Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
Directed and choreographed by Dennis Clark, this production had the high energy that only a young cast can bring. Legally Blonde demands that youthful exuberance. Unfortunately it did not have focus to bring the characters out of the realm of stereotypes that the audience could emotionally connect with them. Almost all of the leading performances lacked that specificity. I was unable to get to this production until very late in its run, so I don't know if the fault lies with Mr. Clark's direction or if the cast was tired from an overdose of holiday sparkle. I was just unable to really care about Elle Woods and her cronies here.
Miranda Wolf as Elle Woods has a fine Broadway belt and lots of presence, she also is a fine dancer. Brian Craft, a fine performer, is probably not ideally suited for leading man roles, but he competently filled the role of Emmet Forrest. In other important roles, Ian Cicco presented the looks and poise for Warner Huntington III, Joshua Taylor sang well as Professor Calahan, Alyssa Goudy always sparkles on stage, here as Paulette, and John Wyczlinski played multiple roles including Kyle, a love interest for Paulette. The ensemble filled many many small roles. What the entire cast lacked was the ability to make the characters emotionally connect with each other, so the story just meandered along without engaging the audience.
The musical end of things was in the capable hands of Berry Ayers. The set design by Michael Newton-Brown was a plus, cartoonish and effective. Costume design by Mara DeCourcy got the job done on what appears to be a very limited budged. Lighting design was by Nick Jones and was bright, bright, bright.
Legally Blonde is a fun show, and I hope Players' audiences enjoyed it for a Christmas treat.
Legally Blonde ran through December 23, 2016, at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL. Box Office (941) 365-2494. For more information visit www.theplayers.org.
Director/Choreographer: Dennis Clark