This year, Musicals at Richter kicks off their 2018 season with “Legally Blonde", based on the popular 2001 film of the same title. Dubbed “a high-energy hymn to the glories of girlishness” by the New York Times, this big, heroine-worshiping musical follows sorority girl and fashionista Elle Woods as she upends her life and enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend, Warner Warner Huntington the Third. While at Harvard, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends , Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world. Throughout this journey of self-discovery, Elle is transformed as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. With a book by Heather Hach and an infectious pop score by Laurence O’Keefe (“Heathers,” “Batboy: The Musical”) and Nell Benjamin, the show enjoyed successful Broadway and West End runs, along with two National tours and numerous international productions.
Melody Atkinson stars as Delta Nu sorority sister and ultimate Valley Girl Elle Woods. Melody embraces the sweetness of Elle while maintaining her smart and sassy attitude. Chris Balestriere portrays Warner Huntington, Elle’s ambitious ex-boyfriend - they guy you just can't understand why Elle would even want to date him! Voni Kengla plays Vivienne, Warner’s new girlfriend and Elle’s initial nemesis at law school. Watch out for her stellar vocals prowess towards the end of the show.
Stephen Emerick plays Emmett, the smart and kind-hearted law school teaching assistant who helps Elle and eventually falls in love with her. Stephen portrayed Emmett with the sincerity and lovability that the is necessary for the character. Bill Warncke played the pompous and manipulative Professor Callahan with ruthless vigor. Maiya Urquhardt plays Elle’s Harvard classmate Enid Hoopes, an activist and ardent feminist. You have to love the costume choice of her Wonder Woman t-shirt to amplify that women are NOT weak in body, mind or spirit.
Aaron-Noel Treppeda is Paulette Bonafonte, will have you laughing from the minute she walks on stage with her glow-in-the-dark hair extensions, outspoken manner and high-spirited antics as she helps Elle overcome the challenges she faces. Matthew Blank and Matthew Farina alternate in the role of Kyle, the sexy UPS delivery man who captures Paulette’s heart.
Janina Rosa takes on the role of Brooke Wyndham, a famous fitness video guru on trial for killing her husband and for whom Elle and her classmates are enlisted to help defend. Janina's triple-threat skills of singing, dancing and acting were well used in this production.
Sarah Baker, Margaret Buzak, Kate Pattonand Jean Marie McGrath portray Margot, Serena, Pilar and Kate, Elle’s college best friends and fellow Delta Nu sorority sisters. They lead the greek chorus of Delta Nu sisters in many of the entertaining numbers throughout the show.
Featured in a variety of ensemble roles are: Maddy Oldham, Daisy Stott, Caitlin Burke, Renee Cunningham, Robert Fontenelli, Vincent Fontenelli, Abby Giansiracusa, Andrew Kocur, Rob Mayette, Alysia Ross and Jenna Vieux, Will Armstrong, Haley Huxley, Jean Marie McGrath, Will Dooley, Sarah Brundage, Dolly Conner, Kevin McNulty, Daniel Pettibone, Robert Bria, Ethan Beaulac, Madeline de la Parra, Monica Castillo, Emma Lubbers, Emily Malavenda and Joe Riedel round out the cast.
Richter's interpretation of this head bopping musical is performed on a pink set that Elle Woods would squeal for, thanks the both Director and Set Designer Lauren Nicole Sherwood. The cast and ensemble of this production were exciting, energetic, and enthusiastic. Dance numbers, choreographed by Matthew Farina, are enthralling and features Irish step dancing, the iconic "Bend & Snap" and a jump rope sequence led by Brooke Wyndham (Janina Rosa) during "Whipped into Shape".
Richter's "Legally Blonde" is not a show to be missed.
"Legally Blonde" opened June 29, and runs Thursday through Sunday evenings until July 14 with no performance on July 13. Richter is an outdoor theater, so make sure you check their website and Facebook page in case of inclement weather.
Performances are held at the Richter Arts Center (next to the Richter Park Golf Course, I-84, Exit 2), 100 Aunt Hack Road, in Danbury. Tickets for “Legally Blonde” are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students (with ID), and $15 for children 10 and under. For the additional Thursday performances on July 5 and 12, tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and $10 for children 10 and under. Tickets may be purchased through the Musicals at Richter website (www.musicalsatrichter.org) or at the door.
Grounds open at 7:00 p.m. for picnicking, with curtain at 8:00 p.m. (please note earlier curtain time). Guests are invited to bring chairs and blankets for lawn seating; a limited number of chairs are available free of charge by the concessions at the park.
Photo credit: David Henningsen Photography