Legally Blonde: The Musical, based on an Amanda Brown novel and the 2001 motion picture, is now being given a modest production by Pollard Theatre Company. It’s a nice little show, as light and pink and sweet as cotton candy.
The musical by Laurence O’Keefe, Nell Benjamin and Heather Hach hews closely to the Reese Witherspoon movie. Elle Woods, a Malibu girl and quintessential sorority president, graduates from UCLA and improbably gets admitted to Harvard Law School.
But she really matriculates at Harvard in pursuit of Warner Huntington III, a boyfriend who rejected her because he thinks she’s not serious enough for a young man with political aspirations.
With pluck and determination, Elle becomes a law-firm intern and successfully defends a client charged with murder by discovering a minor fact about the case that would be obvious to someone like a Delta Nu president, but is missed by the big-shot lawyers and fancy Harvard Law students.
Eventually, Elle learns a thing or two about herself and finds true love.
Elle is in almost every production number, so the show requires an actor with the stage presence and voice to heave this thing along. It’s nice to report that Danielle Flesher Stephens (who’s new to me) makes a fine Elle. The character is both confident and insecure, strong and vulnerable, and Stephens captures the character’s interestingly complex nature and makes the audience root for her.
Timothy Stewart directs and, brother, does he get the cast to expend energy. A lot of it is fruitless wheel-spinning; this is one of those shows where you think it would be nice to see such effort going toward better material.
Jennifer Rosson’s choreography is entertaining and about right for what is essentially an old-fashioned musical. Some of the lyrics are swallowed by the pop score and orchestration; Pollard’s sound system doesn’t help much. Gregg Barnes’ costumes are generally appealing.
Playing Paulette, Elle’s hairdresser friend, Cory King can do more with a supporting role than just about any actor around. James Tyler Kirk and Jake DeTomasso play the love interests.
And the cast includes two dogs. I mean real canines.