Musical Theatre Society fond of 'Legally Blonde'

by Benjamin Frohman / Beacon Correspondent • November 4, 2015

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Ellen Rothfuss as Elle Woods.
Ellen Rothfuss as Elle Woods.

Standing tall in the bright spotlight, Elle Woods belts out her climactic song, “So Much Better,” after she lands a competitive internship, proving that her hair color does not define her.

“Legally Blonde: The Musical,” based on the popular 2001 movie of the same name, tells the story of a sorority sister who spurns her stereotype. After her Harvard-bound boyfriend dumps her for someone more “serious,” she rises up and tackles the university’s prestigious law school with her positive pink perspective. Last weekend, Emerson’s Musical Theatre Society, or “MTS,” adapted the original Broadway production for the Semel Theater.

Jordan Gross, president of MTS and director of the show, said that he was able to draw from his previous experiences in this production.

“This is my first musical that I ever directed [where] I got to use techniques that I learned in classes, and use things that I’ve learned in regional theaters in the past,” Gross, a junior performing arts major, said.

Ellen Rothfuss, a junior communication sciences and disorders major, played Elle Woods. She said the atmosphere of the show was exhilarating.

“[In] this musical, you can’t leave feeling unhappy, it’s pure fun,” Rothfuss said. “And what I think is different, is that I know a lot of people who don’t really like theater, but like ‘Legally Blonde.’ It’s a show that everyone can enjoy.”

Gross said that the magnitude of the musical was intimidating.

“It’s ‘Legally Blonde,’” Gross said. “Everyone knows what that means to them, and they are expecting a full-out production.”

Jesse Lynne Harte, a junior performing arts major, choreographed the show and played Elle’s dog, Bruiser. She said it was meant to be a full-blown musical.

“We tried to really go full on ‘commercial’ with ‘Legally Blonde,’” Harte said. “[At Emerson], we get a lot of opportunities to try different types of work, but sometimes it is great to go [with a] full-on ‘dance break’ type of show. I think we are the only musical [at Emerson] right now that’s that type of large-scale spectacular.”

Harte said she wished the viewers would depart with a feeling of positivity and happiness.

“I hope the audience leaves smiling, thinking that they had a fun time, and that they got to forget about midterms, homework, their job, and the work that they have to do for just two hours, and just have fun and appreciate it,” Harte said. “The key is that they shouldn’t see all the work that we put in it and the challenges that we worked through, it should just look easy and effortless.”

Bridget McCarthy, an audience member and junior journalism major, said she enjoyed the cast’s characterization of the show.

“I loved the dancing, and thought it was super fun,” McCarthy said. “I also loved how the people who ran the show put themselves in there in a funny way. I thought it was really cute and enjoyable.”

Kiera Wilson, a junior visual and media arts major, said the musical was everything she hoped for.

“I think everybody loves the story of ‘Legally Blonde,’ and I think they did it justice,” Wilson said. “I took away that this is a group of people that loves the story, who love musical theater, and will dedicate everything to it.”

The musical had high energy and a non-stop soundtrack, but it also had an underlying message of to not judge a book by its cover, according to Rothfuss.

“The moral of the story is you can’t judge someone based on their physical appearance or how they carry themselves,” Rothfuss said, “because they might have some really great qualities that you don’t know about.”