Legally Blonde Review

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Amidst the stressful winding down of the school year, the senior class’ production of Legally Blonde the Musical provided an entertaining break from studying with much needed comic relief. Although school plays tend to attract small audiences, the opening night of the musical was jam-packed with everyone from young children to elderly grandparents. The show surpassed expectations with its lively group numbers, comical surprises, and strong cast.

The performance of Legally Blonde took advantage of its sizable cast by creating extravagant group numbers. One of the best was “Omigod You Guys,” an energetic number which effectively introduced the protagonist, Elle Woods, as well as about twenty actresses who played Elle’s sorority sisters of Delta Nu.alia_knRKNcOsHM8E6mH7DYPJqPa0_DGuY-qVFXLmG0 Although one might think that a large ensemble would appear hectic on stage, their color-coordinated outfits and synchronized choreography made the group appear as a single unit, preventing the lead from being overshadowed. To add on the extravagance of the song, Dani Cohen ’15, who played Elle Woods, had a quick change on stage in less than seven seconds mid-song. The number certainly was eye-catching with nearly every shade of pink imaginable. The audience was left slightly desensitized to the bright colors after the song, but all-in-all, it was a well-executed performance. Another crowd favorite was “Whipped into Shape.” This number, although also a group number, was considerably different than the opening one. In contrast to the lavish nature of “Omigod You Guys,” “Whipped into Shape” took place in a jail where the leader of the number, Brooke, was sent after being accused of murdering her husband. In the scene, Brooke, played by Rachel Bochner ’15, is directing an exercise class filled with running, jogging, and even jump-roping. At first, the jump ropes appeared risky on stage, as having about ten actresses running around seemed sure to cause some form of a collision. However, the dancing in the scene was particularly well planned and executed, and the performance felt seamless. The actresses in the number made the choreography appear simple as they simultaneously exercised and sang in a four-minute song with few breaks. Even with less grand scenery as the opening number, “Whipped into Shape” made good use of creative choreography to retain the dazzling factor of other group numbers. Overall, the musical made good use of the large cast and was well organized as to avoid distractions from the main action on stage.

As well as flashy musical numbers, Legally Blonde had a variety of comedic surprises sprinkled into the plot that kept viewers entertained for the entirety of the performance. In one scene, for example, Paulette, played by Daniella Rodriguez ’15, meets and falls in love with a UPS man, played by Brian Leff ’15. 1NZz_bZt8wlQIcVj3Lwwrf02qxXGtt1O5zO9GijYZAkRodriguez’s portrayal of Paulette was spectacularly done, as she truly embodied the character and inserted comedy into minute details of her acting. Her Jersey accent was spot-on, and she had a special kind of stage presence that made the audience forget they were watching a school performance. Moreover, anyone who has heard the Broadway soundtrack recording of Legally Blonde the Musical knows that Rodriguez’s distinctive voice matched almost identically to the voice of the actress who played Paulette professionally. And although Leff only appeared on stage for a limited amount of time, he stole the show with his impressive portrayal of the flirtatious character. From sassy struts on and off stage to his breaking out into Irish step-dancing, all of his actions were done with confidence and attitude. Every appearance of Leff gained tremendous applause by kids and adults alike. Carolyn Zelicof ’15, who played Bruiser Woods, was also a favorite. As Bruiser, Zelicof crawled around the stage in a onesie-style dog costume, complete with floppy ears and a furry coat. She had multiple small appearances on stage, her actions as simple as barking received great amounts of support from the audience.

Strong acting from other actors, including Rodriguez, Cohen, and Andrew Pollack ’15, as Emmett, helped the audience to see beyond the showy dance numbers and personally connect to the characters. Rodriguez did a fantastic job singing in “Ireland,” a heartfelt song about a breakup with her character’s boyfriend of ten years. 0oe0z6ArwQRb-F9JMsaR0kXwCd5zIG1usJdIwHEyslQAs expected, the two leads, Cohen and Pollack, also had some of the best voices in the cast, and they did a remarkable job of portraying the friendship, and eventually chemistry, between Elle and Emmett. Cohen sang well in her songs, and the hard work she put into her character’s emotions was evident. From the beginning of the musical, she led her fellow castmates through the twists and turns of the plot and raised the bar for the actors who would appear later in the show. Pollack’s acting of Emmett tugged at the hearts of the audience, as he was able to turn the character into his own and bring the compassionate, kindhearted persona to life. The musical rightfully contained many relatively impersonal numbers, but it was Pollack’s sincere, from-the-heart acting that forced audiences to feel sympathetic for the characters and, in turn, consider the true message behind the show.

The senior class’ Legally Blonde the Musical was successful in large part due to its effective use of a 29 member ensemble and a careful casting of roles. Admittedly, the musical was not a professional production, but being a school musical, Legally Blonde exceeded expectations from students and other community members. A considerable amount of hours went into the making of the final performance, and the diligence of the cast was evident. Overall, the senior class did an exceptional job in Legally Blonde, and hopefully, the class of 2016 will be able to fill the big shoes left for them in the coming year.

By Emily Kopp