overall a family-friendly event, except for a few mentions of sex that I saw some mothers and the few fathers there physically shutter at for a slight moment, wishing their younger daughters did not hear the words that were stated by the actors.

 

Maris McCulley who played Elle Woods put on an amazing animated show, her resemblance to Reese Witherspoon also being a bit uncanny, making the viewer feel like they  were watching the movie. Her voice was on par and she perfectly expressed the difficulties of Elle Wood’s character dynamic. Her dancing would sometimes fall a bit short compared to the ensemble, but her performance made the audience feel for her character.

 

Woody Minshew, who took on the role of Emmet Forest, the TA who helps Elle and slowly falls in love with her, also did a fantastic job. His acting really made the audience feel empathy for his character and continually root for him throughout the musical. His voice really shown through on the song, “Legally Blonde,” where he sings about missing his chance to be with Elle Woods, the person he believes to be the best girl out there.

 

The last person I wanted to highlight is Jill Taylor Anthony who played Paulette Bonafonte, the beautician that Elle Woods befriends. Anthony made the show in my opinion. Her dynamic character and the ability to get the whole audience to laugh with one gesture made her a crowd favorite. Also, her accent of a true Bostonian made the midwesterners in the audience intrigued, due to how harsh it sounded on the ears. She is not only a good actor, but a good dancer and singer as well, captivating the audience anytime she was on stage.

 

The musical took some of the best moments from the movie, like the famous bend and snap and animated them to new levels. I believe this show was a fun experience that also brought serious issues to the limelight and handled these complicated issues with grace. I think it showed the young girls in the audience major character development and that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Read more here: https://unewsonline.com/2019/02/07/legally-blonde-the-musical-is-a-teaching-moment/
Copyright 2019 The University News