I have been waiting for Legally Blonde to hit the stage at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre since the afternoon last summer when Tom Quaintance, the artistic director at the CFRT, announced the new season. Let me say upfront, it was well worth the wait.
The musical, tells the story of Elle Woods, a blonde beauty from Malibu, who gives up tanning and shopping to attend Harvard Law School in order to win back her boyfriend, who is looking for a serious girl. The premise is, in and of itself, shaky. Because really, how would she get into Harvard Law when her main recom-mendation is being a sorority queen and what guy is giving up Malibu Barbie for lawyer Barbie? But that’s an argument for another day.
I’d much rather talk about the phe-nomenal cast of the show, the great music, punchy one-liners and over-the-top acting. Yes, the show has all of that and a lot more!
Shorey Walker, the New York City-based director, did an outstanding job in casting this show. She brought to-gether a diverse group of actors, most local, some regional for a tour de force that has not been seen in the area in quite some time. While all of the actors brought something to table, I would be totally remiss, if I didn’t say that two of the actors in supporting roles really stole the entire show.
The first set of kudos goes out to Samantha Fabiani who played the role of Paulette, the hairdresser/lonely heart who befriends Elle in Boston. Fabiani was last seen on the CFRT stage in Jesus Christ Superstar, where she played the role of Herod. I ab-solutely loved her in that role, as she strutted the stage in leopard pajamas, but as Paulette, she was unstoppable. She owned the role and her perfect comedic timing brought laughter from the audience every time she deliv-ered her lines. Fabiani, a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is a phenomenal addition to the cast, and it is our hope that she will continue to frequent the CFRT stage in the years to come.
The first time I consciously remember seeing Chris Emano was when he was juggling in the lobby of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre prior to the start of the show Barnum. Since that time, I have seen Emano in a number of shows where he has played small roles, but nothing that has ever put him really front and center. That was supposed to be the case in this show as well. Emano was cast in three distinct supporting roles, but he stole the show lock, stock and barrel. I have never seen him as animated in any other show, but in Legally Blonde, he had the audience eating out of his hand. If you go to the show for no other reason, go to see a young actor come into his own. Chris Emano is center stage with the spotlight on him in this show, and I have to say, he has earned it.
That being said, the entire ensemble did an awesome job singing and danc-ing their way through the show, and the girls who comprised the Greek chorus were divine inspired. I mentioned this after Jesus Christ Superstar, but I have to reenforce it, Quaintance has done an exceptional job in bringing new blood into the theatre and many of those folks fill the ranks of the ensemble in this show, which gives it the WOW factor that actually had the audience cheering in the middle of the act, not at the end.
The obvious enjoyment of the audi-ence also played a great part in mak-ing this show so awesome. Too many times I’ve gone to the theatre and other than polite claps in between acts, the audience could not have even been present. The audience for this show was actively engaged in the show and they made it known that they enjoyed the show from the first, “OMG!” to the last.
Legally Blonde the Musical at the CFRT is a home run, and is the type and caliber of theatre that local resi-dents should embrace and come to expect from the CFRT.
The show was scheduled to run through Feb. 10 but due to the out-standing response of local residents and the popularity of the show, we are happy to announce that the run has been extended for one more week, and will go through Feb. 17. Grab your phone, go online and get your tickets, this may very well be the best show of the season.
For tickets and information, visit the website at www.cfrt.org.