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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
Broadway
Palace Theatre
United States
New York City
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Legally Blonde, The Musical, at the Palace Theatre

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 2, 2007
Palace Theatre
1564 Broadway at 47th Street
New York, NY
New York, NY 10036
(212) 730-8200
About the Author:


Legally Blonde, The Musical
(Legally Blonde Website)

Based on the Novel by Amanda Brown
And the MGM Motion Picture

Music and Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Directed and Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell

Starring: Laura Bell Bundy
Christian Borle, Orfeh
Richard H. Blake, Kate Shindle, Nikki Snelson
Michael Rupert, and Ensemble
Plus Chico and Chloe, Both Dogs

At
Palace Theatre
Broadway and 47th Street
NY, NY
212.307.4100

Produced for Fox Theatricals by Kristin Caskey and Mike Isaacson
Scenic Design: David Rockwell
Costume Design: Greg Barnes
Lighting Design: Ken Posner & Paul Miller
Sound Design: Acme Sound Partners
Casting: Telsey + Company
Hair Design: David Brian Brown
Associate Director: Marc Bruni
Associate Choreographer: Denis Jones
Technical Supervisor: Smitty/Theatersmith, Inc.
Animal Trainer: William Berloni
Production Stage Manager: Bonnie L. Becker
General Management: NLA/Maggie Brown
Press: Barlow*Hartman
Marketing: TMG – The Marketing Group
Associate Producers: PMC Productions, Yasuhiro Kawana,
Andrew Asnes/Adam Zotovich
Music Director/Conductor: James Sampliner
Orchestrations: Christopher Jahnke
Arrangements: Laurence O'Keefe & James Sampliner
Music Contractor: Michael Keller
Legally Blonde, The Musical, exceeded my expectations with its persistent dynamism, feel-good optimism, melodic songs, engaging theme, outsized humor, and charismatic choreography. After all, Jerry Mitchell put the dance into La Cage aux Folles, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Never Gonna Dance, and, in this production, he doubles as Director, too. Thus, the quick pace, with Step Dance, Tap Dance, Hip-Hop, Jazzercise, and more. Scenes and sets change with the whip of the baton, and the décor ranges from Barbie-esque to Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Ivy League Mahogany to Courtroom Cherry, depending on the moment. Heather Hach's book brings us from UCLA to Harvard Law, but that's where the academics end.

Laura Bell Bundy, as Elle Woods, is perfectly cast, with that perky persona that gets her through the toughest times. This UCLA grad pursues Warner Huntington III, her soon-to-be Ivy guy, so she crams for Harvard Law, shows up in pink, befriends a Cambridge hairdresser, competes with Warner's classy broad, seduces a self-made success, catches the eye of the Prof. with connections, and solves a crime in her spare time. And, all of this with her Greek Chorus, cum cheerleaders, cum inspirational gals. Ms. Bundy can sing, dance, act, and entertain, all tirelessly and triumphantly. Jerry Mitchell keeps the pace furious and split-timed, and David Rockwell's versatile, life-like, out-sized sets are worthy of awards, whether in pinks and purples or browns and navy.

Richard Blake, as the arrogant, self-involved Warner, carries the role with slick presence. Kate Shingle, as Warner's "classy broad" exudes Jackie Kennedy's brunette, classic look, but with the edge that cuts feelings, a suitable match for Warner. Christian Borle, as Emmett, the corduroy lover, with character and charm, is transformed to tweed and silk, in one hilarious, men's clothing department scene. Michael Rupert, as Callahan, the bespectacled law professor, sings to his students of "Blood in the Water", the object of lawyerly desire. Rupert seems every bit the attorney, in clothing, stance, and tone. Orfeh, as Paulette, the working-class hairdresser, with the South Boston accent, has some of the funniest lines. When she and the ensemble invoke Irish step dance, sunsets abound and dreams come true, right in the center of her salon. Also in the center of the salon arrives Andy Karl, as Kyle, the hunk of a UPS guy, in khaki shorts and flexed muscles, one of Paulette's dreams come true. Her nightmare come true is the trailer tough, who finally takes a hike.

A sub-plot involves a murder, a shower, a perm, and another blonde, Brooke Wyndham, as Nikki Snelson, street-sense gal, whose fate depends on the sexual preference of her "boyfriend", thus the song, "Is he gay or European?" Another sub-plot develops between the connected Callahan and the liberties that elude him (à la Elle). Back to the choreography and songs (music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, orchestra conducted by James Sampliner), highlights include "Whipped into Shape", for female prisoners and whips, and "Bend and Snap", a jazzercise move, sure to catch the eye of the guy. Also memorable are "Chip on My Shoulder" (in Harvard Yard) and "Take It Like a Man" (in the Hansen-Harkness Department Store). The orchestra is flawless, and they're even called on for soft jazz, with cool, Harvard cocktails, as well as tap jazz, for Elle in high boots. Gregg Barnes' costumes vary from shocking pink dresses to herringbone suits, and David Brian Brown's wigs really matter, with the hair salon scenes. Chloe and Chico, as two well-trained dogs, deserve their own award for cute and campy. Don't miss this adorable musical. It truly entertains.
Christian Borle

Christian Borle

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Christian Borle and Laura Bell Bundy

Christian Borle and Laura Bell Bundy

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus


Laura Bell Bundy and Chrisitian Borle

Laura Bell Bundy and Chrisitian Borle

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Laura Bell Bundy

Laura Bell Bundy

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus


Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus


Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus


Laura Bell Bundy

Laura Bell Bundy

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods

Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Orfeh and Cast

Orfeh and Cast

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Orfeh and Laura Bell Bundy

Orfeh and Laura Bell Bundy

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik


Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Laura Bell Bundy and Cast

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus


Laura Bell Bundy, Orfeh, and Andy Karl

Laura Bell Bundy, Orfeh, and Andy Karl

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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