The April 12 opening of ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ at the Haugh Performing Arts Center, where the show ran for the weekend, offered a silly and impulsive romantic-comedy about being true to yourself and believing that anything is possible if you really want it.
Directed by Jon Vaughan and musical direction by Douglas Austin, the show featured more than 50 Citrus students and included members of the Citrus Singers ensemble.
The musical is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer motion picture where Elle Woods is a girlish sorority president and homecoming queen in Southern California.
When Elle and her college sweetheart, Warner Huntington III, meet for dinner to discuss their future, she is expecting a marriage proposal. She is shocked to hear that she is being dumped because Warner wants to pursue law school and doesn’t think she is “serious” enough.
Not taking no for an answer, Elle directs her efforts towards her studies and applies for admission at Harvard Law School to chase her man and go where no Delta Nu sorority sister has gone before.
The costume choice was great, especially for Elle. The cheer outfit that she wore in her final bid to get into Harvard was covered in sequins. Her golden shirt and shorts combo which she wears over white heeled boots really caught her sparkling personality.
The music and lyrics, written by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, keep the show spirited and exciting and remind the audience not to lose hope. In “Serious,” Elle’s law teaching assistant Emmett Forrest bucks up her morale and encourages her to keep moving forward.
Emmet is played by Josh Tangermann, 20, and complemented Elle perfectly with his charming loyalty and sensitivity.
Brittany Tangermann plays Paulette, Elle Wood’s lovelorn beautician and close confidant. She is hilariously funny and brought the audience some of the biggest laughs, especially in her romance with the UPS guy.
Emma Degerstedt is perfectly cast as Elle. She played the role last summer at the Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista, Calif., with director John Vaughan. Her tremendous musicality and elegance carry throughout her performance. Her gracious underdog appeal keeps you rooting for success and the hope that love will prevail.
In the energetic closing number Elle performs “Find My Way” and graduates from Harvard.
The show was a complete success. It was clear that the actors enjoyed the performance as much as the audience. Elle and Emmett were a great match for each other. Watching their romance develop was incredibly charming and even those members of the audience familiar with the story were touched to see them fall for each other.
A special applause must be given to the Greek Sisters, whose lively and energetic numbers such as “Omigod You Guys,” jump-rope spectacular “Whipped into Shape,” and hilarious “Bend and Snap,” were fantastic and made the show.
The production lit up the night in bright pink. The orchestra, conducted by Alan Waddington, sent the audience home humming “Chip on My Shoulder“. A great pick-me-up for many students anticipating midterm exams, the musical provided the fundamental message of following your dreams and not underestimating your true potential.