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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Theatre review: Legally Blonde is fresh and funny

Omigod you guys!  This year’s Theatre Under the Stars remount of Legally Blonde: The Musical is even better than last year.

Assuredly directed by Valerie Easton, this light comedy sees many of the cast members returning from the 2013 production, bringing with them more gravitas to their roles.  It also benefits from a new musical director, Kerry O’Donovan, who helps the cast find the fun and nuances of the show, delivering a more rewarding experience, especially in the tone-setting opening number.

Legally Blonde: The Musical, which is based on the book and 2001 movie, tells the story of a seemingly vapid Elle Woods who becomes distraught when her upwardly mobile college sweetheart Warner dumps her and he heads off to Harvard Law School.  Not willing to accept him leaving, Elle decides to join him at Harvard.  Much of the humor comes from the fish-out-of-water jokes that contrast Elle’s L.A. superficiality and pink obsession with that of the Ivy League intellectuals and status-seekers.

New to this year’s cast, Jocelyn Gauthier brings an open hearted sass and a belting soprano to the role of Elle.  Peter Cummins reprises the role of Warner with a warm rich voice and handsome good looks.

The always wonderful Cathy Wilmot also returns with her rounded notes and layered acting to the role of the gum chewing hairdresser Paulette and is joined once again by Scott Waters who gives his charmingly geeky Emmett a more grounded and loving portrayal this year.  Warren Kimmel is back too as teacher and lawyer Callaghan who has a wonderfully slick time singing the aloof but sinister “Blood In The Water”.

The music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin are fun and varied, and the book by Heather Hach takes the best of its source material and adds a deliciously caustic sense of humor that makes the show smart and very funny.

Crisp and fun, the show moves quickly with many surprises both in its story and musically, making Legally Blonde: The Musical a show that’s even fresher, funnier and more full-bodied in this second mounting.

Legally Blonde: The Musical.  Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Book by Heather Hatch. Based on a story by Amanda Brown. Directed by Valerie Easton.  Musical direction by Kerry O’Donovan. Playing in repertory with Shrek: The Musical at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl through August 23. Visit for tickets and information.

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