Legally Blonde the Musical

Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington

12/05/2016 - 21/05/2016

Production Details

Get ready for the fabulous, award-winning musical based on the adored 2001 film. Legally Blonde The Musical follows the transformation of sorority girl Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery, and scandal in pursuit of her dreams at Harvard Law.

Our Director, Ben Emerson set out to make a show that was relevant to a modern 2016 Wellington audience by reinventing characters, and focusing on themes that are still heavily present in our society today.

Legally Blonde The Musical is an insanely fun show with a lot of heart The Wellington Footlights Society uses its quirky brand of energy and style to bring this exciting show to life. 

Whitireia Theatre, Vivian st, Wellington
12-21 May 2016

Elle Woods - Kirsty Moir
Margot/Elle Woods Understudy - Brigid Boyle
Serena - Ellie Stewart
Pilar - Kree McMillan
Emmet Forrest - Ed Blunden
Paulette Bonafonté - Karen Anslow
Professor Callahan - Mike Bryant
Warner Huntington III - Dominic Taffs
Vivienne Kensington - Ziyanda Matshe
Brooke Wyndham - Stacey O’Brien
Enid Hoops - Ruby Kemp
Kyle - Joseph Mara

With a stellar supporting cast and ensemble featuring:
Abigail Helsby, Catherine Gavigan-Binnie, Charlotte Thomas, Chloe Garrett, Edon Hoppener, Ethan Fogarty, Henry Shum, Kevin Orlando, Laura Gardner, Margaret Hill, Rebecca Tate, Sara McBride, Talia Carlisle, Tania Dreaver and William Deane.

Keyboard 1: Stephen Clothier
Keyboard 2: Sue Windsor
Piccolo / Flute / Clarinet / Alto Saxophone: Robert Dil
Clarinet / Soprano Saxophone / Tenor Saxophone / Baritone Saxophone: Geraint Scott
Trumpet: Jemma Sergent
Trombone: Isaac Stone
Guitar / Mandolin: Bruno Shirley
Electric / String Bass: Bernadette Stander
Percussion: Paul Gadd
Drum Kit: Felix Nesbitt
Violin / Offstage vocals: Chloe Garrett

Assistant Director - Briar Franks
Assistant Music Director - Stephen Clothier
Dance Captain - Rebecca Tate
Stage Manager - Tessa Alderton
Assistant Stage Manager - Samanatha Burnard
Producer Representative - Karen Anslow
Lighting Designer - Rowan McShane
Lighting Operator - James Ruscoe
Costume Designer - Lisa Kiyomoto-Fink
Costume Supervisor & Wardrobe Manager - Mel Campbell
Costume Construction Assistant - Mickie Anderson
Sound Design - Darryn Woods
Publicity - Patrick Jennings, Ben Emerson & Rory Stewart
Set Designers - Marie Swanson & Ben Emerson
Set Assistants - Darryn Woods, David Young, Christopher Huszka & Dominic Taffs

Theatre , Musical ,

Funny and fluffy with strong messages

Review by Jo Hodgson 14th May 2016

Legally Blonde is an all singing, all dancing story of love, having faith in and being true to one’s self, not judging a book by its cover and the power of the sisterhood.

Full of wonderful pastiche and cheese wrapped in a gentle layer of heart and a shimmy of sass, the story is about sorority president Elle Wood’s quest to become more ‘serious’ to win back her ex – Warner Huntington III. This takes her to Harvard to study law and she is helped on her journey of self-discovery by attorney Emmett Forrest, hairdresser Paulette Bunofuonte and her unwavering sorority ‘Greek chorus’ sisters Serena, Pilar and Margot . They challenge her to be so much more than the stereotypical Blonde and to rise above the institutional sexism exhibited by pompous Professor Callahan.

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the movie by MGM, Legally Blonde The Musical is a very clever and fun piece of theatre. Director Ben Emerson has utilised the stage at Whitireia Performance centre cleverly with minimal props, form benches and a building-frame set which can represents shop windows or the university and court room walls with enhancing lighting designed by Rowan McShane. The bright arena styled lighting is used to great effect in the large showy dance numbers and the variety of costumes (Lisa Kiyomoto Fink) reflect the characters’ personalities well.

The music is upbeat and current, covering styles from pop (modern and yesteryear), and rap with rare moments of reflective ballad. The band powers along under the baton of Michael Stebbings to support the actors and dancers who pop, lock and shake to the slick and high octane choreography of Briar Franks.

Kirsty Moir is a strong Elle Woods, passionate and full of hopes and dreams, albeit misguided in what/who she is actually pursuing. She quickly transforms some initial nervous disconnect into a gutsy confident and secure performance with focused stylised singing.

Ed Blunden has a light beauty to his voice and delivers his role of Emmett with poignancy and honest good guy character. The developing relationship and chemistry between him and Elle is delightful and poignant particularly in songs like ‘Chip on my Shoulder’and ‘Legally Blonde’.

The whole company is totally committed to the story through their singing, dancing and often hilarious characterisations with many stepping into the multitude of smaller cameo roles, giving chances to shine and gain performing confidence and skill without having to take on a larger role. 

Legally Blonde offers a diverse range of character roles. Paulette, a genuine, heart-on-her-sleeve kind of gal isplayed by Karen Anslow, who relishes this humorous role and shows off her wide range of vocal and acting skills. Both Dominic Taffs, the cavalier Warner, and Mike Bryant, the supercilious Professor Callanan, bring out the unlikeable and fallible traits of their characters well. Ziyanda Matshe’s Vivienne Kensington travels her own road of discovery from distain of Elle to a follower in her excellently sung ‘Legally Blonde remix’, while Ruby Kemp as Enid Hoops shows her versatility in both voice and comedy.

Of real note are the three lead sorority sisters Serena (Ellie Stewart), Pilar (Kree McMillan) and Margot (Brigid Boyle) who command the stage individually and especially as a group. Their obvious fun and connection is infectious. And I have to mention Stacey O’Brien’s character Brooke and her insanely good performance of ‘Whipped into Shape’ – a skipping singing exercise that all performers should put into their warmup routine for stamina!

As much as the story is funny and light and fluffy, it also brings strong messages to all of us in the audience: To thine own self be true (Shakespeare); love does not necessarily conquer all; us girls need to stick together, and sometimes having a chip on one’s shoulder can inspire us to do great things.

It’s a text-heavy show and lines come out thick and fast with lots of switching between nuance and comedy. The balance of sound mostly works but with no head mics it’s important that performers watch the direction of their singing so it doesn’t get lost in the colour of the instrumentation.

Wellington Footlights Society are filling a niche in Wellington’s musical theatre scene for performers to perform in a variety of revues and medium sized musicals that can be staged relatively simply without the need for a full theatre stage with flying equipment, and they are providing a platform to mentor and grow the young performers of today and tomorrow. 

So snap those Delta Nu sorority fingers and grab your sisters (or brothers) and get along for a fun night of theatre and remember: being true to yourself, never goes out of style.


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