Omigod you guys – from Broadway to the West End, it’s finally here:
The Times’ Playlist magazine had a very pink looking cover wrap this weekend, shouting loud and proud that Elle is coming to town.
I’m a huge fan of the movie – that low-budget, enormously profitable surprise smash hit of 2001, that grossed $141m worldwide and catapulted a young Reese Witherspoon firmly into the A-list (she went on to command $15m for the sequel). My girlfriends share the love of the Blonde, but arguably I am the most ardent fan amongst us.
Hence why, on our New Year break in New York the year before last, when we were searching Broadway for a show that we all wanted to see, I somehow ended up winning the battle and dragging all four of us along.
Safe to say, they may hate to admit it, but we all had a total blast.
The biggest success for me – I guess as every musical should boast – was the music (rightly so, the Original Score earned the show one of its seven Tony nominations). The soundtrack, in lyric and arrangement, perfectly captures the exuberant, confident fun and frolics of Elle as she careers through the Harvard Law application process to win back her man. From the explosive opening Omigod You Guys to the empowering So Much Better (Elle’s first victory over Warner at Harvard). The bridge of the piece (the titular Legally Blonde) comes when Elle admits defeat and decides to pack her bags back to LA - one of the only slow numbers of the show, it culminates in a powerful duet with Emmet.
A fairly eclectic mix of a cast are bringing us the West End version. The naturally comedic Sheridan Smith (TV’s Gavin and Stacey, Two Pints of Lager…) takes the lead, and from the video preview on the show’s website, we’re assured she kicks ass with some very strong vocals. Boy band Blue’s Duncan James (having already proved his worth in the West End from a stint in Chicago) plays the smooth, gorgeous, arrogant object of Elle’s affections, Warner – while her emerging love interest Emmet is played by Canadian-born Alex Gaumond (fresh from We Will Rock You as Galileo). Two other very promising castings can be found in Jill Halfpenny as Paulette and the wonderful Peter Davison as Professor Callaghan.
Fairly obviously, it’s decidedly a show for fans of the movie, girls and those who are willing to suspend and notion of serious theatre for one night of unabashed silliness. It’s very pink, very blonde and never claims to be anything else – but if you are not enthusiastically tapping your foot and wholeheartedly rooting for Elle by the key change of the final reprise, I’d be surprised.
Tickets are on sale now, with previews starting towards the end of the month. Naturally I’ll be taking a front seat to see if the West End measures up to Broadway – and no doubt I’ll be dragging the girls along again. Only this time, they know they’ve got a guaranteed fun night ahead of them.
And if you’re not convinced, at least get your hands on the soundtrack. I personally promise it will get you dancing round your bedroom with a hairbrush.