Who can forget the rose-colored optimism of Reese Witherspoon’s perky performance as Elle Wood in the 2001 film Legally Blonde? Well, check out the musical based on that movie now playing at Rockville Musical Theatre and see how Maura Lacy delivers Elle Wood’s spunky energy and blonde ambition with the 5-Hour Energy blast of a Lakers Girls cheerleader!
Lacy seamlessly channels the roller-coaster emotions of the Malibu material girl and Delta Nu sorority queen, who appears to have it all until her pretentious boyfriend Warner played by Adam Greczkowski dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law, and Elle finds out that he prefers a Jackie, as in Kennedy, over a Marilyn, as in Monroe, for a future wife.
What makes this Legally Blonde the Musical work like a charm is the incredible choreography by Haley North, as in the over-the-top Harvard admissions cheerleading scene that sets the high-energy tone for the evening: Elle leads a 12-member pep rally squad plus a 4-man marching band in a rousing rendition of “What You Want,” which blows the admissions committee away, and nails her ticket to Harvard Law School!
The contemporary dance moves of the ensemble led by Raymond Ingram as Grandmaster Chad and Alexandra Chad as Pilar fill the stage with twerking, grinding, and fitness-class energy that is perfectly complemented by the vocal chemistry of Elle’s ever-present chorus arranged by Matthew Dohm and Chad Rabago.
The quirky characters who surround Elle and fill out the cast also make the musical work. The chemistry between Paulette, the beauty salon doormat played by Alyssa Wellman Houde, and Kyle, the UPS delivery man in sexy shorts played by Raymond Ingram, sets the stage for Elle’s “Bend and Snap” lesson, which wins Kyle’s heart. It also gives Elle an opportunity to flex her legal chops as she uses her knowledge of common law marriage and community property to liberate Paulette’s Labrador Bodie, who along with Elle’s constant chihuahua companion Bruiser adds pet-friendly charm to the show.
The climax of Elle’s triumphant law school journey comes during the trial of accused murderer and fitness queen Brooke Wyndham, played to a perky turn by Katie Desch: Elle uses her charm and cosmetology knowledge to win Brooke’s confidence and convinces the judge that the real killer was the jealous daughter Margot with the bad perm, played by Camryn Powers.
Elle’s intuition also ferrets out the real identity of Nikos the pool boy, who lies about an affair with Brooke. Elle’s gaydar outs Nikos when his lover Carlos (Chad Rabago playing a dual role as co-vocal director and actor) blows his cover in the Queer highlight of the show: The courtroom decorum is interrupted by an over-the-top “Gay or European” number with streaming confetti and an LGBTQ flag that brings the house down.
But not before Brooke “Whipped Into Shape” her fellow inmates at the Boston Women’s Correctional Facility. Wearing an orange jumpsuit, she demonstrates her fitness moves to a dirty dozen future felons with jump ropes, which kicks off the second act on another high-energy note.
The musical departs from the movie’s original courtroom scene and takes the action to the “Scene of the Crime” as one of the last farcical set changes has the Judge sitting on a commode, and Margot’s perm going flat as she emerges from behind the shower curtains and confesses her crime!
Just when you thought you had seen it all, the company chorus breaks into an Irish Riverdance jig, the background set turns green, and Paulette and Kyle lead the dance company in an Irish reprise.
Legally Blonde the Musical marvels the audience with spot-on dance choreography and compelling vocals that keep the musical moving at a breakneck pace. But it’s Maura Lacy’s “Chip On My Shoulder” confidence — and her multiple wardrobe changes from a Playboy Bunny to a pinstriped lawyer in pink heels — that makes the musical work!
Running Time: Two hours 20 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.
Legally Blonde the Musical plays through November 13, 2022, presented by Rockville Musical Theatre performing at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, 603 Edmonston Dr., Rockville, MD. (Remaining performances are October 29 at 8 pm; November 4, 5, 11, & 12 at 8 pm; and November 6 & 13 at 2 pm.) For tickets ($26 adults, $23 students and seniors), call the box office at (240) 314 8690 or purchase online.
The program for Legally Blonde the Musical is online here.
COVID Safety: Masks are strongly encouraged. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the start of a performance is required. The full COVID-19 safety policy is here.
Legally Blonde the Musical
Music & Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture