Alex Ellie and Matthew Ragas in MSMT's "Legally Blonde"by Elisa Hawkes
Coastal Journal staff
“Legally Blond, the Musical,” currently playing at the Maine State Music Theater in Brunswick, is incredibly funny, with non-stop, high energy song-and-dance numbers. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the show, giving the cast a standing ovation to end the night.
The play opens on a predominantly pink set, with a number called “Oh My God.” Over-the-top colorful costumes and a pop flavor combined with gossipy lyrics is reminiscent of “Telephone Hour” from “Bye, Bye Birdie.”
Elle Woods, played by Alex Ellie, is a Malibu sorority girl in love with Warren Huntington III (played by Matthew Ragas), a Harvard-bound law student. Elle thinks he is going to propose, but he dumps her on their big date, saying he needs someone more “serious” for his new life.
Elle decides to study hard enough to make it into Harvard Law, prove she is a serious person, and win Warren back. When she arrives at Harvard, she is the butt of jokes in classes and in danger of failing out of school. Warren has a “serious” girl friend, and Elle is miserable.
Then Elle meets Emmet Frost, played by Chuck Ragsdale, who tutors her, turns her life around, and falls in love with her in the process. She receives a much-sought-after internship along with Warren, his girlfriend Vivienne, Emmet, and a fellow student named Enid. Elle wins the big case, but the professor makes inappropriate advances, saying her looks was the only reason he gave her the internship.
After more twists and turns, Elle ends up with Emmet and is honored as valedictorian of her class. Everyone lives happily ever after, and the audience has been treated to an evening filled with laughter.
Ragsdale gives a runaway performance, at once boyish, take-charge, humble, and protective. He charms the audience, and we find ourselves rooting for him, even if he hits the occasional interesting note.
Alex Ellie’s impeccable comic timing and strong voice had the audience laughing throughout. With comical facial expression and physical humor, Elle was portrayed with a hapless innocence belying her hot-pink, sexy attire.
At times sugary sweet to excess, the play more than compensates with all-out fun.
Paulette, the obsessively Irish hairdresser, was played to great effect by Charis Leos, and the UPS “hunk,” played by Curt Dale Clark, used physical humor to racy advantage. The insertion of Irish step dancing into the show based upon these two characters was somewhat anomalous, but humorous nonetheless.
Although much of the plot seems to be directed at teens and tweens, I feel a substantial amount of the humor is inappropriate for kids younger than 15 or 16. The message may have started out to be that it is okay to be beautiful and smart, but it seemed to say you will succeed only if your are beautiful. Maybe not the best message for girls still impressionable enough to take it to heart.
For adults, however, “Legally Blond” is a raucous, entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable evening out.