THEATER REVIEW: “Legally Blonde: The Musical” perks up Moonlight Amphitheatre

Omigod you guys! That perky but determined Elle Woods (you know, the paragon of terminal pinkness) is back to chase boyfriend Warner (Anthony Carillo) from UCLA all the way to (and through) Harvard Law School in “Legally Blonde.”

Based on Amanda Brown’s novel and the 2001 MGM film, the seven-time Tony- nominated musical (with book by Heather Hach and music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin), plays through July 14 at Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista. John Vaughan directs and choreographs this lively and entertaining production.

Emma Degerstedt stars as Elle, who hilariously manages to parlay straight-A’s in fashion merchandising into Harvard Law School acceptance – all in pursuit of a ring from the politically ambitious Warner.

He dumps her on the night she expected to get the rock, but she figures that’s just an aberration. Surely he can be brought back into the fold and she’ll be able to surmount parental objections that she’s not a “serious” enough wife candidate for his parents. He thinks he wants a Jackie, not a Marilyn.

At Harvard (never mind how she gets there, but it’s amusing) she meets lots of serious students, including bookish former Peace Corps volunteer Enid (Kim Zolozabal), nerdy workaholic Emmett Forrest (Brandon Joel Maier) and Warner’s new girlfriend, blueblood Vivienne Kensington (Jessica Bernard).

You can probably guess where the plot is going, but that doesn’t matter. “Legally Blonde” is a silly musical about a smart girl who learns that using her brain isn’t such a boring thing after all (in fact, it’s not even unattractive). It’s full of bouncy if a bit cookie-cutter songs (many with extremely clever lyrics, such as “Blood In The Water” and “There! Right There!” – with the telling recurring line “Is he gay or is he European?”), impressive choreography, and a most amusing Greek Chorus made up of Elle’s old buddies from UCLA.

The costumes (coordinated by Roslyn Lehman, Renetta Lloyd and Carlotta Malone) are terrific (especially Elle’s), the tech work is fine and Terry O’Donnell leads a fine 13-member orchestra.

Degerstedt scores as the lady in pink, showing fine comedic timing and a powerful voice. Cardia’s hair salon owner Paulette is also excellent, with a lovely voice and a terrific comic sense.

Carillo, Maier and O’Bryon are perfect foils for the blonde bombshell, and the remaining cast keeps the rollicking story moving along in most watchable fashion. There are even two well-trained pooches in the cast.

“Legally Blonde: The Musical” offers lots of empty calories – and a little substance, too. Take a toothbrush and enjoy.

The details

“Legally Blonde: The Musical” plays through July 14 at the Moonlight Amphitheatre, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive in Vista.

Wednesday through Sunday at 8 pm.

For tickets, call 760-724-2110 or visit click HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.

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