Aug 3, 2008

[Theater] Legally Blonde: the Musical (MTV Screening)

Legally Blonde: the MusicalBroadway has been known to venture into strange territory and one of the quirkier sub-genres of musicals will have to be musical adaptations of popular films. More often than not, we tend to adapt comedies since they lend themselves rather well to the campy nature of musical theater, although there have been exceptions of course.

Now initially I was skeptical about the movie Legally Blonde being turned into a musical. As much as I love Reese, some the film was just a bit too pink and fluffy to make the transition well enough, at least in my opinion. Then a work friend of mine played a few songs from the play on her laptop and I was surprised that it didn't really sound all that bad so I figured what the hell.

Conveniently enough, MTV had done a big reality show series about their search for who would play Elle Woods, the lead character, and this eventually led up to a special MTV screening of the entire play, which fortunately I managed to acquire through other means.

Legally Blonde: the Musical closely follows the story of the original film, with a few liberties taken here and there. I suppose credit has to go out to them for doing so.

Now in terms of music, which at times is pretty much at the heart of any musical, this was a pretty good play. The composers did their best to make the songs as light and bubbly as the original film while pretty much embracing the full potential campiness Broadway offers in order to make for one sugary sweet film. To truly make it a Broadway experience, some of the edits to the story were done to provide more opportunities for a chorus to come in and sing along and help guide the story through.

The play is anything but dull, to say the least. It's full of crazy production numbers ranging from just the cheer leading sorority girls doing their thing or large-scale exercise classes being conducted in prison. Yes, that's exactly what I said.

NEW YORK - MAY 29: Laura Bell Bundy promotes '...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeNow to the actors themselves - we start with Laura Bell Bundy who played Elle. She was pretty good and I can see why she won the role - mainly due to her vocal ability along with her flexibility (LOL) given the demands of the role. I wasn't too keen on Christian Borle in the role of Emmett - perhaps because one can't help but compare him to Luke Wilson, who played the character in the original film. His singing was okay but nothing particularly amazing and at least in the MTV screening his acting seemed a bit flat. Orfeh was just fun as the sassy hair stylist Paulette given she changed the interpretation from a ditzy southern belle to a ditzy New York girl. It may not seem like much of a difference, but it is.

The production value behind the whole thing was just FUN with a capital F ranging from the dynamic sets to the silly little routines here and there. That can really help drive a musical along - whether or not all these pieces come together well or if we just get distracted by how complicated things are instead of listening to the characters.

It may not be the most amazing play to hit the musical world, but it's still a pretty fun addition and worthy of viewing in its own right. I'd still recommend the play just for the heck of it, although I wouldn't necessarily invest money to see the show on Broadway itself. Go figure.
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