1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 41

Legally Blonde the Musical, by Original Broadway Cast
Suggested by Rob Wagner

I’m a fan of legal drama, on film and TV. I find it soothing. It can be serious or comic, procedural or trial based. From Erin Brockavich to A Few Good Men, from My Cousin Vinny to Sleepers, from JFK to Devil’s Advocate. Hell, from Suits to The Bill to Juliet Bravo, I’ve likely watched it all.

If you’re too young to remember Juliet Bravo, then you can sod off, with your skinny jeans and your teeth and your hair.

Consequently, I’ve definitely seen Legally Blonde. I just can’t remember much about it. I do know the bones of the story: peppy bimbo is out of her depth at law school but overcomes everything, with hilarious results. I just don’t recall the finer details.

I’ve never seen Legally Blonde the Musical of course, which is fish of a slightly different kettle. I do enjoy musical theatre, especially comedy, but if you’re not familiar with the full showing, there’s always the issue of balance. Will the songs alone be enough to tell the story?

After powering through the entire soundtrack from the musical, performed by the original Broadway cast, I’d have to say that no, they don’t quite manage it.

I followed along for much longer than I anticipated. I enjoyed the full set-up arc, in which Elle’s character is established, and in which she’s ditched by the asshat fiancé and decides to follow him into Harvard Law in order to win him back. I also laughed along to her fumbled inductions to the law, and I enjoyed her developing stature amongst her peers. I particularly enjoyed Blood in the Water, as the fun legal conundrums pushed my buttons well.

Then I got a little lost, I think, when the more romantic songs kicked in. I became disengaged from the narrative, let a couple of tracks slide on by, and BOOM! Valedictorian. The end.

Musically? This was standard Broadway theatrical fare, with a couple of sassy twists. It suffered from the usually pox on the medium, the need to act out the songs with all the earnestness and pearly smiles you’d expect from first year drama students. Happily, this can be diluted when the show’s a comedy, as such excess can be lampooned. That’s a reason I why think the Book of Mormon is so successful (and hilarious): the cast are earnest because Theatre, and the cast are earnest because, well, Mormons.

I’ll bring down my gavel and grant this 5/10, because it was pretty standard fare that lost me in places. It did make me want to re-watch the movie, so count that as a plus. Court adjourned.

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