Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Heritage High School Legally Blonde, The Musical

By • Apr 27th, 2012 • Category: Cappies

First, take some pink. Add a completely hyper college sorority girl, and some more pink. Throw in some music, pink, singing, dancing, pink, Harvard Law School, and oh yeah, more pink. Mix it all together, slap a punny title on it, and you’ve got yourself Heritage High School’s recent production of Legally Blonde, The Musical.

Based upon the novel and 2001 film “Legally Blonde,” with music and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe and book by Heather Hach, the show opened on Broadway in April 2007. It closed on October 19th, 2008 after 595 performances, and was nominated for seven Tony Awards. The show also toured North America for three years and ran on London’s West End for four years, for which it received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. An important note about Heritage’s production is that it is one of only a few high school productions of this show in the country, and the first in Virginia.

The show revolves around Malibu-born sorority girl Elle Woods (Katie Blackburn), who believes she is about to be proposed to by her boyfriend Warner (JJ Engelbrecht). After Warner breaks up with her instead, Elle is determined to follow him to Harvard Law School to prove she’s “serious.” After being admitted, she fails to impress her Criminal Law professor Callahan (Garrett Hill) and finds out Warner is going out with another student. Fellow classmate Emmett (David Foulke) and hairdresser Paulette (Michelle Radcliffe) convince Elle to work hard to pass the class and win a prestigious internship with the professor’s law firm. Elle gets the scholarship, but after finding out that she only got it because the professor wants to hit on her, Elle is determined to prove that she can be both pink and a lawyer, and manages to win the case they were working.

Katie Blackburn does a very good job as Elle. Her voice was amazing, and she was able to maintain the same level of extremely high vocal energy throughout the entire show. She also managed to portray all of Elle’s idiosyncrasies without detracting from the other actors. Foulke played Emmett quite well, showing the progression of the character over time very clearly. A definite favorite of the audience was Kyle the UPS Guy (Zach Benson), as his sensuous manner attracted both Paulette and exuberant laughter from the audience. Most of the actors did a good job with stage presence and singing, but there were both standouts and some exceptions.

Almost all of the technical aspects were right on point. The orchestra, while very small, was able to perform the music well and true to the original production, although at some points the singing and accompaniment did not match. The lighting was generally well-executed, but there were a few spots on the stage that were in shadow for most of the show. The costumes are also worth mentioning, especially with the Delta Nu ensemble. The costume team managed to find outfits both in color and all white that matched almost exactly, something that is hard to do for a high school production.

Overall, Heritage High School did a very good job with the show. They took a show which has not been done many times by high schools, with high standards set by a movie, and delivered a high quality, interesting show. So whether there for the laughs or the music, the love or the pink, this show delivered.

by Jonathan Halverson of The New School of Northern Virginia

Photo Gallery

Katie Goodwin, Bella Tenaglia, Brianna Stokes Zach Benson
Katie Goodwin, Bella Tenaglia, Brianna Stokes
Zach Benson
Katherine Kettler, Christi Querry, Macy Magee JJ Engelbrecht, Katie Blackburn
Katherine Kettler, Christi Querry, Macy Magee
JJ Engelbrecht, Katie Blackburn

Photos by Rocco Tenaglia

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