Call Legally Blonde, currently lighting up the stage at Marriott Theatre, a chick flick style musical or fanciful, but understand it as serious fun. That may sound like an oxymoron but the show fulfills the be-true-to-yourself implications implicit in its title.
A hit Broadway musical and MGM film based on a book by Amanda Brown, Legally Blonde combines life-changing decisions and female bonding with fanciful dreams come true and I-can-do-it attitudes.
It also plays with gay and lesbian stereotypes in a giddy, almost Les Cage way while poking fun at ambitious Harvard law students and professors.
Along the way to an interesting twist of a girl gets boy story, it balances the come hither cheerleading moves that guys love with the got-it and flaunting-it moves of a UPS delivery man for the girls in the show and audience.
However, none of the musical’s story lines would work without Marriott’s perfect casting. Chelsea Packard who appeared as Elphaba in the Broadway and national touring companies of Wicked, plays the blonde lead of Elle Woods with panache. With Packard in the title role, the words and motivation ring true.
David Larsen who was in American Idiot and Billy Elliot on Broadway, plays Emmett Forest, Elle’s staunch Harvard friend, in an understated fashion that works well as a foil to Elle’s exuberant personality.
If Packard and other cast members weren’t as good as they were Christine Sherrill, a Mamma Mia! touring performer, would have stolen the show as Paulette, a flamboyant and wise beauty salon proprietor. As it was, her warmth, fine voice and heartfelt portrayal of a woman unlucky in love but who still could dream, captured the opening night audience.
It’s hard to imagine a better Brooke Wyndham as an exercise celebrity on trial than Summer Naomi Smart. She leads her exercise dance class with the skill and flair expected of her high profile status. Indeed, director choreographer Marc Robin challenges his dancers with jump rope exercise sequences that have audiences holding their breath.
Steve Calzaretta, a regular on Broadway and TV, has a small role as Kyle the UPS delivery man. But although known as a vocalist with Kenny Rogers and the UFO rock group, it is his moves in the beauty salon that bring down the house.
The acts are seamlessly pulled together with costumes by Nancy Missimi that say almost about the actors’ roles as the dialogue. Stylistic Greek columns reinforce a Greek sorority theme and fanciful Greek chorus without dominating the stage.
Legally Blonde, The Musical with book by Heather Hach and music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, is at Marriott Theatre now through April 1.
Details: Visit Tickets and Marriott Theatre or call 847-634-0200 for more tickets and information. Marriott Theatre is at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL