AISLE SAY Philadelphia


Music & Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe & Nell Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Based upon the Novel by Amanda Brown
and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Motion Picture
Directed & Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell
DuPont Theatre, Hotel Du Pont,
10th & Market Streets, Wilmington, DE 19801
Through December 6, 2009
Tickets 302- 656-4401, 1-800-338-0881

Reviewed by Claudia Perry

Oh my God! It's here until December 6th at the DuPont Theatre. That's right, it's the musicalized version of "Legally Blonde" with Music and Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach.

Based upon the novel by Amanda Brown which was turned into the hit MGM movie starring Reis Witherspoon, Luke Wilson and Victor Garber, "Legally Blonde" is the journey of Elle Woods, a Malibu girl who loves pink clothes, her sorority sisters, her little Chihuahua and her fiancˇ, Warner. When Harvard Law School bound Warner decides to dump her as he no longer finds her to be suitable marriage material, Elle decides to fight for her man. She works like the Dickens to get accepted to Harvard to follow her love. Her hard work pays off and she gets in. But that's where the real journey begins. Harvard students are not so accepting of this California girl and Elle struggles to fit in. Along the way she makes some new friends, successfully defends a high profile client in a murder trial and discovers what is really important to her in life.

The first act is a swirl of fun but pretty light fare with lots of upbeat songs like, "Omigod, you guys", "Positive" and "So Much Better". But the musical style does reflect the perky tone of the piece and the use of the "Greek" chorus (Elle's sorority sisters who become her conscience later on) is extremely clever. Act II has more of an interesting story to tell and consequently the songs mirror that.

Becky Gulsvig is enchanting in the demanding role of Elle (She never does seem to leave the stage.) With a voice reminiscent of Kristin Chenowith and a physical presence that's almost a clone of Reis Witherspoon, Ms. Gulsvig sings and dances for two and a half hours making it all look rather effortless. D. B. Bonds is endearing as Emmett Forrest, Elle's first friend at Harvard and future love interest. Ken Land is a welcome jolt of conflict as the villainous Professor Callahan especially with his song, "Blood in the Water" This number is a much needed bit of bitters to cut the vanilla flavoring of most of Act I. Mr. Land does a good job of making Callahan the feared, yet venerated professor, until he shows his true colors. CJay Hardy Philip (understudy) was very funny as Paulette, the sympathetic hair dresser that Elle befriends. There is no listing in the program of the actor who played Brendan, the UPS guy, so I can't laud his fab performance. The two dogs, Frankie and Nellie as Bruiser and Rufus, of course, steal whatever scenes they are in.

The costumes or variations on the color pink by Gregg Barnes were like jumping into a vat mixed with Express, The Limited, Charlotte Russe, Victoria's Secret and Forever 21. In short, every girl in the audience wants to go home wearing something from the show. My only caveat is that there seemed to be sound issues that kept us from hearing the pit orchestra as well as we should have. But these are glitches that will probably be worked out during the run.

The best thing about "Legally Blonde" - The Musical, is that, just as Elle Woods stays true to herself and wins over hearts at Harvard Law; this musical has remained true to the original hit movie and wins over audiences in the end.

For tickets call the Box Office at (302) 656-4401 or toll free at 1-800-338-0881, or log onto the DuPont Theatre's website at:

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