Center for the Arts goes ‘Legally Blonde’ in the best way

Photo courtesy of Murfreesboro.com

Story by Meredith White / Contributing Writer

Based on Amanda Brown’s novel and the 2001 romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Murfreesboro’s Center for the Arts spun “Legally Blonde” into a musical, and they did it well despite minor technical issues. “Legally Blonde: The Musical” documented the transition of lead character Elle Woods — acted by understudy Lydia McLaurin — from Malibu sorority girl to student of Harvard Law School in Woods’ attempt to reclaim what was once hers: the love of Warner Huntington III, acted by Greg Henry.

The Center for the Arts’ production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” was nothing short of magical. The simplistic set, allowing for the display of several locations, including Woods’ sorority house and a court room, was utilized only by moving props on and off stage. The attention to detail also proved significant with many costume changes, which channeled the original Broadway show closely.

The performance’s use of props was appreciatively taken to the extreme with the casting of live animals as Woods’ beloved dog, Bruiser, and the manicurist’s pooch, Rufus.

Yet another hit within the Center for the Arts’ rendition of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” was the stellar cast lineup. The interesting group of performers demanded the audience’s attention immediately with the opening number, a scene entailing overly-energetic sorority girls screaming about the possible engagement of Woods and Huntington. Right away, the entire room was reminded of the importance of a supporting cast. In fact, one of the stand-out performances came from a supporting role. Hairdresser Paulette, acted by Kelly Lunn Sekuterski, delivered a powerhouse performance of “Ireland,” and her emotion and quirky personality really shined through the performance.

For an understudy role, McLaurin captured Woods’ essence and completely made it her own. Her performance was truly everything you would want after watching Laura Bell Bundy originate the role on Broadway. Not only energetic and sometimes a little over-the-top in the best possible way, McLaurin displayed true vocal ability, which helped carry the musical from beginning to end.

Although the performance of “Legally Blonde: The Musical” showcased great talent, there were technical issues. Due to the refusal to close the curtains, the set changes were a little clunky to say the least. Plus, the house lights only went down entirely a few times, and even with the room being cloaked in black, you could see and hear the shuffling of props across the stage.

A small audio misstep occurred at the end of the second act when an actor’s microphone was never turned off. Hidden by sight while backstage, the actor could still be heard almost completely over the actors onstage who were also wearing mics.

Despite the technical hiccups, the Center for the Arts put on a dazzling performance of a well-known show. The choreography was tight and fun and the cast melded together beautifully. The amount of talent on only a small stage deemed satisfactory, and the amount of passion and energy portrayed by every single cast member really made this a remarkable musical to see.

“Legally Blonde: The Musical” returns to the Center for the Arts through June 25th. Purchase tickets here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Wesley McIntyre, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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