“Legally Blonde,” with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach, is an energetic, heartwarming story where the worst character is justly punished and everyone else gets what they want. more: love and success. The short scenes serve above all to link the vigorous songs and to launch the joyful choreography. In the Rockville Musical Theater (RMT) production, the pace is fast and the music raucous. Even if you miss a few lines of dialogue, you’ll easily follow this feminist saga to its joyous conclusion – merit and motivation will outweigh misogyny and classism, if you stay true to yourself.
Lacy is on stage for most of the show and never seems to waver in energy or enthusiasm. His sheer joy of playing is a delight.
Written in 2007, the musical is based on the novel Revenge of a Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon. Elle Woods (Maura Lacy), a perky sorority girl, seems to have led a fairytale life growing up in California and enjoying the bounty of American consumerism. A beautiful blonde and a stereotypical nice girl, Elle is of course Delta Nu’s favorite, where her bedroom door is designed like a star’s dressing room. Lacy is on stage for most of the show and never seems to waver in energy or enthusiasm. His sheer joy of playing is a delight.
After the rambunctious opening number introduces the sorority sisters who make up Elle’s Greek Chorus, we see her hopes for the future dashed when her swaggering boyfriend, Warner (Adam Greczkowski), unexpectedly breaks up with her. . Warner argues that she’s not “serious” enough to be his partner as he heads off to Harvard Law School – she’s just a dumb blonde. He insults the memory of a screen legend when he tells Elle to “stop being such a Marilyn”. In a neat touch, a traveling fiddler (Danny Seal) accompanies the breakup scene.
You would think that all of this would be enough for Elle to move forward and progress in her love life, but she decides to win Warner back by enrolling herself at Harvard Law. A terrific musical number, “What You Want,” anchored by the talented Raymond Ingram as Grandmaster Chad, confirms his decision to go for it. But does she really know what “it is”? It certainly can’t be the stupid Warner.
After the initial cold reception by the other students, dressed in serious gray and black, Elle discovers that she is good at law. She is also noticed by graduate assistant, Emmett (Noah Beye) who provides a refreshing contrast to Warner. Emmett is smart and kind, and Beye is a terrific singer. The slightly creepy professor Callahan (Duane Monahan) chooses her to be one of his interns in a case defending exercise queen Brooke Wyndham (Katie Desch) in a murder trial. Monahan excels in his number “Blood In The Water” in which he paints a picture of what college students must become to be successful lawyers – cold-blooded sharks. She decides she should dye her hair brown and goes to stylist Paulette (Alyssa Wellman Houde). Paulette advises Elle that all bad hair decisions are driven by love, then launches into the showstopper “Ireland” about her own dreams of meeting a handsome Irishman. Houde knocks the house down with this number.
Act 2 gets more and more frenetic with numbers like “Whipped Into Shape”. featuring fellow cast member Katie Desch and Elle’s “Bend and Snap”. The latter is a somewhat problematic song where Elle teaches Paulette how to display her body suggestively to attract male attention. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, this figure seems dated especially since it precedes predictable predatory behavior by another character. Of course, the sexual harassment experienced by Elle is still common and the timing is sadly realistic. “Gay or European” starts out looking like another exercise in stereotyping, but under Dana Robinson’s strong leadership, it becomes an ode to queer culture.
Hayley North’s choreography is a combination of dance and cheerleading for an invigorating evening. The audience was eager to rise for the curtain call. For a show with so many set changes, designer Mark Hamberger created flexible pods that allowed the action to flow seamlessly. The conservative cut and color of Glenn Williams’ costumes for the rest of the cast make up for Elle’s signature pink nicely.
Breaking the age-old rule for actors to never appear on stage with children or animals. RMT includes not one, but of them dogs, to the delight of the public. The cast seems to embrace the competition with grace.
Duration: 2h30 including 15 minutes intermission.
“Legally Blonde” runs Friday through Sunday through November 13, 2022, presented by the Rockville Musical Theater at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater, Rockville Civic Center Park, 603 Edmonston Drive, Rockville, MD 20851. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at (240) 314-8690, Tuesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and two hours before each paid performance or you can go online. Covid security: RMT strongly encourages the use of face masks for everyone’s collective comfort and safety.