HARTLAND - “Legally
Blonde” has been a very popular musical since its inception in 2007.
Based on the film starring Reese Witherspoon, the stage show is often
seen as even more compelling than its predecessor.
The Lake Country Players’
production is certainly an attestation of the show’s appeal, based on the
audience’s appreciative reaction to it.
Cathy Pfeiler, the former
director at Arrowhead High School, continues to work her musical magic at Lake
Country Playhouse, many times with former students. This year, she collaborated
with alumnus Nate C. Groonwald, who directed, and 12 of her former students were
in the cast. Taylore Ransom added the choreography.
In the first few scenes, we
are introduced to a lively, ditzy group of sorority sisters, cheering on Elle
Woods’ upcoming engagement and acting like the only thing that matters in life
is securing a husband. Thankfully,
the stereotype of women as totally dependent, incompetent beings, establishing
their worth by being attached to a successful man, is challenged as the show
proceeds. In fact, the women in the show fare better than some of the men.
Woods, the leading lady, is
dumped by her boyfriend Warner, because he judges her not rich enough or
intelligent enough to fulfill his requirements as he heads to Harvard to become
a successful, affluent lawyer. She is determined to win him back (though, we
wonder why), so she decides to leave California and pursue him by passing the
Law School Admission Test and getting accepted at Harvard, much to everyone’s
surprise. Unfortunately, she sticks out as a misfit, as she emphasizes her
“pink” frothy personality, but eventually, she overcomes the stereotype of
the airheaded blond and proves to have more substance.
We meet some other
characters along the way that pique our interest - professor Callahan, a
hard-nosed, unethical, self-impressed professor, well-rendered by Marty
Graffenius; Paulette, a down-to-earth, down-on-her-luck hairstylist with lots of
spunk, memorably played by Angela Christopherson; Emmett Forrest, a hardworking,
loyal realistic student, nicely enacted by Bryan Noll; and finally Kyle, the UPS
man who delivers more than the mail. Good job, James Sevens, especially in the
The musical numbers are
snappy but not especially memorable. “Legally
Blond” is well-rendered by Shannon Straka as Woods and Noll, and “Whipped
into Shape” is an impressive mix of dancing and jump roping. Stephanie Wohar
is especially fun to watch in this number.
A lot of the success of this
show depends on the skill and charm of Elle, and Straka is perfect in the role.
Jordan Grzybowski as Warner
Huntington III, the shallow snob, affords a striking contrast to the integrity
and sincerity of Emmett. We are so happy when Warner is dumped twice. Poetic
It’s light entertainment,
and that’s what many people look for in film and live theater. I prefer a
little more meat myself, but you can’t argue taste. The talented cast,
orchestra, and technical staff afforded us an impeccable production. Kudos to
all the participants.
“Legally Blonde” runs
through July 14 at the Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland.
For show times and tickets, call 262-367-4697 or visit