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John Lamb, Published July 12 2012

Review: ‘Legally Blonde’ brings color, energy to Trollwood despite mishaps

MOORHEAD – If opening night for “Legally Blonde: The Musical” was akin to opening arguments in an actual court case, the production better not be ready to rest.

A number of physical and technical mishaps hampered a promising production for Trollwood Performing Arts School’s main stage musical.

The upbeat and colorful work is a stage adaptation of the popular 2001 big-screen comedy. In it, a ditzy sorority sister wants to be taken seriously after her equally clueless boyfriend dumps her for someone smarter. So our fair-haired heroine, Elle Woods, follows her dull knight to Harvard Law School.

Kalyn Schnabel admirably plays Elle not as a dumb blonde, but as someone singularly focused on getting her man, even if it causes her to lose sight of herself. Schnabel stood out as Marian in last summer’s “The Music Man” and shines again here, but doesn’t turn in the best performance.

As Paulette, the weary but still hopeful hairdresser, Samantha Raun gets her Irish up on the show-stopper “Ireland.” She also gets some of the biggest laughs.

Overall the cast delivers, especially Keyna Hoselton as the ditzy friend Margot, Robert Kringler as the demanding (in more ways than one) Professor Callahan and Katie Spokely as Elle’s frosty frienemy, Vivienne.

But issues with the sound marred the show. Bluestem’s outdoor stage often leads to breezes popping microphones, but Thursday night was especially distracting. It didn’t help when an offstage actor’s microphone was turned on when he was dressing and some of the onstage actors couldn’t help but wince. Falling props in scene transitions only salted the wounds.

The songs may not become Broadway staples, but audiences will hum with the refrains to the opener, “Omigod You Guys.”

While Trollwood usually has the teen actors playing older than their actual age, in “Legally Blonde,” they also play more, ahem, adult. Sexual references in “Chip on My Shoulder” and “So Much Better” may lead to some questions parents of younger children aren’t ready to answer, though some lines were toned down for the Trollwood show.

Trollwood deserves credit for taking a chance on a new musical that has a bit more energy than the standard summer stock. You just hope the following performances go smoother.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533

If you go

What: Trollwood Performing Arts School’s “Legally Blonde: The Musical”

When: 8:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday, Wednesday – July 21

and 24-28

Where: Bluestem Center for the Arts, 801 50th Ave. S., Moorhead

Info: The two-hour production features a 15-minute intermission. Tickets range from $8-$25. (218) 477-6500