Legally Blonde (musical)

Legally Blonde (musical)

Infobox Musical
name= Legally Blonde


caption=Original Broadway production
music=Nell Benjamin
Laurence O'Keefe
lyrics=Nell Benjamin
Laurence O'Keefe
book=Heather Hach
basis= 2001 film "Legally Blonde"
2001 novel by Amanda Brown
productions= 2007 San Francisco
2007 Broadway
2008 U.S. National Tour
awards=

"Legally Blonde" is a musical based on the Amanda Brown novel and the 2001 film of the same name. The musical features a book by Heather Hach, music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, with direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell.

After a pre-Broadway tryout in San Francisco, California, the musical opened on Broadway on April 29, 2007 to mostly positive reviews. The musical was recorded for MTV in September 2007 and aired in October 2007.

A United States first national touring production is currently in production.

"Legally Blonde" will play its final performance on Broadway on October 19, 2008. [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/121695.html]

Productions

"Legally Blonde — The Musical" had its pre-Broadway tryout at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, California with previews beginning on January 23, 2007. It played its final performance in San Francisco on February 24, 2007. [ [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/105970.html] playbill.com article, 2/24/07] After some minor changes to the score and book, the show began previews on Broadway on April 3, 2007. The Broadway production officially opened on April 29, 2007 at the Palace Theatre to mostly positive reviews.

During the week ending June 24, 2007, the Broadway production achieved a milestone, joining the millionaires' club for weekly Broadway grosses, by grossing $1,003,282. [ [http://www.broadwayworld.com/grossesshow.cfm?show=LEGALLY%20BLONDE&sortby=gross&orderby=desc&year=2007 Legally Blonde grosses, broadwayworld] ] The production was nominated for seven Tony Awards but did not win any of them.

The musical was filmed for television in front of a live audience on September 18, 2007, as well as two other dates where it was filmed in an empty theatre. The three performances edited together were broadcast on the MTV network on October 13 and 14, 2007 with subsequent air dates on November 3 and 14, 2007. [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/111370.html "MTV Premiere of Legally Blonde — The Musical Moved to October", 9/26/07] MTV's involvement with the musical continued with a reality show program called "", which aimed to cast the next actress to play Elle Woods on Broadway, replacing actress Laura Bell Bundy.cite news|last=Hetrick|first=Adam|title="Whipped into Shape": Legally Blonde MTV Reality Show to Debut June 2; Duff Hosts|publisher=Playbill|date=2008-05-02|url=http://www.playbill.com/news/article/117358.html|accessdate=2008-05-03] The show was hosted by Haylie Duff, and premiered on June 2, 2008 on MTV. The competition was won by Bailey Hanks, age 20, from Anderson, South Carolina.cite web|last=Hetrick|first=Adam|title=Omigod! Bailey is New Star of Broadway's "Legally Blonde"; Three Finalists Also Land Roles|publisher=Playbill|date=2008-07-21|url=http://www.playbill.com/news/article/119676.html|accessdate=2008-07-22] The results were first aired on July 21, 2008 on MTV.cite web|last=Hetrick|first=Adam|title=Broadway's Next Elle Woods Will Get a Single of "So Much Better" July 22|publisher=Playbill|date=2008-07-14|url=http://www.playbill.com/news/article/119446.html|accessdate=2008-07-22] Her debut as Elle Woods was the 8:00 P.M. showing on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. The runner-up, Autumn Hurlbert, also debuted during this show as a sorority sister in Delta Nu.

A U.S. touring production has been announced to start on September 23, 2008.cite news | last= Hetrick | first= Adam| title=Road Trip! Legally Blonde Announces National Tour Dates | publisher=Playbill | date=2008-04-01 | accessdate=2008-04-02 | url=http://www.playbill.com/news/article/116410.html ] Actress Becky Gulsvig, who appeared in the ensemble of the original Broadway cast and understudied the role of Elle Woods, will lead the first national tour as Elle Woods.cite news | last= Hetrick | first= Adam| title=Harvard Variations: Gulsvig Will Lead Legally Blonde National Tour | publisher=Playbill | date=2008-05-01 | accessdate=2008-05-02 | url=http://www.playbill.com/news/article/117332.html ] Lauren Zakrin and Rhiannon Hansen, both finalists of the MTV reality show, will also perform in the national tour with Zakrin as Elle's understudy/ ensemble and Hansen as Margot. [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/119676.html] A West End production of the show is planned for Spring 2009, to be produced by Sonia Freidman. [ [http://www.legallyblondethemusical.co.uk London Website Holding Page] ] [ [http://www.whatsonstage.com/board/index.php?=3010 Legally Blonde Confirmed - November 2008 - Whatsonstage.com Discussion Board] ] [ [http://www.whatsonstage.com/index.php?pg=207&story=E8821201775932 whatsonstage.com] ]

In August of 2008 V&V Entertainment, a big Dutch producer, announced that they will be the first one to translate and bring the musical in 2010 to The Netherlands after the National Tour of Hairspray.Fact|date=September 2008

The Broadway production will close October 19, 2008 after 30 previews and 595 performances. [http://www.broadway.com/Gen/Buzz_Story.aspx?ci=571649] The show will transfer to the West End in the first quarter of 2009.

ynopsis

Act I

The overjoyed girls of UCLA's sorority Delta Nu, led by Margot, Serena, and Pilar, celebrate the imminent engagement of Warner Huntington III, to their blonde sorority president, Elle Woods, who is fretting over finding the perfect dress for the occasion ("Omigod You Guys"). Once she acquires her dream dress, the girls send Elle off to dinner with Warner, where he tells Elle that he needs someone more serious ("Serious") and breaks up with her. Elle is devastated and sulks for twelve days ("Daughter of Delta Nu") but comes up with a plan to win back Warner after seeing a picture of his brother's fiancée: "someone serious, lawyerly and somebody who wears black when nobody's dead" ("What You Want"). She decides to chase Warner to Harvard Law School to show him that she can be serious. With help from Delta Nu sister Kate, Elle studies for the LSATs, missing all spring semester parties in the name of love. In place of writing a personal essay, Elle bursts into the Harvard admission offices with Margot, Serena, Pilar, a squad of cheerleaders and the entire UCLA marching band to prove that she is Harvard material. Despite first being turned down, she is ultimately accepted after revealing that she's motivated by love.

Elle's snobby classmates disapprove of her attire, and the only person who is willing to help her out is the law teaching assistant, Emmett Forrest ("The Harvard Variations"). However, he cannot protect her in class with the blood-thirsty Professor Callahan ("Blood in the Water"). Callahan kicks the under-prepared Elle out of class at the suggestion of her classmate Vivienne Kensington, who happens to be Warner's new girlfriend. This tragedy summons the apparitions of the sisters of Delta Nu, who, acting as a Greek Chorus visible and audible only to Elle, tell her to stay positive ("Positive"), and suggest ways of winning Warner back. Elle, deciding that being blonde is the problem, decides to become a brunette. She heads to the salon The Hair Affair, where she meets beautician Paulette who tells Elle that when she is down, she puts on her favorite CD, and dreams of Ireland ("Ireland"). At the Hair Affair, Vivienne gives Elle a surprise invitation to a "costume party". Paulette sends Elle off with a costume for the party, her positivity and blonde hair still intact ("Ireland (Reprise)").

Walking into the party as a Playboy bunny, Elle realizes that she has been tricked by Vivienne into thinking it was a costume party, but, with courage, Elle seeks out Warner in an effort to win him back ("Serious (Reprise)"). Warner still does not take Elle seriously. Elle runs away from the party, only to run into Emmett. Emmett, who raised himself from poverty through hard work, is unimpressed by Elle's love problems ("Chip on My Shoulder"). He slowly gets Elle to re-examine her priorities till she realizes it's her very obsession with Warner that keeps her from buckling down and earning his respect ("Pull The Trigger"). Finally freed from her need to please Warner, she defeats Warner in a classroom debate. She then helps out Paulette in a way that shows her that she is truly beginning to understand law. Elle and Emmett are then notified that Callahan is taking on a murder case, and Emmett gets the chance to be co-counsel. Warner and Vivienne win two of Callahan's coveted internship positions, and Warner proposes to Vivienne on the spot right in front of Elle. Before Elle's heart can break, Emmett shows her the internship list. Below the names of Vivienne, Warner, and classmate Enid Hoopes is the name "Elle Woods" ("So Much Better").

Act II

Callahan, Emmett, and the four interns are studying the jump rope workout video of their newest client, fitness mogul Brooke Wyndham ("Whipped into Shape"). Brooke's stepdaughter, Chutney, is accusing Brooke of murdering Brooke's much older husband. Callahan and the interns visit Brooke in jail, but are unable to extract an alibi from her, until she is alone with Elle. Elle recognizes Brooke as a former Delta Nu member ("Delta Nu Nu Nu"). Swearing Elle to secrecy, Brooke reveals her alibi: she was getting liposuction on the day of the murder. Not willing to betray her Delta Nu loyalty, Elle asks Callahan to trust her when she says that Brooke is innocent. Callahan then releases his rage on Emmett. Emmett begs Elle to break her promise. Elle refuses, but then offers to help impress Callahan in a different way by taking Emmett to a department store ("Take It Like a Man"). The results impress both of them.

Back at the Hair Affair, Elle is getting a manicure when in walks the sexy new UPS man, Kyle. Paulette is nothing short of stunned, but she is too shy to talk to him, believing that she has nothing to offer. As she bends down to pick up the package, however, Margot, Serena and Pilar are summoned by Paulette's amazing "Bend and Snap", and the girls are now visible not only to Elle but also to Paulette. The sorority girls tell Paulette to use the "Bend and Snap" on Kyle, but when she does, after he returns to retrieve his stylus, she accidentally breaks his nose ("Bend and Snap").

On the third day of Brooke's trial, Brooke's pool boy, Nikos Argitakos, shocks the court by claiming to have an affair with Brooke. Brooke denies it, and Elle believes her. Elle tries the "Bend and Snap," twice, in front of Nikos and gets no response. She concludes that he is gay, while Callahan believes him to be simply European ("There! Right There!"). The question baffles everyone until it is revealed by Carlos, Nikos' boyfriend, that Nikos is gay "and" European.

Later that night in Callahan's office, the interns celebrate Elle's skill. However, after dismissing Emmett and the other interns, Callahan forcibly kisses Elle, who slaps him. In turn, Callahan fires her. As a heartbroken Elle is left stunned in the office, Warner and Vivienne, who both saw the kiss, though only Vivienne saw the slap, enter. Warner mocks Elle, but Vivienne tells him to shut up and they both leave. A defeated Elle prepares to go home, even though Emmett asks her to stay ("Legally Blonde").

Elle heads to the Hair Affair to say goodbye to Paulette, but before she can leave, Vivienne reveals herself from under a hairdryer and convinces Elle otherwise ("Legally Blonde Remix"). Elle discards her lawyerly navy suits, dons a fabulous pink dress and leads a parade back to the courtroom, along the way picking up her parents as well as Margot, Serena and Pilar, who have flown to Boston to watch her in person. The last person they pick up is Kyle, who takes a liking to Paulette, and reveals himself to be the Irish man of her dreams. This, of course, prompts a Riverdance amongst the ensemble. Back at the trial, Brooke fires Callahan and hires Elle while Emmett, a licensed lawyer, supervises. Chutney goes to the witness stand and her testimony is damning, but Elle triumphs by revealing Chutney's lie with her knowledge of hair maintenance ("Omigod You Guys (Reprise)"). Chutney accidentally confesses that she was the one who killed her father, believing him to be Brooke, because she hated having a mother younger than herself. Elle's victory is so great that Warner proposes to her, having been dumped by Vivienne. Elle gently refuses, claiming to have been changed by the experience ("Find My Way").

Three years later, Elle ends up as the valedictorian of her class. Paulette tells the audience that Enid practices family law, Vivienne is training for the Peace Corps, and Warner quits law school to pursue a modeling career. Callahan ran for governor but was defeated, and his wife hired Emmett to handle their divorce. Paulette married Kyle, had two kids, and is pregnant with a third. They live in Worcester, Massachusetts and Paulette bought a new salon. At the end of the graduation ceremony, Elle proposes to Emmet, and Emmet accepts ("Finale").

Original Broadway cast

Musical numbers

;Act I
*Omigod You Guys — Elle, Serena, Margot, Pilar, Company
*Serious — Elle, Warner
*Daughter of Delta Nu* — Serena, Margot, Pilar, Company
*What You Want — Elle, Serena, Margot, Pilar, Company
*The Harvard Variations — Emmett, Aaron, Enid, Padamadan, Harvard Students
*Blood in the Water — Callahan, Company
*Positive — Elle, Serena, Margot, Pilar, Greek Chorus
*Ireland — Paulette
*Ireland (Reprise) — Paulette
*Serious (Reprise) — Elle, Warner
*Chip on My Shoulder — Elle, Emmett, Greek Chorus, Company
*So Much Better — Elle, Greek Chorus, Company;Act II
*Whipped Into Shape — Brooke, Callahan, Company
*Delta Nu Nu Nu* — Brooke, Elle
*Take It Like a Man — Elle, Emmett, Salespeople
*Bend and Snap — Elle, Paulette, Serena, Margot, Pilar, and Salonfolk
*There! Right There! — Elle, Callahan, Emmett, Brooke, Vivienne, Warner, Enid, Judge, Nikos, Carlos, Company
*Legally Blonde — Elle, Emmett
*Legally Blonde Remix — Vivienne, Elle, Enid, Company
*Scene Of The Crime* — Elle, Judge, Serena, Margot, Pilar and Company
*Find My Way/Finale — Elle, Paulette, Emmett, Company

During its San Francisco run, the musical included a song called "Love and War" [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyfIrq_lc8E YouTube - Love and War ] ] in place of what is now "Positive." The song featured, at times, very similar lyrics and choreography to that of the current version, though with a different melody and harmonic structure. Another predecessor to "Positive" was "Beacon of Positivity," [ [http://www.castalbums.org/songs/30436 Beacon of Positivity [CastAlbums.org ] ] which had the same general idea behind it, but lacked a dance break.

Where Paulette's song "Ireland" is now, there was originally a song entitled "Good Boy", [ [http://www.castalbums.org/songs/30438 Good Boy [CastAlbums.org ] ] in which Paulette and Elle bond over the idea that men are like dogs and should therefore be treated as such.

Other cut songs include two sung by Professor Callahan: one entitled "Rock Star", [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYOMt9QSjaU YouTube - Legally Blonde - Rockstar ] ] in which he tells Elle about his first job (as the legal representative of a rock star); and one entitled "Name Your Price", in which he dispenses career advice to Elle. Both of these songs were used (in different versions of the show) in the moment before Callahan kisses Elle, but in the final version of the musical, no song exists there.

* Not featured on Original Broadway Cast Recording

Recordings

The Original Broadway Cast recording was recorded on May 7 and 8, 2007 and released on July 17, 2007 by Ghostlight Records (an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records). During the week of July 23, 2007, the cast album made its debut on Billboard's Cast Album chart, placing at #1 and charted at #86 on the Billboard 200. [http://www.playbill.com/news/article/109842.html playbill.com article, 7/26/07] The album sold 93,000+ copies as of May 2008.

Prior to opening for previews, a promotional sampler CD was released featuring "Omigod You Guys", "So Much Better", and "Take It Like a Man", featuring a slightly divergent cast, arrangement and lyrics of that of the final show's. These songs were all re-recorded for the cast recording. [ [http://www.castalbums.org/recordings/5413 Legally Blonde > Promo Recording [CastAlbums.org ] ]

During the development phase of the musical, a demo recording was released with twelve songs featuring Kerry Butler and others as Elle. The demo featured the original versions of "There! Right There!" (originally called "Gay or European"), "Blood in the Water", "Omigod You Guys", "Serious", "What You Want", "Legally Blonde", "Legally Blonde Remix", "So Much Better", "Take It Like a Man", and also featured two songs that are not present in the final show. These included "Beacon of Positivity" which would later become "Love and War" and eventually "Positive", and "Good Boy", a song in the place of "Ireland. [http://www.castalbums.org/recordings/4627 Legally Blonde > Demo Recording [CastAlbums.org ] ]

Bailey Hanks, who won the reality show "", recorded the song "So Much Better", which was released as a single on July 22, 2008.

Critical response

The musical received mixed reviews but many praised the show for being a fun and upbeat production. Ben Brantley, reviewing the musical in "The New York Times", wrote that the show was "high-energy, empty-calories and expensive-looking hymn to the glories of girlishness..."; he praised Laura Bell Bundy: "she sings and dances flawlessly, and she delivers silly lines as if she meant them."

Clive Barnes, in his "New York Post" review, wrote that he loved the "effervescent and radiant Bundy..." as well as others in the cast, and that the "dances certainly have a slick snap, crackle and pop..."

Elysa Gardner in the "USA Today" wrote that the musical was an "ingratiating trifle", and the "...game cast ensure that the proceedings, however patronizing, aren't irritating." ["USA Today", May 4, 2007]

Whilst referring to the TV show respected UK television critic Patrice Savage wrote in the Brent Musical Review "What kind of society are we living in where young females look up to this character as a role model when there are so many non-fictional women leading outstanding lives who go unrecognised".

Jeremy McCarter in "New York Magazine" wrote that the musical unfortunately "doesn’t summon memories of Tracy Flick, the steely student-council campaigner that Reese Witherspoon played in "Election " before starring in "Legally Blonde". The fleeting glimpses of a Flickish manic drive just below Elle’s silly Malibu surface are what I liked best in the film. It’s the kind of freaky detail that no amount of cheery blandness can replace." [ [http://nymag.com/arts/theater/reviews/31513/ Bialystock and Gloom] , Jeremy McCarter, "New York", May 3, 2007]

Awards and nominations

;Tony Awards
*Best Book of a Musical (Heather Hach) (nomination)
*Best Original Score (Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin) (nomination)
*Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Laura Bell Bundy) (nomination)
*Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Christian Borle) (nomination)
*Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Orfeh) (nomination)
*Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell) (nomination)
*Best Costume Design of a Musical (Gregg Barnes) (nomination);Drama Desk Awards
*Outstanding Musical (nomination)
*Outstanding Book of a Musical (Heather Hach) (nomination)
*Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Laura Bell Bundy) (nomination)
*Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Christian Borle) (nomination)
*Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Orfeh) (nomination)
*Outstanding Choreography (Jerry Mitchell) (nomination)
*Outstanding Director of a Musical (Jerry Mitchell) (nomination)
*Outstanding Lyrics (Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin) (nomination)
*Outstanding Music (Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin) (nomination)
*Outstanding Set Design of a Musical (David Rockwell) (nomination);Outer Critics Circle Awards
*Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Orfeh) (nomination);Drama League Award
*Distinguished Production of a Musical (nomination)
*Distinguished Performance (Christian Borle) (nomination)
*Distinguished Performance (Laura Bell Bundy) (nomination);Actors' Equity Association's Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs
*Outstanding Broadway Chorus (win);Daytime Emmy Awardcite news | last=Hetrick | first=Adam | title=Legally Blonde and Tartaglia Among Daytime Emmy Nominees | publisher=Playbill | date=2008-04-30 | url=http://www.playbill.com/news/article/117293.html | accessdate=2008-05-01] (for the MTV airing)
*Outstanding Special Class Direction (nomination)
*Outstanding Special Class Special (nomination)

References

External links

* [http://www.legallyblondethemusical.com/ Official website]
*
* [http://movies2.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/theater/reviews/30blon.html New York Times review]
* [http://www.nypost.com/seven/04302007/entertainment/theater/whither_spoon__theater_clive_barnes.htm New York Post review]
* [http://www.legallyblonde.mtv.com/ MTV's page on "Legally Blonde: The Musical"]


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