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Playhouse Square's Legally Blonde offers surprisingly enjoyable escapist fare

Drew Scheeler

Issue date: 10/29/10 Section: Focus
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Playhouse Square's production of Legally Blonde, starring Nikki Bohne as Elle Woods (center), proved to be more enjoyable than one might expect, in part due to a need to scale back on sets and focus on characters.
Playhouse Square's production of Legally Blonde, starring Nikki Bohne as Elle Woods (center), proved to be more enjoyable than one might expect, in part due to a need to scale back on sets and focus on characters.
[Click to enlarge]
It's not often that life gives you a second chance to enjoy something you're fairly certain you're going to hate. The year is 2008 and this critic has just received his press pass to Playhouse Square. So imagine my surprise when the second show of that year, Legally Blonde the Musical, turned out to be a good, borderline-great show. But there's an underlying problem with this: I'm a normal, dateless guy; I hate catchy pop music and the color pink blinds me. Perhaps the novelty of seeing shows for free had biased my opinion. So two years and twenty shows removed from the first national tour I get an e-mail that Blonde was reappearing in Cleveland for a three-show stand this past weekend and I could get two free seats.

My original review from '08 calls Blonde "theatrical cotton candy" because it's pink, fluffy, and comprised of several strands loosely wrapped around a hollow, central premise of a ditzy debutante going to law school. Feminists beware, Elle Woods is enrolling at Harvard Law in hopes of renewing her romance with her dolt of a boyfriend, Warner. Elle then learns important life lessons: do the readings your professor assigns, sexual harassment is bad, and wearing only pink will get you laughed at. Unless you change to conform to society's standards, nobody will take you seriously.

One of the primary issues of the first national tour was that the show lost much of its decadence from Broadway. The sets, which were significantly downsized between Broadway and the first tour, are the most compacted yet. This ends up being a good thing as the newly downsized set draws more attention to the actors and the human aspect of the show. The world has changed since the excess of the early 2000's that inspired the original movie, and this set does an appropriate job reflecting that.
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Focus

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  • Playhouse Square's Legally Blonde offers surprisingly enjoyable escapist fare
  • Shaking things up
  • Small, yet dedicated group of materials science majors represent CWRU at convention in Houston
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