Pink and Blonde. These two words define the show Legally Blonde. And though these words are associated with anything but smart, these two are the words that pay defiance in this musical – defiance to the words’ lifelong association with the idea that, no person who is blonde or loves pink can be smart!
Legally Blonde: The Background
Legally Blonde is based on the 2001 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer smash hit film starring Reese Witherspoon, It was adapted for a theatrical production in 2007. In the first year itself, the original Broadway production was nominated in 7 categories at the Tony Awards.
A show that has won the hearts of many for the beauty of the message it carries – being true to yourself will always lead you to where you belong.
Legally Blonde portrays the story of Elle Woods, UCLA’s Delta Nu sorority queen and fashionista who loves all things pink. But when she is suddenly dumped by her boyfriend Warner for not being so ‘serious’ she follows him to Harvard Law School (with Bruiser, her chihuahua), to win him back by showing him her studious side. She struggles initially to settle in by being too ‘pink, glamorous and chirpy’ in an environment that’s anything but.
However, along the way she gets support from friends – a teaching assistant Emmet, a down-on-her-luck hairdresser Paulette and a Greek chorus of UCLA sorority sisters (which only she can see and hear).
It is a heartening story that emphasises how courage and strength from within, paired with a loyalty to one’s true self, can lead the way to a place where ‘nothing is impossible’.
Elle Woods is an inspirational and relatable character who shows us that what the world thinks of us should mean nothing. What truly matters is, how we feel about ourselves from within. And if we have a few good friends by our side coupled with self-belief, then we have it made.
Catch up on the story behind Crazy Rich Asians, a book by Kevin Kwan, that will be soon coming out as a Movie.
Legally Blonde: The Production, the Cast and the Show
The musical comes straight from New York with a talented and fun cast. It is attention-grabbing from the get-go. Strong characters further catapulted by strong performances and a brilliant musical score make for a high adrenaline, feet tapping, truly engaging show with next to zero moments of disengagement from the audience.
The main character of Elle Woods is played by Maris Mcculley – the very talented and look-alike of, Reese Witherspoon (from the movie Legally Blonde). That lends an instant credibility to the character she’s portraying. Her performance is further matured by the modulation she carries in her voice. It adds to the depth of songs or dialogues she conveys.
Her character is instrumental in the make or break of the musical. The way she held the fort on her own and her chemistry with the other characters was commendable. Her unerring acting, her boundless energy, her look, her dancing, her ability to take herself from emotion to emotion along with the strong stage presence: all factors give way to making this a splendid musical.
The Supporting Cast
No one actor’s performance can suffice alone without a great supporting cast. For this musical too, this holds true.
It is witnessed in the first scene itself when Elle along with her sorority sisters set the stage on cuteness-overload with their antics and high energy, in-your-face, loud girly-girl portrayal.
Things did get a bit drab when Warner (played by Mark LaDuke) sings ‘Serious’. Though Mark has a great voice, what it lacked was a crescendo, making his performance lack-lustre. But this didn’t last long and many great performances ensued.
Mychal Phillips in the role of the vivacious, kind-hearted hairdresser Paulette is someone instantly liked by the audience. Her vulnerable character portrayal and her execution of a true loyal friend to Elle won many hearts. Her performance in ‘Ireland’ is beatifically portrayed with aplomb and a near-perfect Irish accent.
Jayson Speters playing the role of Emmet, the down-to-earth teacher’s assistant from a middle-class background really grows on to the audience as his character unfolds. His memorable performance is seen when he performs ‘Chip on my shoulder’.
The actors’ roles are one element of making a production successful. What adds to their performances is the set they’re acting in. It adds a vital element to creating a setting whereby the actors’ roles can shine and be given life to.
The sets for this production were highly innovative. The props and set pieces were exquisite in design as well as detail and Jonathan Infante’s LED screens provided backdrops in swaying, moving imagery. They certainly added more depth to the stage.
Some shows are relevant for a time and an age. But some are evergreen and limitless in what they have to offer. The messages they offer can carry one from generation to generation, from era to era and they just don’t grow old.
Legally Blonde is a show that is immortal. The lessons that it supports are timeless, holding true to oneself, and most importantly, what is needed to seep in further in today’s generation where peer pressure is norm.
I would recommend this show to anyone who has teenage daughters or sons for that matter. And who is in the process of learning self-worth and finding themselves in this large, crazy world! Do catch the show.
This show talks about women empowerment, seriously tackles and supports the #metoo movement and breaks stereotypes that still exist in our societies.
Blondes are not dumb.
Women don’t need any man but A man who can respect them.
Where there is a will there is a definite way.
Respecting oneself is way more important that any success that might have to be given up on.
And lastly, love empowers, not burdens.
Venue: Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
Date: 10 May – 27 May 2018
Price: $65 – $195
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Mehvish Maniar holds an MBA degree in Finance from the Institute of Business Management in Pakistan. Her eight years of working in the field of Treasury, include her work at Jehangir Siddiqui Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank and Barclays Bank. Mehvish put her career on hold after the birth of her first child; she likes to read, watch movies, listen to music and is interested in all things related to art.