Children's Theatre Of Annapolis Leaves Audiences Tickled Pink With Lively Production Of "Legally Blonde"
By Dylan Roche
Whats a girl to do when the love of her life breaks up with her and all because he thinks shes not serious? Audiences enjoyed a feisty, fun-filled frolic through the hallowed halls of Harvard Law as Childrens Theatre of Annapolis opened Legally Blonde on January 11. Thirty young performers ages 12-18 took the stage in the splashy musical comedy, delivering an exuberant evening of entertainment for both young and old. The musical plays through January 20, and local theatregoers will not want to miss the chance to enjoy CTAs vibrant rendition.
Fifteen-year-old Colleen Coleman stars as Elle Woods, a California blonde who pursues law school to win back the affections of her ex-boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Zeke Ouellette). Along the way, Elle has to face the unexpected challenges of her patronizing Professor Callahan (Mac Smith) and Warners snobby new girlfriend Vivienne Kensington (Maddie Poole). But with the help of her friendly TA Emmett (Austin Heemstra) and manicurist friend Paulette (Mariel White), Elle succeeds in overcoming her trials quite literally, in the case of Brooke Wyndham (Emily Freeman), a renowned workout guru accused of murder.
From the moment the lights rise on the opening number, its clear Legally Blonde is no ordinary childrens theatre production. A cast of triple-threats, a live orchestra, brilliant creative direction, magnificent set design and stylish costuming combine for a truly effective show.
Most astounding is the show of talent on the part of the teens. Legally Blonde boasts complex music, fast-paced dance numbers and a script that calls for strong command of comedy but the cast more than rises to the challenge, proving what a wealth of theatrical skill they possess.
Coleman and Heemstra are stupendous as the shows leads, carrying the musical numbers with admirable vocal talent and sharp comic timing. They both develop fully believable characters, breathing life into Elle and Emmet. Fans of the movie might remember Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson, but Coleman and Heemstra successfully make the roles their own.
They are supported by an equally strong principal cast. Ouellette and Poole, as Warner and Vivienne, carry themselves with a wonderfully snide sense of elitism, portraying a couple of antagonists whom an audience will love to hate. White, as Paulette, displays hilarious, over-the-top talents as a character actor; she milks each one of her lines with comedic skill.
Theres a high level of energy on the part of the ensemble as they keep with the musicals fast pace in a fierce display of professionalism. The leadership of director/choreographer Jason Kimmell and music director Joshua Konick is commendable, and the effort of the kids is incredible. Altogether, the production proves a great achievement for CTA.
Legally Blonde has been specially adapted for younger audiences and performers. The script, which has been approved by MTI (Musical Theatre International), tones down the language and sensuality. Parents of very young children, however, should note that the show still retains some mature themes.
Legally Blonde runs through January 20; performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. To order tickets, call the box office at 410-757-ACT1 or visit www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org.