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Legally Blonde the Musical Manila is Legally Awesome

Its been nine years since I saw Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson playing Elle Woods and Emmett Forrest respectively. It is one of my favorite chick flick back then because it makes me laugh at the same time it teaches a much deeper lesson behind its shallow facade. Then after six years, I heard that the movie is being adopted to a musical on Broadway. I admit it, back then I thought it is ridiculous. How will a movie like Legally Blonde can be translated to a musical?   I lost interest on it. And 3 years passed here in the Philippines, news spread that Atlantis Production will soon stage legally Blonde the Musical. That didn't really spark an interest on me but when a friend told me that it is Nikki Gil who will be playing the lead role, whoa wait wait wait. Now that IS interesting.  And the moment my friend ask me to watch it, I agree without hesitation.

Legally Blonde the Musical tells the story of Elle Woods (Nikki Gil), a cute blonde president of Delta Nu sorority who decides to pursue Harvard Law after being dumped by her Boyfriend. Believing that she will win him back by following him on this prestigious and legally harsh institution, Elle strive to adapt on her new environment with the help of her new found friend Emmett Forrest (Nyoy Volante). But this is just the beginning because Elle didn't expect that the Walls of Harvard will teach her the greatest thing she will ever learn: the difference of LOVE and LAW.

From the producers and directors of hit musicals in Manila like Avenue Q, 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee, Hairspray and Spring Awakening here comes another musical that will surely make you dance and raise your pom-poms while juggling law books and a court room fiasco.  From the Music and Lyrics of Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Legally Blonde the Musical hits manila last June 25 at the Meralco Theater and will end on July 18.  The first time I saw it, I become an instant fan of the show.  All of my first impression regarding the show ever since I heard it is released on Broadway last 2007 changed.  From the colorful set, to the infectious Music, lively Dance Moves and finally the stellar lineup of actors.  Almost everything about Legally Blonde the Musical is perfect and lovable.

The cast during the curtain call as Nikki Gil enters the stage.

Though the set is not as elaborate like that of the New York Broadway production, the set designer pushed his creativity to the limits by creating a Fairy tale like set that suits Elle's romantic personality.  The set is also bursting with pink tone mixed with both dark and neutral palette to differentiate every location's mood and without being too girly for male audiences.   I have to commend Mr. Mio Infante for doing such a great job.

Top L-R: Calvin Millado (Dewey and Kyle), Nikki Gil (Elle Woods), Guji Lorenzana(Warner Huntington III), Cris Villonco(Vivienne Kensington)
Sitting L-R: Jinky Llamanzares(Paulette Bonafonte), Geneva Cruz(Brooke Wyndham), Nyoy Volante(Emmett Forrest) and Jett Pangan(Professor Callahan)

Atlantis is also fortunate of getting a good set of actors to play on this production.  Such names like Felix Rivera (Avenue Q, Spelling Bee), Joel Trinidad (Avenue Q, Defending the Caveman), Calvin Millado (Rent, Avenue Q), Jinky Llamanzares (Urinetown, Dreamgirls), Cris Villonco (Hamlet, Romeo and Bernadette). Nyoy Volante (Hairspray) and Jett Pangan (Dreamgirls, Spring Awakening) are among the finest actors on Philippine theater to grace Legally Blonde the Musical's stage.  Newcomers like Geneva Cruz, Guji Lorenzana and Nikki Gil herself exhibits good performance on their first time to step on professional full length musical-theater.  Geneva Cruz is the perfect choice to play the character of the fitness guru, Brooke Wyndham.  With a perfectly toned body and a high caliber voice, Geneva nailed the character perfectly and graciously.  Guji Lorenzana's portrayal of Warner could not be that great.  There are times that I'm confused of his emotions while throwing lines.  It is like he didn't really understand what he is saying.  His dialogs don't match with his facial expressions and body language and most of the time he speak too fast.  But other than that for a first timer, Guji did pretty well.

Nikki Gil, blonde and pretty in pink

Just like what I've said earlier, when I first heard that Nikki is playing Elle Woods it gives a small spark of interest on me.  Not because I thought she can't act.  In fact I already saw Nikki's potential and she is really good.  But what worries me is her being not a blonde material.  Nikki is too smart to play somebody like Elle Woods.  But the moment Nikki entered that stage, I was shocked that she fits her well.  Nikki is Elle and Elle is Nikki no doubt to that.  Though Laura Bell Bundy has a good voice advantage in terms of vocal strenth for being a country singer compared to Nikki who's more on a pop genre, Nikki didn't fail on immortalizing the show's repertoire together with the other cast.

I had a great time watching it and I didn't mind watching it again if I have the chance.  Legally Blonde the Musical doesn't disappoint.   If you want to watch something fun and empowering, this is the show for you.  So to those who haven't seen it, this coming week you only have four chances to watch it.  So better grab your tickets now and enjoy this fabulous offering from Atlantis Production.

Congratulations Atlantis Production and Director Chari Arespacochaga.  Good job!

Special thanks to Atlantis Production's Lawyn Cruz and Claire Saguilla.  
Photo of curtain call is from Atlantis Production FB page.

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