The IU Auditorium at Indiana University, Bloomington, is bathed in pink lights to welcome Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s musical Legally Blond.
Nikki Bohne played the role played in the film by Reese Witherspoon, Elle Woods, a girl who gears up from California sorority life to enter Harvard Law School in pursuit of love. Bohne is a bit of a belter of songs, but clearly she’s also a crowd favorite. Mathew Ragas is awfully smarmy as Warner, the undeserving man she follows. Hannah Rose DeFlumeri is Vivienne, the hard, upscale girl for whom Warner drops Elle. DeFlumeri is icy and nasty at the beginning, but becomes effectively sympathetic by the end.
Nic Rouleau plays Emmett, the sympathetic grad assistant who encourages and supports Elle. Kahlil Joseph is mean lascivious as Professor Callahan. Shannon Mullen played Brooke, the energetic workout mogul whom Elle’s knowledge of hair care saves from a murder charge.
The Audience That Knows
The audience of Legally Blond is clearly familiar with the movie. Applause erupts when the hunky UPS driver, played by Michael Milton, walks into Paulette’s beauty shop (presided over by the spunky Jillian Wallach). Everyone knows that the “bend and snap” is on its way, and it’s fully satisfying when it arrives.
The production is an energetic one that moves smoothly from location to location. There are plenty of cheerleader-style dance sequences that move the action along and draw applause. One dance highlight is a hilarious parody of River Dance, with such a variety of costumes in the dance line that it drew immediate and prolonged laughter.
There’s plenty of the popular film in the musical version of Legally Blonde, and enough new items – along with the music and dance – to make a very satisfying evening.