Last Wednesday I went to see "Legally Blonde", the newest addition to the Broadway Playbill list. The show started previews last Tuesday, and opens later this month. The show is directed by Jerry Mitchell of Broadway Choreographer fame, and stars Laura Bell Bundy who you may remember from the original cast of "Hairspray".
So, you've seen the movie. And you know the story. I was admittedly a little nervous about how the show was going to translate. But Omigod you guys, I loved it!
So it opens at the sorority house with the number "Omigod!" I promise you - you will leave the theater singing this song. It takes us right into the story. Elle and her sisters get excited because she thinks she is getting proposed to when in reality she is getting broken up with. She follows her boyfriend to Harvard where she doesn't fit in, but she starts to realize that she actually has a bunch of potential when mentored by the hot T.A. And then of corse she is assigned to work on a case for a sorority sister that she is eventually but fully in charge of and wins, thrusting her into the spotlight as a law school star after being hit on my her creepy professor. There aren't any new tricks up the writers sleeves. There ARE however some fabulously hilarious new jokes and musical numbers!
For example, you don't miss the line about "last season's Prada shoes" when the courtroom breaks out into "Is he gay? Or European?!", without a doubt the funniest number in the show. The character Brooke Windam is far more interesting in the stage version, when we are introduced to her character at the start of Act II as if we were watching her workout video - insert hot sweaty muscle-bound jump-roping chorus boys here!
"Legally Blonde" has all the makings of a Broadway smash: huge production numbers, catchy tunes, and a beautiful and talented cast.
The star of the show is Laura Bell Bundy, and not just because she is the main character. The second she appears you are immediately on her side. She carries the same lovable charisma on stage as I've only seen very few actresses muster, and puts her in a whole other class of Broadway performers with the likes of Sutton Foster and Kristin Chenoweth. You can't help but grin ear-to-ear when she is onstage.
The most impressive thing to me was the amount of emotional payoff Bundy was able to create. Elle Woods is a fun character, but in the film you didn't develop the real attachment that you get in the live version. After her professor hits on her, and then fires her, she sings on of two emotional ballads in the production which left me breathless. I loved the movie, but I never wanted to cry for Elle like I did last Wednesday. It was an amazing character transformation.
But don't worry, it doesn't stay serious all that long! After all, this isn't the kind of show you go to to have your core shaken and your beliefs challenged.
The show is just different enough from the film that it manages to feel like a brand new experience. It's a brilliantly fun, fast paced show with high kicks, pop references, and gays gays everywhere! It carries the same excitement and appeal that "Hairspray" and "Mamma Mia" brought to Broadway. I would highly recommend the show to anyone of any age from any walk of life!