Omigod, you guys.
In a triumph of understatement, I am thrilled to bring to you the happiest news! “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” which opened Friday night at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head Island, is a totally, top notch delight.
Absolutely loaded with good things, it boasts all of the elements that make successful musical theater so successful.
The storyline is wonderfully funny and delightfully convoluted. All of the intricate parts come together in the most appealing and surprising way.
The outstanding cast of some 20 professional actors, singers and dancers, even a Greek Chorus — along with two terrific puppies, Bruiser (ChaCha Zizzi) and Rufus (Samson Brown) — bring you this amazing chain of events with spectacular style, sensitivity and striking good humor.
The direction and choreography, again, top of the line, comes from New York director and choreographer Todd L. Underwood, and the first-class musical, direction is from Bradley Vieth.
Look forward to “Omigod, You Guys,” “A Chip on my Shoulder,” “So Much Better,” “Bend and Snap,” and of course, “Legally Blonde.”
We sit on the edge of our seats in rapt attention. Seriously, no one wants to miss the sound of the next note, nor the content of next line.
The story line
The story-packed story line had its beginnings through a much-read novel by Amanda Brown, and it was further enjoyed by many more as a film by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. That was in 2001 (hard to believe), which was and continues to be right on the mark (and, by the way, offered, I’d guess, no less than twice a month on any one of the movie channels).
Our arts center production has some delightfully subtle updating and restating, which offer the same incredible, completely wonderful, events that challenged Elle Woods (Tristen Buettel) on the celebration of her successes at UCLA.
Let me just say that the bubbly, energetic Elle Woods is a state-of-the- art gorgeous blonde, completely has it all .... lovely, kind, gracious and, though privileged, has a heart of gold.
She’s also a 4.0 student, and president of the Delta Nu house. She’s completely loved by her sisters of Delta Nu, and we find further, just moments into the first act, that she is excitedly anticipating a marriage proposal from her longtime boyfriend, the handsome though self-involved Warner (Nick Jones).
Fascinatingly, and at the core of our production, we are offered careful, closeup views to women, young women, their associations, friendships, their support of each other, and especially, into the second act, a focused look at women becoming who they are capable of becoming.
Just so you’ll know, not all of the focus is on the distaff side of the women and men equation. There are frequent glances at men, younger and older, becoming men and growing further, as they face the challenges of life requiring their stepping up to the mark, making yes and no decisions, redefining their growing edge.
Some of the men’s redefining edges are, as time moves along, a bit disappointing.
So what else? Deep breath ... as we revisit the plot line .... Elle, devastated by the impossible rejection from Warren, who is off to Harvard Law, decides that the way to win him back is to be admitted to Harvard, and join him there, where he might regard her more highly as a student of law.
She is admitted, and the entire admission process is hilarious.
The disappointment comes as once in class, her pleasure about her positioning at Harvard takes a dark turn. She, all dressed in gorgeous mode, is laughed at and scorned by almost everybody.
Though doubted and rejected by the professor and all of her classmates, she nevertheless finds some support by the sensitive Emmett (Christopher Behmke). It is he who is able to counsel her wisely, and, in turn, she is gradually seeing herself, and being seen, in a different light.
Elle meets up with beautician Paulette (Jillian Jarrett) at Hair Affair, seeking advice about making some changes to her hair. Paulette’s a wonderful, kindhearted woman who gives Elle some good advice ... and Elle does the same. In return.
When you really get to know the amazing Paulette, you’ll hear in your mind’s eye, “bend and snap!” Riotous, in her hands, its kind of a leit motif through the musical.
You’ll meet Kyle, too. He’s sexy and has a physique that won’t stop. He announces, as he stands in the door at Hair Affair in his UPS uniform, that he is here to “deliver a package!”
You’ll meet Brooke (Nicole Benoit) the famous fitness video star, who is accused of murder, and the others associated with the legal case. A murderer, the daughter of the murdered, a pool attendant, his “best friend,” and the arrogant law professor, Callahan (Mark Epperson). The courthouse scenes are amazingly funny — and illuminating.
It’s a coruscating, captivating plot, revealed as all of the pieces do fall amazingly into place. The cast is exquisite, the characters whom they deliver to the audience are exquisite, too. As the second act moves toward resolution, everyone on stage seems to become more of what they have become. Total perfection!
If you go
What: “Legally Blonde: The Musical”
Where: The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island.
When: Through Aug. 4.
Information: Artshhi.com; 843-842-2787 or 888-860-2787.