Review: Legally Blonde Takes Pickard Stage 

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Robert Barthell, Staff Writer

Disclaimer: This opinion piece reviews the rehearsal presented to NHS staff on Sept. 28. The reviewer obtained permission to attend the practice and write an advance critique with the intention to inform the student body of the production. With regard, this review does not intend to diminish the commitment to quality of the cast, crew and pit. 

Legally Blonde is the story of a young fashion designer who enrolls in Harvard Law School to win back her haughty boyfriend.  

Ultimately, I have mixed feelings about this production. 

Neenah’s actors, once again, did a good job with each of their performances.  Everyone remembered all of their lines and dances, and sang in-time and in-tune, even amidst unbalanced volume levels. This performance was complemented through frequent usage of props, as well as live animals.  Also, a pit orchestra, headed by NHS Orchestra teacher Mr. Philip Smyth, performed the entire play’s background music, live.  A large flat screen in the back of the auditorium had a direct visual of him, as, with a determined gaze, he waved his baton throughout the play.

While watching, I noticed several logistical issues that needed to be addressed involving scene transitions, audio synchronization and a preparation timespan that has been significantly condensed for the current cast and crew.  Though I assume that most of these issues will be corrected by the time it premieres, at times I felt that the cast and crew could have benefitted from the additional week or so practice they traditionally had.  As a reviewer of various night-before rehearsals for past productions, I observed that the whole operation seemed less prepared than usual.  Nevertheless, I have been told that subsequent premieres to general audiences have been successful without many of these notable hitches.   

With focus on the storyline, it should be noted that some of the dialogue and song content contained adult themes that may be considered “inappropriate” for certain audiences, pending perspective. Again, some may find these same things to be entertaining given the right context, but I feel they went somewhat excessive in this regard.  There were various songs in the second act with “suggestive” lyrics that made me feel quite uncomfortable – even though I was almost alone in the audience.  Additionally, as law students, the main characters of the play are often confronted with high-level cases involving crimes such as murder and sexual assault.  This content is not necessarily something comfortable with family members, especially younger kids. 

For those interested, Legally Blonde once again showcases the talent of Neenah’s actors and musicians.  Opening on Wednesday, Sept. 29, it will run every day until Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m., and again on Sunday at 2 p.m. Masks are required for the audience. Tickets are $10 ($8 for students) and can be purchased online at rocketplayers.com or at the in-person box office.