A soggy Friday evening rain could not dampen the spirits of either the cast or the large audience of "Legally Blonde" (the musical), the season opener at Haddon Township’s Ritz Theatre. If only we could bottle the energy coming from that theatre!
Bubbly, bright and blonde Elle Woods, a UCLA co-ed and member of Delta Nu sorority, is about to become engaged to Warner Huntington III—or so she and her sorority sisters think as they dance and sing “Omigod You Guys.” But Warner, instead of proposing, breaks off with Elle. He tells her that he is transferring to Harvard Law School and she is not serious enough for him. What else can Elle do but follow him and try to enter the same school to show that she can be serious? After hard study and some rather bizarre help from her friends, she makes it. But life among her snobbish Harvard classmates is not easy; her law professor is tough; and Warner has a new girlfriend. Teaching assistant Emmett Forrest tries to help Elle with her studies. Elle even considers dyeing her hair, but feisty beautician Paulette Bonafonte talks her out of it. It’s probably not giving away too much to reveal that Elle eventually displays her skills as a lawyer and wins the man who is right for her.
Director Brian Rivell, who also choreographed the show, can be proud of the talent and professionalism of his cast. A special nod must go to Brutus, a 7-year-old Chihuahua, as Elle’s dog, Bruiser, and George Killian, a 9-year-old English Bulldog, as Paulette’s dog, Rufus. Elle uses her knowledge of law to help Paulette rescue Rufus from her sleazy ex-boyfriend. Brutus and George Killian are therapy dogs, appearing courtesy of Leashes of Love, a Cherry Hill pet therapy organization.
The music in this show, while not particularly memorable, serves as the accompaniment to some of the most energetic dancing you will ever see, including an Irish dance (Paulette loves everything Irish) and one with jumping ropes. The set and costumes are lovely and colorful.
The show is feather-light and the plot highly improbable, which makes it a perfect traditional musical. It’s fun, enjoyable and great entertainment for a winter’s night.
Legally Blonde (the musical) runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM through February 9, with 2 PM matinees on January 13, 20 and 27 and February 3 and special performances on Wednesdays, January 23 and February 6 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $20.50 to $33.50. For tickets and information, visit the Ritz Theatre Company, 915 White Horse Pike, Haddon Township, NJ 08137, call 856-858-5230 or visit www.ritztheatreco.org.