‘Tis the season to be depressed. The economy is in the crapper, the country is still at war and the holidays always mean spending time with family members who drive you to drink. Sometimes it takes monumental effort to plaster a fake smile on your face and get through the day. But before self-medicating with Jack Daniels or Lithium, hustle your world-weary ass over to the Academy of Music for “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”
Re-capping for the unfortunate few who missed the hit movie predecessor, Elle Woods (the dynamite Becky Gulsvig), sorority president and Malibu princess, is in love with Warner (the perfectly preppy, Jeff McLean). Unfortunately, Ms. Woods is “too Marilyn and not enough Jackie” for the snob and is unceremoniously dumped for a more proper gal, Vivienne (bitch-on-heels, Megan Lewis). Elle, ever the optimist, follows her fella to Harvard Law; where this tight, taught and tan party girl struggles with social and academic adversity. With help from sassy stylist, Paulette (Natalie Joy Johnson), and handsome T.A. Emmett (the superb D.B Bonds), Elle rises above her Barbie-world. Along the way, we learn more fantastic moral lessons then you’d find in 15 after school specials.
If you’ve seen the movie, the musical doesn’t deviate too much from the plot. The joy is not in the discovery, but in watching your favorite cinema moments translated into hyper-color choruses. The musical numbers are where “Legally Blonde: The Musical” explodes, finding a way to make break-ups, sexual identity issues and legal jargon toe-tapping numbers. Opening number, “Oh My God You Guys,” is worth the price of admission alone, “There! Right There!” hilariously grapples with polite homophobia and “Whipped Into Shape” should be fitness anthem of every boot camp babe. But two hours of witty melodies and silly songs would grow trite without powerhouse vocals delivered by an incredible cast. Leading lady Gulsvig is a sophisticated and stylish siren, dosing her every octave with raw emotion. D. B. Bond’s rich voice instills power in earnest Emmet, while Natalie Joy Johnson’s Paulette nearly steals the show.
If the blues have got you down, take a big dose of a Broadway smash that has plenty of pluck and pink. Tap into your inner sorority girl and leave your troubles at home. "Legally Blonde: The Musical" is certainly the best pink slip you’ll see this season.
"Legally Blonde: The Musical"
Through Sunday, December 7
Academy of Music | 215-731-3333