By Merle Exit
The JC Players are bringing a modern favorite to the stage in Middle Village with two weekend performances of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”
Show times are set for Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 12 at 3 p.m. at United Methodist Church, located at 75-27 Metropolitan Ave.
The musical works well, as sets are not the focus. What demands the most attention is their chorus/ensemble of Delta Nu Girls and an imagined Greek Chorus, all on key and in sync with the dance steps.
“Legally Blonde: The Musical” is based on the 2001 hit movie. The story follows Elle Woods (Sara Svezia), a sorority girl who wants to win back her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Navin Das), who went off to Harvard Law School. She had expected Warner to propose to her, but he decided he wanted someone he felt fit his intellectual future.
Elle passes the bar and gets into Harvard but once she gets there, she discovers Warner has already gotten a new girlfriend, Vivienne Kensington (Virginia Harmon) to take her place and Vivienne wants to make sure she knows it.
An opportunity comes up when Elle, Warner, Vivienne and Enid Hoops (Christine Hinz) are enrolled in Professor Callahan’s (Mark York) class. Exercise guru Brooke Wyndham (Alicia Brosky) is accused of killing her father and Callahan, who is defending her, needs the students to assist in the case.
Elle does not have much support from other students, who tend to make fun of her. However, teaching assistant Emmett Forrest (Thom Harmon) seems to be the only one willing to help her and eventually becomes her love interest.
When Elle is in a bad mood, she tends to do two things: conjure up a mythical Greek Chorus, and go to a beauty salon to get her nails done. Paulette Bonafonte (Donna Falzon), is the manicurist who requests that she “spill the beans” on what’s bothering her.
Elle uses her sorority past to help with the murder case, as the lawyer and students are trying to get an alibi from Brooke, a former Delta Nu. She’ll only reveal it to Elle. However, Callahan, who first saw Elle as being incompetent, reveals that the internship was due to his attraction to her. While alone, he tries to kiss her and is slapped. For this she is fired, leaving her feeling that she does not belong in this field. Vivienne and Enid convince her otherwise. Brooke fires Callahan and requests that Elle take over and help solve the case.
Kudos goes to the chorus: Hannah Brown; Joanna Freda; Nicole King; and Amanda Mikol. The ensemble’s singing and dancing also deserves praise. Svezia’s portrayal of Elle — performed by Reese Witherspoon in the film and Laura Bell Bundy in the original Broadway show — was excellent and it was clear that she did not lack in her vocal ability. Falzon also gives a star performance, belting out the song “Ireland.”
Director Barbara Auriemma has a long resume of shows with the JC Players and it is evident that her talents don’t go to waste. Frank Auriemma is the Musical Director. Add choreographers Christine Hinz and Jessica Helton and the show works well with just a few actors sounding a bit off-key at times.
Anthony Faubion’s portrayal of Paulette’s new love interest, Kyle, was quite humorous and a Celtic dance between he and Falzon were well synchronized. The funniest scene involved Hannah Brown’s role as Chutney, a key figure during the trial.
I highly recommend attending this community theatre performance.