Elle Woods and Bruiser
And she has won! Broadway San Jose has brought Legally Blonde the Musical to the Center for Performing Arts and it is an outstanding show. Opening to a packed house on Tuesday evening the audience was laughing, cheering, clapping and (happy) crying throughout the evening.
I am not usually thrilled when musicals are adapted from films, but Legally Blonde is perfectly suited for such a thing. It’s a delightful, uplifting story with a change in tone at the halfway mark, plenty of quirky characters, and a happy ending. The musical sticks with the storyline from the film, only making minor changes to make pop culture references more current. There is also the addition of a Greek chorus – Elle’s sorority sisters, of course!
The story of Elle Woods and her move from Malibu to Harvard, though sometimes described as “bubblegum,” is actually inspiring and empowering to both females and males, young and old. If you have never seen the film you need to understand that it is not about a bubble-headed blonde with a love for pink Gucci and aspirations to be a senator’s wife. Okay, Elle does start out as this person, but she figures out before intermission that taking advantage of her brain is a better idea. I love how the story shows that valuing the superficial is not important, however putting your best face forward is. Elle learns that chasing love should not be the priority, but the story acknowledges the need for having love in one’s life. Above all, girls are encouraged to support each other and use their brains, and to be the very best they can be.
Paulette and the UPS Guy with Rufus
Aside from the fantastic story, the musical is insanely well done. Gorgeous backdrops are switched out super fast, the choreography perfectly conveys personalities and mood changes, and the costumes are well thought out and show Elle’s character development. The audience is hooked from the catchy opening song (which you will be singing for days after), and the attention is held by the very talented cast and a few scene stealers. The UPS Man and his accompanying porn-like soundtrack are played to perfection, and lesbian classmate Enid received loud shouts of approval with every line.
The real scene stealers come to Broadway San Jose straight from animal shelters. The adorable dogs who play Rufus and Bruiser are all rescue animals that are trained for the stage. They are used minimally in the show but have a magnificent presence every time they run across the stage. Any time those adorable dogs were on stage all eyes were on them.
At Harvard Law
Broadway San Jose is turning into an arts powerhouse , but unfortunately Legally Blonde is only running through March 21. You should NOT miss it. Everyone at Tuesday’s show left the CPA with huge smiles and ready to take on the world. “When I was young, Elle Woods taught me that a girl can be pretty AND smart,” said the gorgeous Stanford graduate who attended with me, “and now I really want a sparkly pink Harvard shirt.”
If you have pre-teen or teenage girls in your family, take them with you to this show. Take the boys and men in your life too, and get ready for an exceptionally fun evening. Even those of us who have seen Elle Woods on screen many times before will feel renewed and inspired after seeing this musical.