It’s pretty amazing what they can turn into a musical these days, with often pleasing and surprising results.
Red Deer College theatre studies students have proven that with smartly-penned rendition of a given script, story or film, it can indeed be done. Currently, they are presenting Legally Blonde – the Musical on the Arts Centre mainstage.
Written by Heather Hach with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Legally Blonde – The Musical follows the transformation of Elle Woods (Maggie Chisholm) as she tackles ‘stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams.’
The mainstage production continues through to Feb. 18th with curtain at 7:30 p.m. There is a matinee Feb. 18th at 1 p.m. as well.
The story is based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the hit 2001 film of the same name which featured Reese Witherspoon in the starring role.
As mentioned, it tells the story of Elle, southern California sorority girl who knows the fashion world like few else, but ultimately enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner, played by Tanner Chubb.
At first, the fun-loving and effervescent Elle seems the most unlikely of candidates to enter law school – period.
And initially, she’s fine with that – after all, she’s here to track down and win back Warner.
But something happens along the way as she finds that her knowledge of the law can really help others. Initially, no one has much faith in Woods, but she surprises them when, ‘she defies expectations while staying true to herself.’
RDC’s production, under the solid direction of Tom Bradshaw, largely manages to capture the fun, colour, energy and humour of the film. There are plenty of strong performances amongst the large and talented cast, as also reflected via the many ensemble pieces. The music is terrific as well, featuring an array of styles that bring the adventures of Elle to life as the story takes shape.
Unfortunately, I had to leave before the show was over – but I have no doubt the momentum continued to build.
Legally Blonde – the Musical just has a way of drawing you in. It’s light and cheery, but still has thoughtful and dramatic touches. And from what I saw, it proved a great way to brighten up a dark winter evening.
And kudos to set designer Carrie Hamilton and wardrobe manager Donna Jopp in particular for injecting such a rich display of talent via their respective roles as well. Besides its strength as a show, the overall look of the production was outstanding as well.
Ultimately, the creative team picked the ideal person to play Elle.
Chisholm is just excellent in the role – she’s sweet, charming, has a strong sense of timing and just nails the nuances of Elle time and again. Chubb also does a terrific turn as Warner as does Thomas Zima as Emmett. Overall, the cast, which numbers about 25, are outstanding in their singular roles and as a group when they join forces for the different musical numbers which mostly sparkle.
Legally Blonde premiered in pre-Broadway tryouts in San Francisco.
In April 2007 the show moved to Broadway, opening to mostly positive reviews and grossed more than $1,000,000 a week on several occasions.
The original cast starred Laura Bell Bundy as Elle, Christian Borle as Emmett and Richard H. Blake as Warner.
The West End production opened in January 2010 at the Savoy Theatre.
For ticket information, check out www.blackknightinn.ca.