While I live in downtown Dallas, the drive to Fort Worth along I-30 is quite nice. I couldn’t find one pothole or rough spot along the road. It was smooth sailing and we were there in about thirty minutes. I wish I could say the same for Stemmons Freeway that I drive on everyday. I digress. Walking into Bass Hall always takes my breath away. This is what theater is meant to be. Let’s move onto the show.
The show starts with a number in which all of Elle’s (our leading lady, played flawlessly by Becky Gulsvig) girlfriends are preparing for her arrival. They are all very excited because she is about to be proposed to by her longtime beau Warren. The first number is my least favorite. “Omigod You Guys” is a peppy number that lays down the plotline that Elle is preparing for the imminent proposal she is to receive later that evening. I found myself distracted by the constant and unexplained finger snapping of the chorus of young attractive women. I knew it meant something, as it was not tightly choreographed like the dancing, but I had no idea what, and it was many scenes later before Elle says “that deserves snaps” and it all makes sense.
Luckily, the first number was not indicative of the rest of the show. From the second scene through the finale, I found myself on a nonstop joy ride, one that I did not want to end. I found myself rooting for this Elle’s success, I found her fun and likeable: completely unlike the character I saw in the movie. The entire cast is superb, the music amazing. I found myself singing along with some of the songs, none of which I had ever heard before. Some cast members are from the original Broadway cast and it shows. The sets were fantastic and costumes fabulous (except for one that had Elle arriving at Harvard in knee high pink lace up boots with stretch pants).
I also love the one liner’s and there were many. Elle is confused by people “who wear black when nobody’s dead?” Or the advice of a girlfriend who offers: “Keep it positive as you pull her hair and call her a whore!” There are many others that you will want to remember and use later.
The entire cast is superb. Elle, Warren, Enid the Lesbian, Vivienne, Emmett, and the Professor: amazing; the Judge in the courtroom scene-what a voice. However there is always a stand out. Will and Grace had Jack and Karen, The Golden Girls had Sophia, and Legally Blonde has Paulette. Played by Natalie Joy Johnson this character and her performance took this show from amazing to extraordinary. Paulette is a bit insecure when we meet her, just escaping from an abusive relationship. She works in what appears to be the only Beauty Shop near Harvard. I say Beauty Shop, because it is no salon, though it has one obviously gay employee. I have tried to think of the best way to describe her performance and I found her to be a cross between Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy. She was funny, likeable, and can she sing. I found myself on the edge of my seat every time she took the stage. I wanted more of her and I wanted her to have a happy ending. Johnson is from the original Broadway cast, and it shows, though she has changed characters, and I am glad she did. For those out there with fantasies about your UPS man, and you know who you are, you are in for a treat too. This UPS man always shows up with a package. The show runs about two and a half hours with one fifteen minute intermission.
If you live within driving distance of Fort Worth, this is a show you cannot miss. I went in expecting disappointment and walked out with a smile on my face. The flawless Bass Hall has perfect acoustics’ which just made this night a complete joy all around.
Legally Blonde-The Musical runs through Sunday at the fabulous Bass Performance Hall in Downtown Fort Worth. Tickets are $30-$85 and worth every penny. Visit www.basshall.com or call 817-212-4280 to purchase.
Casa Manana presents another don’t miss event on August 29th. Martin Short performs from his Broadway One Man Show. I have it on good authority Jiminy Glick will also appear. Short headlines this years’ Casa Gala. More info at www.casamanana.org/gala