LEGALLY BLONDE PASSES THE BAR AT WBT COURT
Posted on Saturday, March 31 @ 17:33:46 EDT by jfbailey
WPCNR Theatrical Review by John F. Bailey. March 31, 2012
The very LEGal Blonde (impetuously athletic and beyond perky Kelly Felthous) presented her opening arguments at Westchester Broadway Theatre Opening Night Friday night at Westchester Broadway Theatre Court representing WBT'S new Broadway 7-TONY revival, LEGALLY BLONDE. All Photos by John Vecchiolla, courtesy WBT
The WBT jury and enthusiastic gallery returned the intrepid barristerette-to-be and ingenuous cast a unanimous verdict of “Not Guilty of Impersonating a Lawyer,” with bravos and standing “O’s” for presenting an ambitious legal premise in Act One, followed by a hoot of a cross examination exposing a witness on the stand, worthy of Perry Mason in ACT II that returns a plea of Nolo Contendre from this critic and clears fitness icon Brooke in a most amusing manner.
In the process it skewers Harvard Law to the obvious delight of the audience. The delightful Ms. Felthous even has two hunk lawyers to choose from-- believable Christopher deProphetis in the role of Emmet who persuades Elle Woods to stay with her legal career or Warner Huntington III.
LEGALLY BLONDE definitely passes the bar!
Act One finds Elle deciding to follow her obnoxious boyfriend Warner Huntington III (played with impeccable superciliousity by faceman Robert Patrick Ryan –he has the pompous lawyer attitude precisely right) to Harvard Law School and when Elle is accepted her sorority girls of Delta Nu break into “Oh My God!” an ode to the anthem of surprise and joy typical of the high school/college girls of the last fifteen years. The rambunctious number with precise confusing joyous chaos (designed by choreographer Leisa Mather, (who dances in the ensemble) that is the big number of the first act. Any parent of a college coed of the 90s will go into hysterics at this parody of coed enthusiasm.
Lauren Blackman (left) as Vivienne, telling Robert Patrick Ryan as Warner Huntington III she no longer loves him after Professor Callahan fires Elle (Kelly Felthous), back left while Christopher DeProphetis (Emmett) works to convince her to stay on the case.
After this coup in Elle’s life, she shares the good news with Mr. Ryan tells Elle that he is breaking up with her for some woman more appropriate, the perfectly cast Lauren Blackman as the more appropriate woman, Vivienne, whose comedic sense of timing and a belting voice on Legally Blonde Remix in the second act recharges Elle. The believability of the supporting actors and interaction make you buy into this legal musical fairy tale for adults. Lawyers, law students will love it and those who hate lawyers should love it. It's a hit.
Nevertheless Elle goes to Harvard anyway, where she meets the imposing legal sage, Professor Callahan – (played with lurking menace, dripping with swarm, Aloysius Gigl, who carries the foil in this show). He transmits the mantra of the law school and its mission to dehumanize the idealistic law student, the wonderfully wicked Blood in the Water.
Along the way we meet Paulette (Jacquelyn Piro Donovan above) of The Hair Affair salon who befriends Elle,and conducts a romance of her own with the extraordinary tall Timothy Hughes (above). His turn as a UPS delivery man just cracks the audience up—the funniest cameo bit I’ve seen in sometime. Hughes gets the biggest laughs in the show with his schtick. Stealing the show above is Paul Newman as the basset hound Rufus whose role is that he reminds Paulette of her former boyfriend who was Irish. (I can't explain it either.)
The two canines in the show appear to be thrown into LEGALLY BLONDE sheerly for cuteness enhancement – Roxy the fox terrier and Paul Newman the basset hound romp through the proceedings as complete non-sequiturs. They endear themselves to the gallery! But they have no actually protagonist role. I scratched my head figuring out how these two dogs drove the plot. But, hey it is a cute musical and the dogs raised the cuteness to dangerously high levels, jumping into arms, romping across the stage for no apparent reason. I think I’m going to bring a dog onto my newscast.
The stage is set for Act Two when Elle and her law class rivals are being considered for intern on a major case – defending a sexy fitness icon on a murder charge.
In Act Two the show cranks it up a notch with Brooke the fitness guruette and suspected murderer, played by Maria Logan (foreground,above),performing Whipped Into Shape, a parody of fitness videos whetting the audience appetite as the musical moves into the drama of truth, justice and the American Way.
Elle and her Callahan interns are assigned to interview the very fit Ms. Logan to find out her alibi. Brooke rejects the interrogations, but Elle discovers Brooke and she are Delta Nu sorority sisters. Elle swears on the Delta Nu oath not to reveal Ms. Logan’s alibi…seems she was having a --- well I can’t reveal it.
Meanwhile, Professor Callahan says he wants to make Elle his intern, and busts a move on her. When she resists, he dismisses her.
CHEERLEADERS DEMONSTRATING THE BEND AND SNAP KEY to a Man's Attention
Back at the Hair Affair, Paulette’s romance with Mr. UPS is not going well until the sorority girls former UCLA cheerleaders teach her the move cheerleaders use to attract the attention of the crowd, Bend and Snap – to attract and rivet his attention. And it does. (Side note: Lot of great actress watching is in this show.)
Into court we go, with Brook enlisting Elle as her defense attorney. Will the rookie lawyer without a law license in the pink suit and high heels (so high they should require a walker’s license) be allowed to defend in court? Will she breakdown the star witness against Brooke? Brooke and the cast stage a funny but politically incorrect interrogation set to music in Boston Municipal Court, Gay or European? In a cross examination as clever and funny as it is outrageous. You will laugh until you plotz.
Will Elle graduate with her law degree? Swing by to Westchester Broadway Theatre Court with the next 4 weeks to find out. LEGALLY BLONDE is so much more fun than Law and Order.
Steve Callaran, the most entertaining warmup man in show biz, reminded the audience to tell their friends LEGALLY BLONDE is playing only for three more weeks. Information on show dates is on www.broadwaytheatre.com or call the box office at 914-592-2222
Ladies and gentlemen, the jury has reached a verdict. The evidence is overwhelming. I find in favcr of LEGALLY BLONDE. Case Dismissed!