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August 14, 2020

Legally Blonde is bombastic, unrelenting fun

By SPENCER ABROHMS | April 7, 2016

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IVANA SU/PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR The JHU Barnstormers performed Legally Blonde The Musical to sold-out audiences during their opening weekend.

From April 1 to 10, the Barnstormer’s production of Legally Blonde the Musical takes over the Swirnow Theater at the Mattin Center. Fans of the movie, musical aficionados and fun seekers alike can all revel in this upbeat and stylistic retelling of the popular film.

Legally Blonde the Musical tells the story of naïve yet clever Elle Woods as she follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School. At Harvard, Elle’s sorority girl lifestyle and girlish manner clash with the other students’ and professors’ dull and professional ways as she tries to prove to herself and others that she is more than just the blonde shade of her hair.

The musical features elaborate quick changes, intricate jump rope choreography and detailed sets to keep audiences thoroughly engaged throughout the production. Legally Blonde is a funny yet touching show featuring superb song and dance numbers, along with great acting.

The show was the largest production the Barnstormers have ever put on. It boasted a very large cast and crew as well as a full pit orchestra.

The show is directed and choreographed by Quae Simpson, who began working on the project in February. Simpson had previously worked on this musical at a regional theater in New York City.

“The energy it takes to do the show and that it’s the largest show the Barnstormers have ever done — when [students] see the magnitude of how large the scale is, it’ll grab you,” he said.

The show is produced by senior and Barnstormers President Raidizon Mercedes. Mercedes dedicated himself to working on the show in November and is excited to see it come to life.

“My favorite part of the show has been working with the cast and crew, so seeing them come together and doing the good job they’re doing has been really fun,” he said.

One of the best parts of musical is the effects and great work of the crew. In particular, the sets are very extravagant and expertly done. The set designer, sophomore Isabel Randazzo, has worked tirelessly on the production since February.

“Quae was sure to get blocking down at the beginning so it’s kind of hard to be like, ‘Now you sit at this table’ when the table isn’t made yet, so I definitely had to get into gear very early. But I got it all done and it looks great,” she said.

Additionally, the cast shines in their respective rolls. Elizabeth Sylvester, who plays Elle, drew similarities between herself and her character.

“It’s been so fun. Elle is very close to my personality so it’s almost as if I’m not acting, and it’s kind of me up on stage,” she said.

This similarity may show how Sylvester perfectly captures the kind heart and fortitude that lies underneath Elle’s ditsy exterior. Sylvester is a senior who has been with the Barnstormers since her sophomore year. This production of Legally Blonde gives her a chance to go out in style.

Gregory Konar, who plays her stuck-up ex-boyfriend Warner, may be making his acting debut in this production, but it doesn’t show. Konar perfectly meshes with the rest of the cast and embodies his self-centered, pretentious character.

“I’m trying to transition into a really cool and really unique world where I get to express myself through a different medium,” Konar said. “Normally for me I’m like, ‘Let’s do research.’ Now it’s like, ‘Let’s act, and let’s sing, Why not?’ It’s a really nice stress relief and a lot of fun.”

Fun is definitely a very important aspect of the show as every cast and crew member mentioned how fun it was to work on it. This enthusiasm translates to the audience.

“The musical is much fuller and develops the characters more fully than the movie, but it’s all upbeat, nothing too serious,” Sylvester said. ”There is a message, but it’s just about a girl trying to find herself.”

While Legally Blonde features several extremely fun scenes, most of the cast and crew named the final courtroom scene as the one they’re most excited for audiences to see.

“My favorite scene is the last number because it ties everything in,” Mercedes said. “There’s so much happening, and it’s pretty cool to see it all happen.”

Legally Blonde the Musical plays at the Swirnow Theater Friday, April 8 and Saturday, April 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $5 with a Hopkins ID or $10 general admission.

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