"Legally Blonde: The Musical" - by Heather Hach - Moonbox Productions (Boston, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of Heather Hach's musical, "LEGALLY BLONDE" froMoonbox Productions in Boston, MAnow playing through December 31, 2023Photo Credit Chelcy Garrett)



By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

“Love! I'm doing this for love, And love will see me through; Yes, with love on my side I can't lose, And Harvard can't refuse. A love so pure and true. Don't lawyers feel love too?"  

                                                                                                 - ("Elle") /Heather Hach

Moonbox Productions  

Presents the Broadway Musical

"LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL"

Book by Heather Hach

Music and Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin. 

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture

Directed by Katie Anne Clark

Music Director Mindy Cimini

Choreographed by Taavon Gamble

Cast Includes: Sarah Kelly as “Elle Woods”; Ekaterina Hicks-Magaña as “Margot”; Melia Jost as “Serena”; Lisa Kate Joyce as “Pilar (“Elle” u/s); Yewande Odetoyinbo* as “Paulette Belafonte”; Emily Cochrane as “Brooke Wyndham”; Darius Williams as “Emmett Forrest”; Keith Robinson as “Warner Huntington III”; Will McGarrahan* as “Professor Callahan”; Kayla Shimizu as “Vivienne”; Ricky as “Bruiser Woods”; Lillian Salazar as “Enid” and others (“Paulette” u/s); Ts Burnham as “Whitney” and others (“Enid” u/s); Brian Michael Hoffman* as “Dewey” and others; Carson Hollingsworth as “Aaron” and others; Eleni Kontzamanys as “Leilani” and others (“Vivienne” u/s); Kara Chu Nelson as “Elle’s Mom” and others (“Brooke” u/s); Ryan Norton as “”Kyle” and others (“Emmett”/”Warner” u/s); Victoria Santiago as “Chutney” and others; Errol Service, Jr. as “Nikos” and others; Nate Walsh as “Kiki” and others, Dance Captain; Lauren Manna (swing) and Brandon Wong (Swing).

Additional Creative Team:

Scenic Designer – Sarabeth Spector; Sound Designer – Gage Baker; Intimacy Choreographer – Shira Helena Gitlin; Stage Manager – Brian Robillard*; Lighting Designer – Finn Bamber; Costume Designer – William Andrew Young; Properties Designer – Julia Wonkka; Assistant Stage Manger – Paige D’Ambrosio; Animal Director – Brian Michael Hoffman*; Ricky Trained By – William Berloni

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States 

Performances at Roberts Theatre at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116     

Performances:

December 8, 2023 through December 31, 2023

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)

TICKETS: 

Tickets are $65 each or $45 each for matinees. Available at https://www.bostontheatrescene.com/shows-and-events/legally-blonde/

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS 

COVID 19 PROTOCOLS

Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Moonbox Productions has staged a fabulously fun "LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL" a great gift, if not for the holidays, at least in time for college semester finals. 

"LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL" is a faithful musical stage adaptation of the 2001 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture "LEGALLY BLONDE," and the Moonbox staging features a mostly upbeat score, many terrific performances and some wonderful choreography. 

Perky “blonde” Elle Woods (Sarah Kelly), a UCLA sorority girl, follows her boyfriend, Warner (Keith Robinson) to Harvard University Law School after he dumps her to get “serious” about his life in pursuit of a legal career. 

And just how does Elle manage to get into Harvard

Well, you have to see the show but, as Elle explains to Warner, “What? Like it’s hard?” 

The relationship between Kelly and Robinson is solid enough to believe, especially as the story continues.

Robinson distinguishes himself well in his performance as the smarmy, self-entitled Warner.

(Photo: Sarah Kelly as "Elle" with Brian Michael Hoffman and the CAST of Heather Hach's musical, "LEGALLY BLONDE" froMoonbox Productions in Boston, MAnow playing through December 31, 2023Photo Credit Chelcy Garrett)

Supported by a pleasing score provided by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Heather Hach's story of "LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL" debuted on Broadway in 2007, receiving mixed reviews and achieving disappointing sales. 

While it also did not win many accolades, the show would receive seven Tony Award nominations and 10 Drama Desk Award nominations. 

The production did far better in the U.K. in 2010 as the West End production would go on to be nominated for five Olivier Awards, winning three, including Best New Musical

The musical was also recorded and televised on MTV in 2007. This added exposure could factor into why, once rights became available, the show has since become staged numerous times by regional theatre and in school productions.

For the Moonbox Productions' staging under director Katie Anne Clark, the entire cast and supporting ensemble does a superb job presenting the material, keeping it tight, blithe and, above all, fun.

You may find the story a bit trite but you cannot help but be impressed by the dazzling production itself.

However, you cannot have a good "LEGALLY BLONDE" show without a convincing lead in "Elle Woods" and Sarah Kelly is totally convincing, giving a superior performance of someone who is treated as inferior.

Kelly is able to make the character multilayered: Providing Elle with an expected lighthearted appeal but, also, showing us a conflicted Elle who, while arriving at Harvard as this rich, entitled "Malibu Barbie fish out of water," soon becomes determined to succeed on the basis of merit for her hard work.

(Photo: Far right, WIll McGarrahan rules his class with an iron fist as "Professor Callahan" seen here with the CAST of "LEGALLY BLONDE" froMoonbox Productions in Boston, MAnow playing through December 31, 2023Photo Credit Chelcy Garrett)

Once after being admitted, though, Elle immediately is faced with the harsh reality of her decision is as she is insulted and ridiculed by her classmates and a belligerent law professor, Callahan (Will McGarrahan).

McGarrahan is first-rate, completely in his element as the ruthless Callahan, who scoffs at and scorns his students in the song, "Blood in the Water" applying pressure onto all of them but none moreso than Elle.  

Warner tells Elle that he has become engaged to their classmate Vivienne (Kayla Shimizu) and Elle becomes devastated by the news. 

Shimizu is formidable as the controlling, manipulative “Vivienne,” showing not only the character's autocratic side but also some vulnerability as to how the character feels threatened by Elle.

Elle seeks comfort from one of Callahan’s assistants, Emmett (Darius Williams) who begins to develop his own feelings for Elle. 

Williams is extremely likable as Emmett, who becomes Elle's biggest confidante, tutor and supporter, especially during the Act One number, "Chip on My Shoulder." 

Elle makes another new friend in hair stylist, Paulette (Yewande Odetoyinbo) who, along with Emmett, helps Elle cope with the tremendous work load coming from Professor Callahan. 

Odetoyinbo is pure gold as Paulette, owning each scene every time she appeared. 

(Photo: Yewande Odetoyinbo as "Paulette" with Ryan Norton as the UPS guy "Kyle" in a scene from "LEGALLY BLONDE" froMoonbox Productions in Boston, MAnow playing through December 31, 2023Photo Credit Chelcy Garrett)

These new friends, along with an imaginary Greek Chorus comprised of Elle's “real-life” former Sorority Sisters Serena (Melia Jost), Margot (Ekaterina Hicks-Magaña), and Pilar (Lisa Kate Joyce), make Elle realize that she has the potential to succeed at Harvard if she applies herself. 

The supporting ensemble, especially the Sorority Sisters (doubling in multiple roles), are an integral part of the success of the show's overall structure, thanks to book writer Heather Hach.

The staging elements of "LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL" are executed perfectly by the combined efforts of director Clark and choreographer Taavon Gamble

Gamble, especially, provides some inventive and vibrant dance numbers which include "What You Want," “Bend and Snap” and the phenomenal “Whipped Into Shape,” which contains, unquestionably, some of the most impressive choreography seen all season.  

As Elle becomes more assertive in class, Callahan takes notice and assigns her, Warner and Vivienne to be part of his legal team to defend Brooke Wyndham (Emily Cochrane), a fitness expert who is charged with the murder of her husband. 

Cochrane is hilarious as the acerbic Brooke, hurling some acid-laced retorts to her legal time with delightful precision. The character could easily be considered a "throw-away" supporting role but Cochrane's portrayal makes it work at a much higher level.

During the case and throughout the entire story, Elle must prove, both to others and herself, that she does not need a man to feel worthy or "complete." 

All Elle needs is to believe in Elle.  

(Photo: The CAST of Heather Hach's musical, "LEGALLY BLONDE" froMoonbox Productions in Boston, MAnow playing through December 31, 2023Photo Credit Chelcy Garrett)

Costumes are resplendent, colorful and consistent for the contemporary surroundings of the 1990's based story's setting. 

Scenic design by Sarabeth Spector is absolutely splendid and there was an efficient use of space, with scene changes moving fluidly and all technical cues executed well. . 

Musically, all the vocals are strong, with many enjoyable numbers such as the opener, “Omigod You Guys," sung by Elle and her Sorority Sisters, Cochrane's “Whipped Into Shape and Odetoyinbo's numbers “Ireland” and “Bend and Snap.” 

Once again, the high octane performance given by the entire supporting ensemble cannot be overstated. This musical would simply not be as effective without their dynamic contribution.   

In the end, though, even with the fine performances given by the principals and ensemble, the biggest scene stealing moments come courtesy of Ricky as Elle's lovable pooch, “Bruiser Woods.”

Moonbox Productions"LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL" continues at the BCA in Boston until the end of this month and could make some local future legal scholar's holiday season a bit more merry.

Coming up next for Moonbox will be "THE MANIC MONOGLUES" by Zachary Burton and Elisa Hofmeister. For tickets and more information, visit https://moonboxproductions.org/event/the-manic-monologues/ .

Approximately two hours, 30 minutes with one intermission 

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 

@MetrmagReviews

@Theatre_Critics 

ABOUT THE SHOW

"LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL" with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach, based on the novel "Legally Blonde" by Amanda Brown, chronicles the journey of the famously perky Elle Woods, a fashion-savvy, UCLA sorority girl who finds her life turned upside down when she is dumped by her boyfriend Warner. 

In an effort to prove to Warner that she is more than just some blonde sorority girl, she follows him to Harvard Law School, where she struggles to fit in and do well. 

Ultimately, she defies expectations and manages to stay true to her delightfully pink personality. 

Approximate run time two hours with one intermission.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS 


ABOUT MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS

Since its founding, MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS has been honored by numerous laudatory reviews and raves from audiences and critics alike – garnering MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS numerous IRNE and Elliot Norton Awards ranging from Best Musical,  Best Actor & Actress, to Best Scenic and Costume Design recognitions. MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS was founded in 2011 by Producer/Artistic Director Sharman Altshuler. Based in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS is dedicated to supporting local arts and local artists, and to connecting communities to the non-profit organizations that serve them. To fulfill their artistic mission, MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS taps the deep well of talent within their own communities to bring top quality theatrical experiences to stages throughout the Greater Boston area. To fulfill their social mission, they partner with a local non-profit organization for each show, giving them visibility on their website and in their promotional materials, as well as giving them access to their audiences in order to raise awareness of their cause, create connections within the community, and increase the reach and impact of their work.

MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS

30 Brattle Street

Third Floor

Cambridge, MA. 02138

info@moonbox.org