West Springfield High School
Omigod she got into like Harvard Law! Who? Elle Woods, of course, the star of Legally Blonde, performed this past weekend and next at South County High School.
Legally Blonde, with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Neil Benjamin and book by Heather Hach, hit the Broadway stage in 2007. The musical took its name from the 2001 novel by Amanda Brown and the movie by the same name. In the show, Elle Woods, a peppy sorority girl, enrolls in Harvard Law School to pursue her ex-boyfriend and prove to him that she can be the serious girl he is looking for. At Harvard, Elle discovers her potential to help people as a lawyer while still staying true to herself.
Gabriella Mancusi imbued Elle Woods with the bubbly energy the role demands, strutting onstage with a bounce in her high-heeled step. She transformed from a lovestruck flirtatious girl to an independent woman with a desire for success. The sheer elation on her face the moment she realized she could help people as a lawyer was genuine, as was her broken-heartedness when she realized most people still saw her as a joke. Her signature handshake with Emmett (Kevon Thompson) brought chemistry to the pairing and Thompson made clear his love for Elle.
Lulu Romero as Paulette embodied the goofy hairstylist with her Jersey accent, silly Irish dancing, and obvious fawning over the UPS delivery man, Kyle (Spencer Kipps), whose exaggerated manly walk repeatedly drew laughs. Dylan Schultz as Elle's ex-boyfriend Warner demonstrated mastery in vocal technique, while Carmie Basnight as Warner's new girlfriend Vivienne transformed from a high-strung condescending enemy of Elle's to one of her biggest supporters. Armin Mahmutovic convincingly portrayed the sleazy Professor Callahan with a cut-throat confidence, and nearly tricked the audience with his false display of respect for Elle. Also noteworthy was Hannah Chester as Brooke Wyndham, who impressively jumped rope while singing. The ensemble of Delta Nu girls was consistently energized and in character. Serena (Cvana Clarkson), Pilar (Nicole Lavina) and Margot (Hannah Swim) provided strong leadership for the group and each presented a well-defined individual character. The ensemble's spot-on execution of choreography, especially by Marie Repczynski as Kate, and peppy spirit as they waved their pom-poms made "What You Want" a stand-out number.
The set crew created a range of sets, from the pink Delta Nu House with its Greek columns and functioning windows, the deep red balcony of Harvard, the law classroom filled with pew-like seats, to the courtroom complete with the tall judge stand. Lulu Romero skillfully managed the show's 75 props, each of which added to the character of the show. Of note were the dog-bone cake and Elle's hot-pink notebook and doggy carrier holding an adorable live Yorkie (Miso). Elle's many costumes each captured her character. She had two different light-pink dresses, light-pink jeans with a white ruffled shirt and hot-pink jacket, a bunny costume with sparkly pink tights, a black suit, and a sparkly pink suit. The ensemble wore a fashionable assortment of clothes that blended without being distracting.
South County High School deserves snaps for its impressive performance of Legally Blonde. With a skillful balance between the comedic and the serious, South County put on an energetic show that reminded the audience that "staying true to yourself never goes out of style."
Freedom High School
If what you want is a production of high energy, strong musical numbers, and tons of fun, then pass on Harvard and head to South County High School for their spirited performance of Legally Blonde: The Musical!
Legally Blonde is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and film of the same name, both released in 2001. This musical, with music and lyrics by Lawrence O'Keefe and book by Heather Hach, was nominated for 7 Tony awards after its opening on Broadway in 2007. It was also produced in London, for which it won 3 Olivier awards.
Leading this show was Gabriella Mancusi in the role of Elle Woods. Mancusi took on the strong and witty role of Elle with charm and glamour, along with splendid performances of song and dance. Following her along her journey at Harvard are her two love interests: the rich and snobby Warner Huntington III (Dylan Schultz) and the soft-spoken and caring Emmett Forest (Kevon Thompson). Schultz and Thompson both rounded out their contrasting characters with magnificent vocals. Helping and encouraging Elle through her challenges and successes at Harvard were her fellow Delta Nu sisters, led by her best friends Serena (Cvana Clarkson), Pilar (Nicole Lavina), and Margot (Hannah Swim). These three worked incredibly well together and kept the energy level high, which definitely transmitted to the Delta Nu girls, who showed their spirit and contentedness magnificently in every number and scene they took part in.
The cast of this production executed each song with great intensity and liveliness. "Bend and Snap" kept the audience engaged and laughing as Lulu Romero created great comedic moments as Paulette in the number. "Whipped into Shape," lead by the sassy and vivacious Brooke Wyndham (Hannah Chester), also impressed the audience with intense yet intricate jumping rope throughout the number. The finale rounded out the show with a very strong ending that exemplified each character and the spontaneity and jubilance of the production very well.
Another factor that contributed to the fantastic flow of energy in this show was the set. It was very versatile, changing from the bright and cheery halls of UCLA in which the Delta Nu sisters resided, to the more sophisticated halls of Harvard. The set changes from these two places, and the many others, were completed very smoothly and sufficiently, as to not take away from the fast-paced rhythm of the show. This rhythm was not only kept by the cast and crew, but by the pit orchestra as well. They played through the score with wonderful vehemence and elaborateness.
South County's production of Legally Blonde: The Musical was full of fun and flair that kept the audience enjoying each moment of pink perfection!