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THEATER REVIEW - Legally Blonde-The Musical

by Chris Conley

Legally Blonde-The Musical is difficult in a different way.

Ive shared my admiration of the Everest Academy for the Performing Arts because of their willingness to mount difficult productions that other community theater groups shy away from. Legally Blonde isnt tough because were landing helicopters on stage (Miss Saigon, 2010) or because one person has to represent the Argentinas entire resistance movement (Evita, 2011). Legally Blonde is difficult because of its newness. Its only recently been made available for local productions. There's a lack of this is how we do this play knowledge. If you do Oklahoma! or The Sound of Music youll find cast members whove been in some earlier production. The staging is more defined. You already know how other school or community groups have overcome production challenges. Heck, there are web sites devoted to how to do this-and-that play. A director who tries Legally Blonde starts with a blank slate.

Newness aside, Legally Blonde probably isnt on anyones list of favorite plays. If we were to take a survey of what-youd-most-like-to-see, this would be far down. You mean, the movie? most would ask. Yes, but now its a play with lots of songs added in.

No matter.

The Everest Academy is crossing the threshold into one of those theater groups where everything they do is likely to be done well. I'm already at the point where I trust them blindly. If they're doing it, it's up to their standards. So what if this years show isnt Sondheimesque. Its campy. Legally Blonde pumps out more cheese than the Kraft plant on the other side of town. It also happens to be an irresistibly fun show.

Jessica Hargrave is the evenings star, and she deserves her name in lights. This is a singing roll, and she has a pure, strong voice. And unlike many younger females in the theater who've developed their singing beyond all else, her acting is also well-polished. She has a good sense of timing on stage, handles her dancing effortlessly, and is kept busy through a dizzying series of costume changes that are pulled off with a big smile that never lets on how difficult it is. She soars while some others in the cast merely fly. Her two male suitors, who are both capable, have to work hard to keep up with her.

A special salute to Mary Shafarik, who was outstanding in Wausau Community Theaters Don Quixote last fall, and is just as good in the comedic role of as Paulette the hair stylist. Its the best supporting-role performance Ive seen this year.

Theres nothing traditional about Legally Blonde-The Musical . Its not going to be a classic. This is more of a guilty pleasure like choosing Hostess Twinkies instead of homemade pie. You may feel like youve just arrived at a party and someone pulls you out on the dance floor before you're ready. The next few moments the music, a smile, something funny, or a moment of being carefree determine if you stay there and enjoy yourself. Legally Blonde grabbed me early, pulled me where it wanted to take me, and kept me in that happy-sort-of-silly-place the whole night. It will for you, too.

Chris Conley
8/2/12

Performances of Legally Blonde-The Musical are scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday at D.C. Everest High School. All performances are at 7:30pm.

By Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia (Legally Blonde The Musical Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons