Thursday, September 6, 2007
I finally saw Legally Blonde last night and I absolutely loved! Was it a revolutionary and life-altering theatrical experience? Nope. It was like going 120 MPH in Barbie's Ferrari on a 12-pack of Red Bull and crashing into an ice cream truck. It met every expectation I had, and completely satisfied my Broadway sweet tooth.
I actually went with my dear friends Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Junior. (Truth be told, we took separate cars...and sat in separate rows....and they actually didn't know I was gonna be there....and I've never met them, but they were totally sitting right in front of me!) Sarah Michelle's still got it. Freddie Prinze with a "Z", on the other hand, has put on some weight, and was lookin' a little "Puffy the Vampire Slayer". They still make a cute couple though, and I had a lovely time braiding their hair during the show.
Laura Bell Bundy (another triple-named triple-threat) was in top form last night. I was pretty impressed by her, especially after early speculation by most NY critics, who all seemed torn up over the fact that she was "no Reese Witherspoon", whose genius made the movie a success. I enjoy Reese too, and she clearly gave a memorable performance in the role, but she ain't Dame Judi Dench. Get over it, I say. As Broadway's Elle Woods, I found Laura Bell perfectly lovable and adorable. She even sounded great. With the possible exception of her last big note at the end of Act 1, which was broken down into two parts for our listening pleasure. The first seemed to come from her vagina, in the wrong key, which was followed by a desperate gasp for air. Then came a second attempt at the original note, this time from her ass, appropriately a little lower and still very much incorrect. I let it go though, the same way I forgave Idina Menzel every time she'd botch that final shriek, hovering high above Oz. Unfortunately, Ms. Bundy was not catapulted 20 feet into mid-air to distract from her mistake.
I've always been a fan of the show's second Tony Nominee, Orfeh (even though she has only the one name.) She's got a great presence, a big gorgeous voice full of soul, and never says no to a good vocal run, making the cast recording a hell of a lot of fun to work out to. That said, I think the casting of Orfeh as Paulette, the unfortunate hairdresser with a heart as big as her lips, is an example of a great performer in someone else's great role. To me, it's not a perfect match. Because the writing for the part is not strong enough to stand on its own, I think it requires the delicate touch of a more seasoned character actress like Jennifer Coolidge, who was brilliant in the movie, or SNL's quirky Rachel Dratch, who did the workshop. Orfeh has a natural sex appeal that's not effectively camouflaged by a ratty hairdo, and is lacking a certain undefinable comedic quality possessed by the aforementioned Paulette's. This ultimately sacrifices a potentially scene-stealing character to blend in with the ensemble of sorority sisters. On top of all this, she was definitely phoning it in a little last night...(and she called collect.) And while hers is by no means a bad performance, I wonder...Was a Tony nomination really called for? I think in this case a lovely fruit basket would have been more than sufficient.
The target audience for Legally Blonde is high school girls (like myself), and like the rest of the experience, they certainly did not disappoint. Particularly, the group surrounding me. You might say I was privileged to experience each performance twice. Once by the actors on stage, and once more by the girl directly behind me who agreed to repeat every other line for the girl next to her, who had difficulty hearing over the insightful character analysis and scene breakdown being presented by the girl next to her. (Frankly, I preferred the delivery by the Original Broadway Cast.) This honestly kept up for two and a half hours. I was ready to bend and SLAP.
But even with the audio commentary and singing hoo-ha's, I had a fantastic time, and I'm sure I'll be going back for seconds. Snaps, U guys!!