Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dye Is Cast For Legally Blonde Reviews

Dye Is Cast For Legally Blonde Reviews

Two nights ago in San Francisco, the Broadway-bound musical version of Legally Blonde opened. Critics were generally positive, if not ecstatic.

In his three and a half star review, Chad Jones of the Oakland Tribune is almost giddy: "With expectations riding high, Legally Blonde shoots out of the gate like a prize, Prada-clad stallion and races toward that elusive goal of Broadway immortality....[T]his one has blood pumping in its veins. And that blood is a bright shade of pink....For a just-hatched show, this Blonde is in awfully good shape, though (not to disparage blondes in any way) it doesn't have a whole lot going on in its pretty head. And that's OK."

Variety's Dennis Harvey offers nothing but praise: "The good news is it does that -- thoroughly, delightfully so. The bad news? Actually, there is none. This fuchsia fluffsicle, socked over by choreographer-turned-director Jerry Mitchell, might not win over those opposed on principal [sic] to the Hollywoodization of Broadway. But its S.F. tryout is already a genuinely likable, splashy crowd-pleaser that could prove grumble-proof come its May Rialto launch....Among the show's many appealing aspects is how it manages to swim in broadly amusing shallows most of the time while avoiding heartlessness."

Proclaiming Legally Blonde "a crowd pleaser," with a three star review, The Examiner's Leslie Katz is mostly upbeat: "[T]he joie de vivre spirit of that (opening) tune remains throughout the show’s two and a half hours, and it’s that tone that makes this lightweight story of a not-so-dumb sorority girl who 'finds herself,' by way of Harvard Law School, so appealing....Like the film, it’s a crowd pleaser. The jokes are genuinely funny, its young actors are good-looking and energetic, the dancing rivals what’s popular on TV, and the costumes and sets flash and dazzle to just the right extent....But hopes and dreams, and memorable melodies, are lacking in Legally Blonde, which hits many of its jokes...but misses its heart."

Calling it "a buoyant blend of comic invention, captivating performances, bright design and knock-'em-dead dance numbers," San Francisco Chronicle's Robert Hurwitt offers a mostly positive review: "[I]t loses momentum at key moments, about two-thirds of the way through each of its two acts. (Jerry) Mitchell('s) given Blonde a remarkably fluid, cinematographic incarnation that succeeds in making the musical look not only larger than life but bigger than film....Mitchell takes advantage of every opportunity to inject similarly animated production numbers, while keeping the plot and clever interchanges of Heather Hach's faithful book crystal clear.The dynamic opening "Omigod You Guys" -- one of songwriters Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin's catchier tunes -- is a whirlwind of uncontainable sorority excitement...Where the composers run into trouble is with the songs that have to move the plot forward."

Assuming all the kinks of the San Francisco tryout will be worked out before hitting the Great White Way in April, Jerry Mitchell may very well have the makings of a huge hit with a built-in audience on his hands. So why do I have this nagging feeling that Ben Brantley still won't like it?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for San Francisco tickets.
here for Broadway tickets.
Related Stories:

Coming Of Age: Legally Blonde Opens In San Francisco (February 6, 2007)
M-G-M: Movies-Going-Musical (January 3, 2007)
Which New Broadway Musical Are You Most Enthusiastic About Seeing? (October 16, 2006)
A Place Where Nobody Dared To Go...Until Now: They Call It Xanadu (July 18, 2006)
Broadway Bound to Get Nuttier with More Movie Adaptations Turned Musicals (June 7, 2006)

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At 09 February, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

A fuchsia fluffsicle! I love that description. Sounds yummy!

I think the show will rise or fall on the strength of its Elle Woods. And Reese Witherspoon is such a great comedic actress, both in Legally Blonde and in Election, that it's hard to imagine someone else filling those shoes. But it looks like the show's off to a good start.

I've read Ben Brantley's reviews of Wicked and Mary Poppins. You're right, Steve, he probably won't like it. But hey, that's his problem!

At 09 February, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther - Left Coast critics were quite kind to Laura Bell Bundy, the actress who is portraying Elle Woods. Bundy, of course, has had amble previous opportunity to show her chops as Glinda in Wicked.

And as for Mr. B., well, what can I say?!

At 09 February, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

Well, I think that Glinda and Elle have quite a bit in common, so I'm sure she'll be great!

At 09 February, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, Ben Brantley won't like it, Steve. He's an iconoclast. (Read: a bitter, nasty man.)

At 09 February, 2007, Anonymous Chris Caggiano said...

Of course, Ben Brantley won't like it, Steve. He's an iconoclast. (Read: a bitter, nasty man.)

At 09 February, 2007, Blogger Mike said...

Color me surprised, but I'm rooting for this show. An acquaitance of mine is in the ensemble, and he deserves greatness.

(sorry, overdid it on the puns there)

At 09 February, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

I'm just surprised that Visa cardholders are getting first crack at the tickets. I always figured Elle was an American Express Gold Card kind of gal!

At 09 February, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Mike - I am now seriously contemplating buying tix for this show. It sounds like fun, and given that I loved the movie and this is supposed to be fairly faithful, I think it could be a hoot.

Chris - I just hope we're both wrong.


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