The New School of Northern Virginia
A Malibu blonde with perfectly manicured hands, willing to do anything to hold on tight to her man, even if that means parading over to Harvard, facing vigorous professors, and battling discriminating stereotypes. "There! Right There!" It's John R. Lewis High School's ravishing rendition of Legally Blonde.
Legally Blonde was first released as a novel by Amanda Brown and followed by the 2001 movie sensation of the same name. It was adapted into a musical and made its Broadway debut at the Palace Theatre on April 29, 2007. This story follows Elle Woods, a high-spirited sorority girl, who pursues her ex-boyfriend, Warner, as he takes off to Harvard law school. Determined to win him back, Elle follows him to Harvard, plunging herself into the challenging hardships she must face in the fierce environment of academics. Diving in headfirst, she encounters the true fight for justice and respect to show that she is more than a superficial blonde with fashionable taste.
Delia Hunt embraced the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Elle Woods and simply illuminated the stage. Strutting in style, Hunt expressed striking enthusiasm and bursting energy in Elle. She frolicked onstage with excitement during "What You Want" and conveyed strong, unwavering vocals, which displayed her character's jubilant and persistent confidence in staying upbeat and true to her feminine self.
Accompanying Elle on her journey included Samuel Wheeler as the Ireland-smitten hairdresser, Paulette. Wheeler delivered wisecrack humor and embellished a vibrant, cheeky personality to the character. As Paulette sang about longing for a lover from Ireland, Wheeler commanded an uplifting spirit and animated essence that was authentic to Paulette's quirky character.
Starring opposite Hunt was MJ Quizon, who embodied the lovable and awkward Emmett. Quizon portrayed an assertive and easygoing affection to Elle, carrying the love story between Elle and Emmett. The duo composed a charming and emotional connection while singing "Legally Blonde," a connection which grew eminently as the show progressed.
Technical components were also a key element in supporting the notable talent onstage. Designed by Jefferson Quinones-Hernandez, with MJ Quizon, Trenton Washington, and Kasandra Podhajecki, the austere and transitional sets each elucidated the various settings. From Elle's pink aesthetic dorm to the imperious courtroom, Quinones-Hernandez created effective set designs that were suitable to the storyline. The exemplary choreography that was done by Gia Cerchione and Lilly Gonsalves was also lively and seamless. Dance numbers including, "Omigod You Guys" and "What You Want" took inspiration from the original production of Legally Blonde. The dynamic dance breaks accompanied by vivacious vocals filled the air with excitement.
With grasping vocals and striking dance moves, there's no denying John R. Lewis High School presented an effervescent show that represents how sisterhood plays a fundamental element in empowering women.
Meridian High School
What do you get when you mix a pink-loving sorority girl with the most esteemed law school in the country? An uplifting musical that shows there is more to people than meets the eye. John R. Lewis High School presented this message perfectly with their production of "Legally Blonde."
"Legally Blonde" originally premiered as a film in 2001 starring Reese Witherspoon. Due to its immense popularity, however, it was soon adapted for the stage in 2007 with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach. The story follows Elle Woods (Delia Hunt), a Californian sorority girl who finds herself at Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend, Warner (Jefferson Quinones-Hernandez). With the help of a determined teacher's assistant, Emmett Forrest (MJ Quizon), Elle challenges stereotypes and proves to herself, and everyone else, that she can accomplish whatever she puts her mind to.
One standout performance came from Samuel Wheeler, who played the sweet, quirky hairdresser, Paulette. Wheeler stole the show with their beautiful vocals, in addition to their flirtatious, yet simultaneously bashful, humor which fit the character perfectly. Opposite of Wheeler was Jeffrey Waddington who played Kyle, AKA the UPS guy. Waddington's confident, suave mannerisms left the audience - and Paulette - swooning. This duo of Wheeler and Waddington created some of the most memorable and hilarious moments in the show.
Other highlights of this performance were Tiffany Campbell, Kasandra Podhajecki, and Ashley Lopez, who played the Delta Nu sorority girls Serena, Margot, and Pilar respectively. These three were a bundle of energy that constantly lit up the stage as they encouraged Elle to keep fighting for her dreams. Their enthusiasm, mixed with their animated dance moves, perfectly captured the personalities of their three perky characters and illuminated every single scene they were in.
Speaking of dancing, the choreography done by Gia Cerchione and Lilly Gonsalves incorporated aspects of cheer and acrobatics for dynamic routines that absolutely burst with pep. One notable moment of their talents came during the song "What You Want" where Elle and the ensemble broke out into a dance break, all with the intention of securing Elle's admission into Harvard. This demonstrated Cerchione and Gonsalves' impeccable choreography, all the while bringing a giant burst of spirit and enthusiasm to the stage.
Through a combination of passion, vigor, and humor, John R. Lewis High School's production of "Legally Blonde" reaffirmed the lesson that it is never a good idea to judge a book by its cover.