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Wednesday December 7th

Canvas

'Legally Blonde' masterfully portrays show's themes of empowerment

REVIEW:
Company Carolina’s “Legally Blonde”
Production: Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.
????1/2 out of 5

“Legally Blonde” has always carried a feminist and empowering message, but Company Carolina’s production Friday truly embodied this message in every way.

The show follows the story of Elle Woods, Delta Nu sorority president and fashion merchandising major at the University of California at Los Angeles. Woods is recovering from a break-up with her ex-boyfriend, Warner Cunningham III, and to ensure that she does not lose her true love, she decides to follow Warner to his next destination: Harvard University Law School.

In the first musical number, “Omigod You Guys,” Elle Woods displays her extensive knowledge of fashion to a sales associate trying to sell her a dress that should be on sale at full price. She is a force to be reckoned with by not being afraid to speak up.

Sophomore business major Jessica Hoffman, who plays Elle Woods, does a phenomenal job with hitting all of her notes with strength and beauty.

Hoffman delivered her lines in a way that made the audience sympathize and identify with Elle. She made sure that Elle was not seen as just another beautiful blonde, but a woman who could make choices without a man by her side.

Hoffman also out shined most of her co-stars in ensemble numbers as she commanded attention the way Elle does. She completely stole the musical number “Serious,” which is a song sung by Warner. Hoffman only does backup, but her voice and acting talents were better than those of sophomore dramatic arts major Richard Walden, who plays Warner.

Senior music major Wesley Miller — who plays Emmett Forrest, Elle’s Harvard love interest — was also spot-on with his portrayal of Emmett through both his singing and acting.

He properly and skillfully portrays Emmett as the sweet guy who sees Elle’s potential and helps her get there, despite being the complete opposite of her. His singing is incredible, especially in the number “Legally Blonde,” where, in his last line, he goes up into a falsetto perfectly.

Two other cast members who also stood out were Chris Daniels as Professor Callahan, and senior English major Blayne Telling as Paulette. Telling delivers her lines well, possibly being the funniest of the actors since others in the ensemble seemed to rush their lines. Telling also sang Paulette’s song “Ireland” very well, impressing audience members.

The costumes were also well done, giving just enough pink to Elle and the other characters so it did not distract the audience too much. One costume choice was to put Emmett and Warner in the same suit to show that Elle is choosing between the two based on personality, especially after the Wydham case when both men are asking for her attention.

Another choice that emphasized the theme of choosing a romantic partner based on personality was the fact that Paulette’s ex-boyfriend, Dewey, and her new love interest, Kyle, are both played by the same actor, Tyler Dunn. This choice reinforced the theme of paying attention to someone’s personality and not so much on physical appearance.

Overall the musical is just like Elle: something that just seems pink and girly and maybe even ditsy but is actually more engaging than people would originally assume. This production proved that beauty and brains can go together.

arts@dailytarheel.com

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