Last Thursday night, the little black box sitting in the shadow of Robsham known as the Bonn Theater was filled with a soft purple glow as the lights set the mood for the men, women and children sauntering in single-file to find their seats. It was opening night of a sold-out performance of Legally Blonde, a show with 10 female parts, so everyone's mothers and fathers had turned up with beautiful bouquets for their little actresses, filling the tightly packed theater with the smell of flowers before the show had even begun.
Legally Blonde is the fun, well-written story of Elle Woods, portrayed by Meghan Linehan, CSOM '17, a lovesick sorority girl from UCLA, whose quest for love takes her all the way to the esteemed halls of Harvard Law School.
It is a shamelessly crowd-pleasing story line, full of sorority girl screaming, more pink than a Victoria's Secret storefront, and even a makeover scene, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
This cast and crew kept an audience of parents and college students riveted to the stage and dancing in their seats for the entire two hours in one of the most entertaining nights I've had on the Heights.
The success of this musical hinges on Linehan, whose natural charm and comedy brought the character to life. She made Elle her own, finding a sweet spot right in the middle of lovesick, dumb sorority girl and smart, empowered woman.
Playing Elle is no easy feat, as she is involved in nearly each one of the 18 musical numbers that drive the story along. Linehan's voice was simply spectacular, with a massive range and fine nuances that tugged the audience right along through her emotional roller coaster; she could have carried the musical on her own.
But the best thing about it was that she didn't have to.
Not a single cast member of this show had a voice or acting ability that left me feeling unsatisfied; in fact, I was blown away each time a new cast member belted out some hilarious new song.
As the curtain rises, the audience is dropped right into the Delta Nu sorority house at UCLA. The subtle mood set by the soft violin and band is shattered by hysterical girlish screaming and the Greek Chorus of the play, portrayed by Elle's perfectly stereotypical sorority sisters, Kathryn Raskin, LSOE '15, Taylor Tranfaglia, A&S '18, and Michaela Dolishney, A&S '17.
These girls complimented Elle perfectly, and their hysterical sassiness and jello shot-fueled college girl humor had both parents and students falling off of their seats.
However, what I really was impressed with was the trio's ability to take a song "OhMiGod You Guys," that in any other circumstance would admittedly make me want to rip my hair out, and make it constantly entertaining and infectious each time they sang the chorus (which was nearly every time they came on stage). Seriously, this song is so catchy that I even caught myself singing it halfway through rinsing shampoo out of my hair in the shower this morning.
It was not only the muses that impressed in the supporting cast. Warner (Alex Rougeau, A&S '18) and Vivienne (Christy Coco, A&S '17) were the perfect amount of snarky to be believable and loathed at the same time, while Paulette (Lili Chasen, A&S '15) stole the show with her erroneous, yet hilarious "Ireland" song and dance.
The three Ensemble boys (Chris Pinto, A&S '16, Johnny Rooney, A&S '17, and John Robert Scordino, A&S '17) injected humor into every scene they entered, specifically impressing during a questioning "Gay or European?" debacle that truly showed their comedic range.
I loved Legally Blonde, neon pink and all. Each character added new and dynamic chemistry to each scene, without letting any real weaknesses slip through the cracks.
The performance as a whole was a fantastic experience, from the wonderful mood set by the full band and lighting crew, to the set design and intuitive use of a door frame to keep action moving quickly while simulating a very real change of setting, lending itself to soaring duets and tense transition scenes.
This musical is everything modern theater should be, and it knows it. It is an experience for the cast to share with the audience, as there is nearly no proverbial "fourth wall" separating the two groups. The goal was pure entertainment, and some of BC's finest showed us how it was done last Thursday night.