I saw the movie and the musical when it opened its road show at PPAC a few years ago, finding it light, fluffy and a bit too silly in the portrayal of its main character, Elle Woods.
Rhode Island’s Alyssa Gorgone has taken the role of the “dumb blonde” who is devastated when her snob of a boyfriend breaks up with her and follows him to Harvard Law School.
In this production, Elle doesn’t come off as a dingbat, showing her grit and determination from the get-go, cleverly finding her way from a UCLA sorority girl with a passion for clothes and hair to a rising star at Harvard.
Director Russell Garrett has kept things moving, using the large cast to enter and exit as they change sets for the 19 scenes. The only things heavy in this production are the sets.
The plot is light and uncomplicated. In spite of her modest upbringing, she is out to prove that she has what it takes to be a lawyer and to get her boyfriend back. Along the way she is befriended by a young lawyer (excellent performance by Adam Ryan Tackett), and you can see where this “friendship” is headed.
Elle is the legally blonde student who, in spite of her eccentricities, is filled with integrity and determination and is always true to herself. It all comes down to the final case, which gets a bit overdone with the gay theme, but ends up happily. Along the way we are treated to some first-rate singing and dancing, accompanied by a great band, led by Justin P. Cowan.
The opening number in the second act involves jump roping that requires some dexterity and talent, and the ensemble pulls it off nicely.
When Elle needs some encouragement, there is a Greek chorus of former sorority sisters that magically appears.
Comic relief is provided by Elle’s hairdresser (Nicolle Paloma Sarro) and the hilarious Sean Maddox. Two dogs add to the cuteness, and veteran Christopher Swan gets to play the bad guy after playing the King in “The King and I.”
Put it all together and you have a pleasant, enjoyable evening of theatre at Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre Company.
“Legally Blonde” plays through July 28. Tickets are $39-$49 and there’s not a bad seat in the air-conditioned theatre. Call 921-6800 for reservations.