I have wanted to see the musical version of Legally Blonde ever since I downloaded the five minute opening number, "Omigod You Guys," years ago. The movie upon which the show is based has some great lines and I was interested to see how they fit song and dance into the plot. Now the rights are being made available to community theatre groups and I managed to attend the version produced by the GetUp Stage Company at Bristol Central High School. Founded two years ago, the nonprofit GUSCO offers a summer intensive program that begins in June and ends with the production in August.
This is a fun show with energetic dance numbers and a wonderful musical score of some unique numbers. I expected "Bend and Snap" and "Daughter of Delta Nu," but "Ireland" and "Blood in the Water" involved some tweeking of the story. Meric Martin, often seen onstage () but also the musical director for this high school's Theater Arts Program, enthusiastically directed the nine-piece pit orchestra, who sported pink lights on their music stands. Director Lindsey DePietro worked hard with this large cast of area teens (and two dogs) to pull off this ambitious show with lots of scene and costume changes, challenging music and impressive dance numbers choreographed by Nick Rollo.
This is a really talented group of teens that obviously were having a great time onstage. After one actor impressed the audience with a strong voice in their solo, another one stepped up and did the same thing. Some standouts for me were Breanna Riollano ("Whitney" here and "Lulu" in ) and Tina Johnson ("Rusty" in ) as the stuck up "Vivienne." In the lead role of "Elle Woods," the lovely Tori Beaudoin was a fine triple threat. She was bubbly and funny, but managed to stay away from being annoying. Anthony J. Paparello was an appropriately shallow "Warner" and Jeremy Mercier was just as good as the supportive and eventual love interest "Emmett." Jasmine Clemons is convincing as exercise instructor "Brooke Wyndham." In the role of Paulette Bonafante (who is here somehow Irish,) Deanna Giulietti is a riot. Dylan Benkert as "Nikos" and Mr. Rollo as "Carlos" were hysterical as gay Europeans.
My companion loved the contemporary setting of the show and the pop culture references. Dan Checovetes lit the stage in shades other than pink at times and the director was also in charge of props and costumes. There is a credited costume assistant who helps Elle quick-change on stage during the opening number. Everyone in this talented cast should be proud of the show that they presented to an appreciative audience of family and friends.