It’s story-time boys & girls. Once a upon a time, a young lass from Toronto headed down to the Big Apple to visit her uncle, aunt & cousin. While there, her kind uncle surprised her and bought her tickets to a Broadway show. “Which show?!!”, she asked with such excitement in her voice. “Legally Blonde – the musical”, replied her uncle. “What?… seriously?” exclaimed the ungrateful girl. Despite her rude response, the girl reluctantly went to the show, not expecting much in the way of entertainment. You see, this girl was a huge fan of the movie and could not imagine that someone would have translated it well to the stage. Even though the girl arrived a sceptic, by the end of the opening number she was a Delta Nu at heart!!
Tonight I took the short drive over to see Curtain Call Players’ production of “Legally Blonde – the musical”, the show that I had once been so suspicious of but quite quickly grew to love. And tonight’s rendition was no exception!
You have to keep in mind that I saw the original Broadway cast, so I’m incredibly spoiled. I marvelled at Laura Bell Bundy’s energy and comedic wit. Having been a huge fan of the movie, Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of the sorority-girl-turned-Harvard Law-student is etched in my brain. So how can anyone really compare to those two iconic performers? Megan Anderson stepped into the shoes of Elle Woods (literally and figuratively) and did what every leading lady should do: SHE LED. She led her leading men, she led her sorority sisters, and she led the ensemble. This is what you want to see from your star performer: confidence and class. When you have a leading lady who exudes those qualities, you see it rub off on the other performers and make them better for it. She hopped onto this show and rode it to the finish (that sounds inappropriate…. but I’m sure you get where that metaphor was going, right?). Megan has a bright voice with some lovely clarity on her high belt notes that is definitely needed to sing the role of Elle. She was spot on with every joke, glance, and all her “ethnic movement”. I was quite impressed and could feel bits of Laura & Reese shining through with her performance.
The role of the saucy hairdresser, Paulette, is full of comedy, physical humour and some freakin’ high belt notes. Tonight I got to see a blast-from-my-past play the role, the lovely Ms. Patricia Dambrosio-Mongeon. I was LMFAO all over the place whenever Patricia was on stage. The role of Elle is incredibly funny, so it’s hard to be Paulette and find your own shade of humour to still get your moment in the spotlight. Patricia brought down the house with her rendition of “Ireland” and I’m pretty sure I bruised my ribs laughing at her antics during “Bend and Snap”.
Something that really stood out for me in this show was the comedy. Just because you are given a great comedic strict, doesn’t mean that the comedy is gonna come flowing out of you as an actor. You need to work at it to get those laughs from the audience. I was relieved to find myself laughing quite consistently throughout the show at not one, not two, but pretty much ALL of the characters. Yes, that is a testament to their comedic skills and acting chops, but it is also because of their fearless leader, director Jeff Hookings. The art of comedic timing can be lost very easily and I can only imagine that Jeff drilled his performers until they got it right.
- To David Rudat and Meg Gibson – for being poised, snooty and pathetically hilarious as Elle’s mother and father.
- To Michael Manning for rapping, hip hoppin’ and movin’ his body in ways that intrigued me as Grandmaster Chad.
- To Jon Alexander for a slimy performance as Professor Callahan. Also for his brilliant choreography!
- To Janet Flynn, President of CCP and the Board of Directors for their patriotic choice of show for next fall. This summer Canada celebrates her 150th birthday and CCP has decided to honour their country by performing an original Canadian production entitled “The War Show”. I love that this is a thing and that you are using one of your two shows next season to celebrate our great country!
Congratulations to the cast, crew & creative team of CCP’s “Legally Blonde – the musical”! The show runs April 28-30 and May 4-6. Be sure to get your tickets for this show, which I’m sure is gonna sell out FAST, by calling 416-703-6181 or online at http://www.curtaincalltoronto.com.