Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

A Musical As Good As “Legally Blonde” Should Be Illegal!

A. C. Donohue stars as Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde" (photo by Rob Byron of Piedmont Photo)

A. C. Donohue (center) stars as Elle Woods in Cary Players’ production of “Legally Blonde” (photo by Rob Byron of Piedmont Photo)

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, high-energy feel-good show, look no further than Cary Players’ production of Legally Blonde the Musical. Directed by Nancy Rich, with musical direction by Darylene Hecht, the production begins with a bang as several characters dance onto the stage and treat us to “Omigod You Guys.” And the intense energy never quits.

The story revolves around Elle Woods, a bubbly and smart sorority sister with a love of all things pink. Her dreams of marriage to her Harvard-bound boyfriend are dashed when he tells her that he wants to be with someone more “serious.” Initially crushed, Elle decides to win him back by getting admitted to Harvard law school and proving that not only is she a gorgeous, cheerful blond, but that she is also smart and “serious.”

Through hard work, determination and a killer cheerleading routine, Elle gains admission to Harvard, but then she has to make the grade. Can the pink-clad, bubbly blonde with a tiny lap-dog really cut it in the killer world of Harvard law? You’ll cheer for Elle the whole show!

All of the principals are skilled and talented musical-theater veterans, and the supporting cast is first class! We could not ask for anyone better than A. C. Donohue as Elle. Her energy, her movement, and her singing are all top notch. We were also impressed by the depth and vulnerability of this character, a character that we half-expected to be shallow and two-dimensional but who proves to have more depth than most in her Harvard classes.

Other standouts include: Mark Ridenour as Professor Callahan, Natalie Turgeon as Paulette, and Noelle Barnard Azarelo as Vivienne. They are extraordinarily talented.

A quick tip-of-the-hat to set designer Ami Kirk-Jones for the various mobile sets that a superb running crew changes with aplomb. There are about 15 set changes, and none of them are in any way obtrusive. We were further impressed by the attention to detail — an iron gate, a mobile home, a classroom, a courtroom — the sets hit just the right notes.

Props mistress Julie Weber also paid close attention to detail — right down to Elle’s fluffy pink pen. Kudos to costume designer Billie Pierce for a job well done! She gave us sorority sisters, prison inmates, graduation gowns, and even a Greek chorus.

Problems? Few and minor. The band was a little too loud during the opening number, making it difficult to hear the song’s lyrics. They must have realized it and adjusted for it, because no other song had this problem. In addition, when Elle helps her friend Emmet pick out a new suit, the “upgrade” could have been more dramatic from his previous suit.

That said, these are miniscule issues. The show is a sheer delight! Did it keep the audience laughing, cheering, and toe-tapping throughout the performance? We find Legally Blonde guilty on all charges!

SECOND OPINION: April 24th Cary, NC preview by Jessica Patrick: http://carycitizen.com/2015/04/24/theater-legally-blonde-premieres-tonight/; and April 22nd Cary, NC preview by Jessica Banov: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/cary-news/article18927783.html. (Note: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the April 27th Triangle Review review by Pamela Vesper and Kurt Benrud, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/04/legally-blonde-is-a-wonderful-spring-hit/.)

The Cary Players present LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL at 7:30 p.m. May 1 and 2 and 3 p.m. May 3 in the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave., Cary, North Carolina 27511.

TICKETS: $20 ($18 students and seniors 55+), except $17 per person for groups of 20 or more.

BOX OFFICE: 800-514-3849 or http://caryplayers.org/tickets/.

SHOW: http://caryplayers.org/shows/legally-blonde/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/614777335319892/.

PRESENTER: http://www.caryplayers.org/, https://www.facebook.com/CaryPlayers, and https://twitter.com/CaryPlayers.

2014-15 SEASON: http://caryplayers.org/season/current-season/.

VENUE: http://www.townofcary.org/ and http://www.caryplayers.org/cary-arts-center/.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://maps.google.com/.

NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3rd, performance.

OTHER LINKS:

Amanda Brown (novelist): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_Brown_(novelist) (Wikipedia).

Legally Blonde (2001 film): http://www.mgm.com/view/Movie/1102/Legally-Blonde/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250494/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legally_Blonde (Wikipedia).

Legally Blonde the Musical (2007 Broadway and 2009 West End musical): http://www.mtishows.com/show_detail.asp?showid=000332 (Music Theatre International), http://ibdb.com/show.php?id=423551 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legally_Blonde_(musical) (Wikipedia).

Nell Benjamin (music and lyrics): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=405997 (Internet Broadway Database).

Laurence O’Keefe (music and lyrics): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=405999 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_O’Keefe_(composer) (Wikipedia).

Heather Hach (book): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=423554 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Hach (Wikipedia).

Nancy Gardner Rich (Raleigh, NC director and choreographer): https://www.facebook.com/nancy.g.rich.3 (Facebook page) and https://twitter.com/bravemonkeygirl (Twitter page).

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.

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Categorised in: A&E Theatre Reviews, Lead Story, Reviews