In January, Musical Cyberspace is going to work through a chain of musicals. This is how it works: each day I will discuss, in brief, a musical linked to the previous day’s musical by some kind of common ground. It follows then, that if you – dear reader – liked the previous day’s show, then you might enjoy the current day’s show. Comments, as alway, are welcome!
If you like Hairspray, then you might like Legally Blonde.
While the most obvious common feature of Hairspray and Legally Blonde is their poppy scores, the two shows are also both (more or less) great coming-of-age stories with everything revolving around two super young women characters. Both shows are also all too easy to write off as being pop trash cotton candy musicals, but both offer more than what the eye might first perceive.
Legally Blonde, adapted by Heather Hach, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin from the hit film of the same name, tells the tale of Elle Woods, blonde extrodinaire. Dumped in favour of a serious career by her boyfriend, Warner, who is off to Harvard, Elle launches a plan to get him back by following him to law school to prove just how much she has to offer. Warner doesn’t change his ming, but Elle finds a new direction for her own life at Harvard as she faces the immense challenges of becoming a lawyer who exhibits both sense and style. Highlights include “Serious”, “So Much Better”, “Omigod You Guys”, “Blood in the Water” and “Take it Like a Man”.
Legally Blonde was Laurence O’Keefe’s follow-up piece to Bat Boy and brings to life the promise shown in that earlier musical. Where Bat Boy is almost smothered by its own cleverness and by all of the ideas that float around in its score, Legally Blonde is tight and focused with an emotional core that prevents it from being simply a bit of silliness and allows the show to come together in a way that Bat Boy never quite does. The show is high-energy, has a memorable score in the way that a good old-fashioned nouveau musical comedy should and manages to blend dance into the proceedings in an era when many musicals forget what an important element of storytelling dance can be in musicals. (In that respect, Jerry Mitchell’s choreography for the original production never feels bland or generic in the way that Rob Ashford’s dance has in the recent revivals of Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.) The show was screened on MTV during its original Broadway run. While no plans for a DVD release have surfaced as yet, wouldn’t it be great to be able to pick up this show on Amazon for your own personal collection? Ah well, a boy can dream.
So, now it’s time to share your thoughts on Legally Blonde. And what shows would you suggest to fans of this show? See which one we’ll feature here tomorrow…