REVIEW: ‘Legally Blonde’ a real feel-good show – Ipswich, MA – Ipswich Chronicle

REVIEW: ‘Legally Blonde’ a real feel-good show

Photo by Paul Lyden

Performing ‘Omigod You Guys’ are Tiffany Engen (Serena), Allysa Shorte (Pilar),Kelly Felthous (Elle Woods) and Sara Andreas (Margot).

By Sally Applegate / Correspondent

Posted Nov 04, 2011 @ 05:02 PM

From its zippy opening full of adorable girls to its upbeat ending, “Legally Blonde” is all heart, hope and hilarity. Featuring a stellar cast delivering a laugh-filled script and tuneful songs with clever lyrics and creative dances, the show kept its opening night audience captivated.

This wildly creative musical flows nonstop, like a stream with a mind of its own, and some surprises are in store for the audience. North Shore Music Theatre’s ebullient production has one wonderful cast, and the show allows each member of its gifted ensemble some solo shine time, in addition to their action-packed group songs and dances that irresistibly move the show along.

Headlining the action is the delightfully versatile Kelly Felthous as Elle Woods, the resilient blonde sorority girl who heads to Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend. Handling Elle’s sweet and sour experiences with expertise, the ever-energetic Felthous uses the wide range of her powerful and clear soprano to great effect as her expressive face radiates hope, heartbreak and more hope.

Gaelen Gilliland is impressive as Elle’s new hairdresser sidekick Paulette. In an earthy powerhouse vocal performance, Gilliland really delivers on “Ireland,” the sensational showstopper of the night, capped by one wild final note.

Barrett Brown is classy and appealing as the sensitive and understanding law student Emmett, guiding and advising Elle as the two unknowingly begin to fall in love. There is a charming duet with Elle, and he has a wonderful moment when Elle introduces Emmett to a stunning new experience.

“What is this place?” asks the awestruck Emmett.

“It’s a department store,” replies the dewy-eyed Elle.

Paul Jackel does a nice job as the sophisticated Harvard Law professor Callahan, employing a big baritone on “Blood in the Water.”

Taryn Darr is a sensational dancer as murder defendant Brooke, delivering eccentric moves in a forest of stretchy green exercise bands wielded by dancers that turn the NSMT stage into abstract patterns.

Will Ray is a cute and charming singer and dancer as Warner, the ambitious boyfriend who dumps Elle.

Kate Loprest, as Warner’s new “serious” fiancé, law student Vivienne, gets to show off her sensational singing voice in a song tied to a surprise plot twist near the end of the show.

Trish LaRose is amusingly rough and tough as Harvard Law student Enid.

The toweringly tall Timothy Hughes treats the audience to an unforgettable visual, winding strangely around the stage in shorts as the strange and sensual UPS deliveryman who will become Paulette’s new lover. He does a sensational Irish dance number with Gilliland.

There is a fun surprise moment in the courtroom scene, featuring delicious comedy by Frankie Paparone and Ian Campayno.

Broadway veterans Chico the Chihuahua and Nellie the English Bulldog, appearing regularly throughout the evening, lead off an ecstatic curtain call to end the deliriously happy evening.

Want to feel good? This is a feel-good show.

“Legally Blonde” continues through Nov. 13, with evening performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. performances on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Ticket prices range from $35 to $65. For tickets and information, call 978-232-7200, visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA, or visit online at nsmt.org

On Veteran’s Day, Friday Nov. 11, all U.S. veterans will be treated to a pre-show reception from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and a 50 percent ticket price discount for the 8 p.m. performance.

Audiences at the 7:30 p.m. performance on Nov. 8 and the 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 12 can stay after the show for an audience discussion with the artists during “Meet the Theatre.”

OUT at the North Shore, an evening for the gay and lesbian community with a post-show reception is on Nov. 10 after the 7:30 p.m. performance.

Copyright 2011 Ipswich Chronicle. Some rights reserved

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