June 22 – July 9
- CAST & CREATIVE
The Broadway sensation, based on the hilarious MGM movie and nominated for 7 Tony awards, is a new musical comedy that one reviewer praised as, “ridiculously enjoyable from start to finish”. This spirited musical tells the charming story of Elle Woods, a carefree California girl who also happens to have a 4.0. To win back the man of her dreams, she enrolls at Harvard Law School and she discovers along the way that she may have more to offer the world than just her looks and an empty ring finger. Get set for a fabulous time at the theater, full of comedy and pep, that one NY Times reviewer deemed a “high-energy hymn to the glories of girlishness… that insists that a girl can be a powder puff and a power broker at the same time”!
|SARAH BEHRENS (Tammi, u/s Brooke) is excited to be returning to the Gateway Playhouse where she was last seen as Velma in West Side Story! She holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance from Oklahoma City University. She has danced with American Spirit Dance Company and choreographs for many different companies and conventions across the country. She has toured internationally with Dublin World Wide Productions along with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Regional: Gypsy. Film: How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song. Thank you to my family and friends for all of their unconditional support. Love ya guys!|
|DANIELLE CARLACCI (Kate) is thrilled to be returning to the Gateway stage after completing her sophomore year at Boston College where she is a member of the cheerleading team and pursuing a BA in theatre. Her favorite Gateway roles include Nellie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun and Ermengarde in last season’s Hello Dolly. Danielle has been seen on “iCarly” and “The Naked Brothers Band” as well as dancing for the New York Knicks at MSG. Huge thank you to Robin, Jessica and Michael for all of the amazing opportunities, her beautiful family for all of their love and to her own seven “sisters” who make her feel like the fourth of July.|
|JACQUELINE COLMER (Serena, Dance Captain) is positively thrilled to return to Gateway where she was last seen as Linda in The Wedding Singer. National Tours: The Lincoln Center Theater’s Production of South Pacific (Asst. Dance Captain/Swing), Grease starring Frankie Avalon (Rizzo), West Side Story 50th Anniversary Tour (Anita US/Francesca). Regional: The Full Monty (Estelle), Man of LaMancha (Aldonza), Sweet Charity (Carmen). She is a Graduate of The Boston Conservatory. Love and thanks to her amazing parents, husband, ScotAl, Symba and Mush.|
|MICHELLE COSENTINO (Enid) is thrilled to be making her Gateway Debut! Having lived on Long Island her entire life, she has appeared in several shows across the island such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, and Anything Goes. She will be a junior this fall at Ithaca College, studying Vocal performance and Music Education. Many thanks to everyone at Gateway, Dad & Mom, and countless friends who continue to support the dream!|
|BRENT MICHAEL DiROMA (Emmett) is a native Floridian and graduate of AMDA, Brent is delighted to be back at Gateway! Favorite roles: West Side Story (Tony), National Tour of Avenue Q (Princeton/Rod), Off-Broadway productions of I’d Rather Be Right (Phil) and Cabaret Girl (Quibb), and regional productions including Urinetown (Bobby Strong) and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (Snoopy). Brent was also nominated for the 2011 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role in Avenue Q. Love to my family, who put me where I am today. www.brentmichaeldiroma.com|
|BRETT FIGEL (Carlos) is happy to be returning to Gateway Playhouse for the summer! Favorite credits include The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay), The Mikado (KoKo), Our Town (George Gibbs), The Threepenny Opera (Mr. Peachum), and Brighton Beach Memoirs (Stanley). This fall he will be performing in the national tour of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Thanks to everyone at Gateway Playhouse and his amazing circle of family and friends!|
|JUSTIN FLEXEN (Nikos/Padaman) is so happy to be spending the summer at the Gateway Playhouse! National Tour: Movin’ Out. Regional: West Side Story, A Christmas Carol, Joseph...Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Front Page (PlayMakers Rep). NYC: One Ride (Queens Theatre in the Park). TV: “30 Rock”, “Regis and Kelly.” Industrials for the Oxygen Network and OWN. All my love to teachers, agents, friends and family!|
|KELCY GRIFFIN (Pilar) Gateway debut! Kelcy was most recently seen in the National Tour of Dreamgirls (Michelle U/S). She is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan. Some Regional credits include Deena Jones in Dreamgirls (Cohoes Music Hall) The Producers, Miss Saigon (Music Theatre of Wichita), and Aida (ACCC) . NYC Readings: Cool Papa’s Party (feat Wayne Brady). Kelcy would like to thank her family first and always for their continued support! So much thanks and love to Nicholas, Dustin and Judy Boals INC. Always Believe!|
|KEVIN GUTCHES (Pforzheimer) is thrilled to be returning to Gateway for the summer! He was previously seen at Gateway in last summer’s Happy Days. Other Credits: 30th Anniversary Tour of Annie (Rooster u/s), The Full Monty (Ethan Girard), Mystery of Edwin Drood (Deputy). Kevin holds a B.A. in Theatre from Wagner College. He would like to thank his family and friends for all the love and support; loves those who support live theatre!|
|DUSTIN J. HARDER (Lowell/Dog Handler) is excited to join Gateway for this production. He is equally thrilled and thankful to be working with Bill Berloni, who received The Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre this year. Dustin was last on stage with the national tour of Annie. Previous credits also include: Evita, Tommy, Stepford Wives: The Musical (workshop) and Jeffrey. Dustin thanks his family and friends for their support. Special thanks to Nigel, Snickers, Mikey, Macy, Oliver, Chloe, and Frankie. Nick...Omigod!|
|ERIN HENRY (Brooke) is thrilled to be makingher Gateway debut! National tour credits: Grease (1st national 2010, Patty Simcox), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Ethel Peas). Regional credits: Meet Me in St. Louis and A Wonderful Life (Paper Mill Playhouse), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (North Shore Music Theatre), Annie Get Your Gun (North Carolina Theatre), Gypsy (Westchester Broadway Theatre) and upcoming Footloose at Cape Playhouse and North Shore Music Theatre. Other credits: Twice Charmed (Cinderella; Disney original cast recording) and Tokyo Disney. Love to Nick and my Eugene.|
|GWEN HOLLANDER (Margot) Gwen is happy to be back at Gateway, having played Kate Monster/Lucy T. Slut in Avenue Q last summer! Some favorite credits include: Broadway/Tour of Little Women (Amy, Carbonell Award), National Tour of 101 Dalmatians, directed by Jerry Zaks (Perdita), Les Miserables (Eponine, Carbonell Award), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive), Urinetown (Hope), Great American Trailer Park Musical (Pickles), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Fiddler on the Roof (Chava), and the premiere of See Rock City and Other Destinations at Barrington Stage. Later this summer, Gwen will be appearing as Rusty in Footloose at Cape Playhouse and North Shore Music Theatre. TV/Web: “From Earth to the Moon” (Tom Hanks, HBO), Nickelodeon’s “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo,” and the webseries “Acting School Academy.” Love and thanks to Ben and the family, and infinite love to Mom. www.gwenhollander.com|
|JOEL INGRAM (Warner) is very excited to be performing at Gateway Playhouse this summer! A recent grad from University of Oklahoma, Joel just finished the national tour of Legally Blonde. Regional Credits: The Who’s Tommy (Lover), Jesus Christ Superstar (Bartholomew), Bye Bye Birdie (Conrad), Noises Off (Tim), Little Me, Fiddler on the Roof, Chess. Special thanks to my amazing Parents, Family, Friends, and MTXers for all their love and support!|
|PAUL JACKEL (Professor Callahan) made his Broadway debut in the original company of The Secret Garden. Other NYC appearances include The Fantasticks (El Gallo, directed by author Tom Jones), A Christmas Carol (Fred, opposite Scrooges Roddy McDowall and Hal Linden), and The Last Starfighter (Enduran). He performed leading roles in the national tours of Legally Blonde, The Secret Garden, Into the Woods, and Camelot. Most recent addition to the list: Daddy Warbucks in Annie, opposite comedian Wanda Sykes as Miss Hannigan.|
|BARRY JOHNSON (Elle’s Dad/Winthrop) is happy to be returning home to Gateway Playhouse. Other appearances here were in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,starring Elizabeth Stanley. And in Happy Days the Musical. For ten years Barry was a member of Geraldine Fitzgeralds’ Everyman Company, including a year as a resident company at La Mama Experimental Theatre Company. Recent musicals include The Secret Garden and playing Henry Ford in Ragtime.|
|RUBY LEWIS (Elle Woods) is elated to make her debut on the Gateway stage as Elle! Born and raised a Kentucky girl, Ruby got her BFA in Performing Arts at Western Kentucky University where she pledged Kappa Delta Sorority and served as President of Alpha Psi Omega. National Tours: Gypsy (June), Grease (1st Broadway National.) Regional: 42nd Street, Beauty and the Beast, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Pump Boys & Dinettes. Ruby co-starred on the primetime network shows “Medium” and “Brothers and Sisters,” and played the lead in the film “Another Perfect Stranger.” Also, be on the look-out for Ruby in the film “1 Message,” due to release this September. Currently living in Hollywood, California, Ruby makes her rounds at open mic cabarets, studies improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and chases dreams of being a staaarrr! Love to Mom, Dad, my many mentors & Rob. www.rubylewis.com|
|REBECCA MAGAZINE (Leilani/Chutney, u/s Margot, Pilar, Serena) is excited to be back at The Gateway Playhouse after playing Graziella in West Side Story. While getting her BFA in Dance at The Ohio State University, Rebecca trained with Hubbard Street Dance Company and performed in Italy with Pro Danza Italia. Previous credits include: Breaking Surface: Aerial Dance over water (swing/aerialist), “Palpitations”, Erotic Broadway (off Broadway), Crazy Sexy Disco (off Broadway), The Girly Show, Deluscious, and Eve’s Turn (Broadway workshop). Rebecca wouldn’t be here without the crazy people in her life. For more please visit, www.rebeccamagazine.org|
|.KEVIN METZGER (Aaron) is honored to be joining the Gateway family once again after appearing in last summer’s Hairspray and Hello, Dolly! He was most recently seen on the 1st national tour of ‘S Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical. Regional: Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Theatre by the Sea, Media Theatre, and Forestburgh Playhouse. Next up, Kevin will be joining the national tour of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Proud graduate of New York University’s CAP21. As always, love to family and friends! Visit www.kevinmetzger.net.|
|MATT NOLAN (Kyle) is a Long Island native from Rockville Centre and thrilled to be making his Gateway debut in Legally Blonde! Matt is best known for being a finalist of the hit NBC reality show “Grease: You’re The One That I Want.” National Tours: Grease (Danny Zuko), Hairspray (Fender). Regional: Rent (Roger), Cinderella (Prince). Eternal gratitude to Mom, Dad, Jaclyn, and Erin for their love and never ending support. www.mattnolansite.com|
|BJ OLSON (Dewey) is an NYU-Tisch graduate who lives in NYC. He portrayed Andy Warhol in the original production of POP!, and is glad to be making his Gateway Playhouse debut. Lots of thanks for everyone’s support and love.|
|RUTH PFERDEHIRT (Paulette) is so excited to be making her Gateway debut. She spent the past year playing Dory in Finding Nemo: The Musical. St. Louis MUNY credits: Ernestina Money in Hello, Dolly!, Les Miserables, Godspell, and Lick-Me-Bite-Me in The Producers. Regional credits: Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Lina Lamont in Singin’ In The Rain, Poopsie in The Pajama Game, and Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime. Proud graduate, University of Michigan Musical Theatre. Thank you to the Pferds.|
|AMANDA PHILLIPS (D.A. Joyce Riley, u/s Vivienne) recently graduated in May from Montclair State University with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Credits include: Minnie in West Side Story at Gateway Playhouse, Nina in The Seagull, Shelby in The Spitfire Grill, Chava in Fiddler on the Roof, Victoria in Cats, Frenchie/Kissing Couple in Cabaret, and Crazy for You at the Alexander Kassar Theatre. Thanks to my Mom and Bub for never giving up on me!|
|KATHLEEN ROONEY (Gabby, u/s Elle) is thrilled to be making her Gateway debut! Recent Regional: Belle in A Christmas Carol (Playhouse Square), Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Great Lakes Theatre Festival), Linda in Evil Dead - the musical (Beck Center), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Idaho Shakespeare Festival)
and Dororthy in The Wizard of Oz (Dynamics Theatre). Commercials: Red Lobster (national) and Axe Body Spray (NYFA). Kathleen earned her BM in Music Theatre from Baldwin Wallace College. This fall she will be playing the role of Mallory in City of Angels at Goodspeed Opera House. Special thanks to my wonderful agents at Harden Curtis, teachers, friends, and my beautiful family who get me through everything. Snaps!
|MICHELLE VEINTIMILLA (Cece) is so excited to return to Gateway this summer after completeing her freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University where she is pursuing a BFA in Acting. Favorite Gateway Credits include: Les Miserables – School Edition (Eponine), Aladdin (Princess Jasmine), Oliver! (Bet). This summer she will be reprising her role as Dora in Gateway’s Children’s Theater Production of Dora the Explorer LIVE! –Dora’s Pirate Adventure. She sends her love and thanks always to God, her beautiful family and awesome friends. Special thanks to Robin, Michael and Jess for believing in her and presenting her with these beautiful opportunities. 11:11|
|KRISTIN WETHERINGTON (Vivienne) - is beyond thrilled to be making her Gateway debut and retiring from her most recent role of “bartender”. Previous credits include Tours: Aida (Amneris); Regional Favorites: Footloose (Ariel/Rusty 3 times and counting!), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie), Annie (Lily St. Regis); NYC: Spellbound (New York Fringe Festival), What If? (La Mama); Training: The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre, BFA in Acting from East Carolina University, (and now Harvard Law!). Proud member of AEA! Many thanks to Dustin and Judy Boals, Inc. and the Gateway gang! All my love to my amazing family and Dan!
|CHELSEY WHITELOCK (Elle’s Mom/Judge, u/s Paulette) - is tickled pink to be returning to Gateway for one of her all time favorite shows Legally Blonde! You may have seen her in past Gateway productions Drowsy Chaperone, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hairspray and Hello Dolly. She was also seen in the 35th anniversary national tour of Annie directed by Martin Charnin. Other favorite roles include Roxie in Chicago, Brooke in Noises Off, Ado Annie in Oklahoma! and Lois Lane in Kiss Me Kate. “Much Love and thanks to Robin and the entire Gateway family for bringing me back again this year! Big hugs and kisses to my friends and family, my wonderful husband Mikey and our adorable new additions Banzo and Chickpea.”|
|TOM KOSIS (Director/Choreographer) - Returns to Gateway having Performed, Directed and/or Choreographed 6 previous productions over the past 20 years. He was the Associate Director for the Broadway Productions of Side Show, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Flower Drum Song, Bye Bye Birdie starring John Stamos and is currently working on Rise starring Kristin Chenowith. Tom was the Resident Choreographer for the Broadway & National Touring Production of Mary Poppins. He Directed and Choreographed the National Tours of Flower Drum Song and The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber. www.tomkosis.com|
|LEAH HOFMANN (Associate Choreographer) is thankful to be working on her first production at Gateway Playhouse! Tours: Young Frankenstein (Inga u/s), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rockette). Regional: Sunset Boulevard, The Producers, 42nd Street, My One and Only, and more. Thank you to Tom Kosis and everyone at Gateway for bringing her on board for Legally Blonde!|
|JUSTIN S. FISCHER (Musical Director) just recently completely a year-long stint as Associate Music Director on the 2nd national tour of Spring Awakening. Past tours include Hairspray, I Love a Piano. Pre-Broadway: Associate for Trip of Love, in Osaka, Japan. Regional: Avenue Q, Altar Boyz (Gateway Playhouse), Nine (Seaside Music Theater), Seussical (Orlando Repertory Theatre). As composer/lyricist, his recent work includes an adaptation of Pinocchio for the Random Farms Kids Theater (Elmsford, NY), and The Princess of Riverside Drive for the Vital Theatre Company (New York, NY). Past commissions include musicals for the Erie Playhouse (Erie, PA), and the Seagle Music Colony (Schroon Lake, NY). Love to John.|
|JOHN “JP” POLLARD (Production Stage Manager) returns for his second show of the 2011 Season here at Gateway, having previously stage managed the critically acclaimed West Side Story. JP got his start in the theatre over 30 years ago while working alongside the likes of Kaye Ballard, Imogene Coca, Cesar Romero, Betty Garrett and many others at Earl Holliman’s Fiesta Dinner Playhouse, in his hometown of San Antonio, TX. Since those early years, he has stage managed from the East Coast to the West Coast and everywhere in between. Career highlights include the seven-month, SRO San Francisco run of The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life In The Universe starring Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Lily Tomlin, four seasons at New Jersey’s own Paper Mill Playhouse, and an International tour of Grease which toured both Germany and Switzerland. In addition to theatre, he has also spent time as personal assistant to actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Proud Equity member since 1983. My work, as always, is dedicated to my loving and extremely understanding family.
|FRANKIE (Bruiser) was rescued by his guardian/trainer William Berloni in 2008 from the Meriden Humane Society in Meriden, CT for the National touring company of Legally Blonde. He has been touring for the last three years in the starring role of “Bruiser”. Frankie holds the records for doing more performances of Legally Blonde than any human or canine actor. He loves his job.|
|CHLOE (Rufus) was adopted from Bulldog Rescue of CT in 2006 by her trainer/guardian William Berloni. She originated the role of “Rufus” in the Broadway Production of Legally Blonde. She holds the record of never missing a performance of the entire Broadway run. She retired in 2009 and is thrilled to be coming back to recreate her role for the Gateway Playhouse.|
|WILLIAM BERLONI (Animal Trainer) 2011 Tony Award winner for Excellence in Theater. Mr. Berloni’s Broadway animal training credits include the original Sandy in Annie, Camelot with Richard Burton, Frankenstein, The First, Alice In Wonderland, Oliver, Anything Goes (at Lincoln Center), Nick And Nora, La Bete, The Wiz, the 20th and 30th Anniversary revivals of Annie, the Madison Square Garden production of The Wizard Of Oz, Dinner At Eight (at Lincoln Center), Gypsy with Bernadette Peters, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Woman In White Awake And Sing, The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, Legally Blonde The Musical, Joe Turner’s Come And Gone and The Royal Family. He also trained a dog for Susan Stroman’s ballet Double Feature at the New York City Ballet. Mr. Berloni has also trained animals for hundreds of Off-Broadway shows, including working at the New York Shakespeare festival on nine different productions, Regional Theaters, Tours, Movies and Television shows. Recent films include Charlie Wilson’s War directed by Mike Nichols and starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful starring Marcia Gay Hardon, Lucy Lu and Ellen Burstyn. His most recent television shows include Disney’s new television film Frenemies, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Sesame Street, Johnny And The Sprites, Between The Lions, Reading Rainbow, Oobi, Animal Planet’s Wild On The Set, Dogs 101, Outgragous Animals as well as featured stories on the “Today Show,” “CBS Evening News” and “CBS Sunday Morning.” He was also a celebrity judge on MTV’s reality show “Legally Blonde, The Search For Elle Woods.” Ladies Home Journal profiled Mr. Berloni in their January 2010 edition and in January 2010, Dog Fancy Magazine included him as one of the “Top 40 Dog People You’ve GottaKnow.” His animals have appeared for the White House for presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama. As an author he has written Sandy The Autobiography Of A Star published by Simon and Schuster, Doga by Chronicle Books and his latest book Broadway Tails is published by Globe Pequot Press and available now in stores and online. Proceeds of that book will be donated to the Sandy Fund at the Humane Society of New York. Mr. Berloni has received the ASPCA Humanitarian Award and the American Humane Association Craven Award for his work on Broadway. Mr. Berloni, his wife Dorothy and their daughter Jenna, live on a farm in Connecticut with twenty-two dogs, four cats, four horses, a pony, two llamas, and a miniature donkey. Mr. Berloni is currently the Director of Animal Behavior for the Humane Society of New York and is involved in helping animals that need homes. Visit our Website at
|KIM HANSON (Lighting Designer) This is Kim's 27th season designing for Gateway "And I'm going to keep doing it until I get it right." He also designs regularly for The Paradise Ballet and The Waterfront Theatre in Key West as well as Ballet Santa Barbara in California. "It's something about the ocean I guess". He spent most of the 80's and 90'sdesigning and touring with national and international tours; A Chorus Line in S.E. Asia, 42nd Street in Israel, and the Russian St. Petersburg State Ballet on Ice to name a few. Kim lives in New Fairfield, CT where, in his spare time, he chair's the town's Board of Education. He sends a special thanks to Paul, Brian, and Jose.|
|ROBERT ANDREW KOVACH (Scenic Design) Robert is excited to make his Gateway debut. Off Broadway: White’s Lies, The Sphinx Winx, and ImaginOcean (Drama Desk Nom.). Non Eq. National Tour of All Shook Up. Regional Designs: Paper Mill Playhouse, TUTS, Walnut Street Theatre, Fulton Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, and others. Robert is a proud member of United Scenic Artists (USA 829). Special thanks to Paul & Tom and the entire Legally Blonde team. www.KovachDesigns.com|
|SU JUNG WEAVER (Costume Designer) has an MFA Costume Design from the North Carolina School of The Arts. She has worked with Santa Fe Opera Company, the Chautauqua Opera, Raleigh Little Theatre, Cape Fear Regional Theatre and Methodist University. In a previous career, she was a fashion designer in Seoul, Korea.|
|PAUL ALLAN (Producer) has been producing the seasons here at Gateway since the 1980’s. Paul’s grandfather (Harry Pomeran) was the first producer of Gateway in 1950, followed by his uncle (David Sheldon), his parents (Ruth and Stan Allan), and together with his sister Robin. Paul has been able to work in NYC on various shows in different capacities, run a touring company with shows traveling around the country and abroad, operate a sister theatre in Connecticut, act as consultant and facilitator for the restoration and reopening of the Patchogue Theatre, and maintain a set rental business - where Gateway scenery is used in theatres across the country after appearing on the Gateway stage. Paul appreciates, admires and honors his family’s dedication to the arts and is proud to help continue the legacy. Paul lives in Bellport with his wife Annmarie and their 2 children - Luke 6 and Alexa 4.|
July 1, 2011
How to Succeed in a Pink Power Suit
“Legally Blonde: The Musical,” the lightweight confection now playing at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, overflows with...(Read complete review here)
June 28, 2011
'Legally Blonde' the musical at Gateway
If torts were candy canes and judges were hairdressers, then Reese Witherspoon -- or in this case, Ruby Lewis -- could be the pride of Harvard Law and win every case.
In "Legally Blonde," the 2001 movie and 2007 Broadway musical, we're asked to believe that a fashion-marketing major who thinks you only wear black when there's a dead person in the room not only gets into Harvard Law School just to win back her boyfriend, but also . . .
Oops. That would give too much away. Still, you'll surmise early in this high-energy excess at Gateway Performing Arts Center that Elle Woods, the pretty-in-pink blonde, pretty much gets her way.
In "Serious," a duet in which Elle expects a proposal, she's ditched by Harvard-bound Warner, a handsome dolt played with see-through guile by Joel Ingram. What does she see in that wannabe-rich guy? Elle is certainly formidable -- if only song and dance were law and order.
Despite her air-headed tendencies and annoying Greek chorus, we're on Elle's side thanks to good-hearted entreaties for the underdog -- literally -- that Lewis sells so irresistibly on "So Much Better" and in the title song and its triumphant remix.
At Harvard, she befriends Emmett, a dressed-for-failure study-aholic played with seductive understatement by Brent Michael DiRoma, last seen as Tony in Gateway's inspired "West Side Story." He undergoes a whoa! transformation when Elle takes him shopping as repay for making her study, earning her a spot on smarmy Professor Callahan's (Paul Jackel) murder-case dream team.
Elle's beauty-shop buddy Paulette (Ruth Pferdehirt) provides her with a Perry Mason moment inspired by the lusty "Bend and Snap" exercise with a UPS hunk (Matt Nolan) that dissolves into a Riverdance moment. (It's complicated.) But when it comes to scene-stealing, no one on two legs can top Frankie, Elle's pooch accessory, and Chloe, the adopted bulldog, both trained by Tony winner William Berloni.
Su Jung Weaver's costumes dazzle with pink intensity, while set designer Robert Andrew Kovach supplies comic and somber backdrops bathed in Kim Hanson's flattering-for-blondes light. The aerobic dance numbers snap to the choreography of director Tom Kosis, assisted by Leah Hofmann, to Justin Fischer's never-miss-a-beat musical direction.
It's harmless fun as long as you're not offended by warped feminism.
June 30, 2011
Theater Review: Legally Blonde
After the runaway success of the film that starred Reese Witherspoon, it must have taken a lot of thought before the decision was made to produce a musical version of Legally Blonde. This is a show, like Hello Dolly, where success or failure will come from the casting of the leading role. In this case it is Elle Wood, a charismatic, beautiful blonde who leaves a college life of fun and games for the rigors of Harvard Law School after her boyfriend, Warner (Joel Ingram), dumps her when he decides he must study law and acquire a more responsible partner, Vivienne (Kristin Wetherington), to satisfy his parents’ aspirations for him.
Full marks to Gateway management for choosing Ruby Lewis to play this challenging role that keeps her on stage almost the entire show and demands the highest standards of singing, dancing and acting. Lewis has star quality, and the rest of the cast seems to thrive on her personality and high energy level.
This is a fun, upbeat show, tailored for the same audience demographics that enjoyed the movie, and the presence of many more young faces than usual in the audience shows how well this has worked.
The opening number, “O My God You Guys,” with a bevy of young college sorority girls, sets the scene with a tempo that rarely slackens. (Following all the words in the numbers throughout the show is not always easy, but then these are not the most memorable lyrics you will come across.)
For no particular reason, the cast goes into “Ireland,” a spirited takeoff of Riverdance, and in the second act the show moves into overdrive with a skipping number “Whipped into Shape,” followed by the provocative “Bend and Snap,” which displays even more of Elle’s talents. The surprisingly funny and politically incorrect number, “There! Right There,” in which the characters debate whether the pool attendant Nikos (Justin Flexen) is “European or Gay,” takes place in the courtroom where Elle is serving as an intern on the legal team defending Brooke Wyndham (Erin Henry) who is charged with murdering her husband.
In a sub-plot, Paulette (Ruth Pferdehir) is a hairdresser who is bowled over by the hunky UPS man Kyle, splendidly played by Matt Nolan, who almost steals the show. The other scene-stealers are canine: Frankie, Elle’s Chihuahua, is so sensitive that if your seats are in the front, the ushers will ask you to stay very still for the first five minutes of the show to avoid upsetting her. (I have to say that after seeing hundreds of shows over the years, this was a first.) Chloe, Paulette’s bulldog, is far more docile—almost having to be dragged around the stage.
Director and choreographer Tom Kosis has brought the talented cast members together to provide an evening of fun and great dancing. The conductor, Justin Fischer, works wonders with an orchestra hidden from view, and Robert Andrew Kovach’s sets are vividly original.
You are not likely to come out singing any of the songs from Legally Blonde, but you will almost certainly have a smile on your face!
Click any image to see it larger
Hover over the larger image for controls to advance through them
FIOS 1 Feature Story
This text will be replaced by the flash music player.
Use the Player to your left to hear
Ruby Lewis interviewed on
Download the Playbill
5 Meg PDF File
|Elle's Dad||BARRY JOHNSON|
|Elle's Mom||CHELSEY WHITELOCK|
|Grandmaster Chad||MATT NOLAN|
|Emmett||BRENT MICHAEL DiROMA|
|Sundeep Padamadan||JUSTIN FLEXEN|
|Mr. Spruce||BRETT FIGEL|
|D.A. Joyce Riley||AMANDA PHILLIPS|
|Dog Handler||DUSTIN J. HARDER*|
|Delta Nu Sisters, UCLA Students, Harvard Students, Brooke's Workout Friends, Courtroom Bystanders, Department Store Customers & Sales People||SARAH BEHRENS, DANIELLE CARLACCI, BRETT FIGEL, JUSTIN FLEXEN, KEVIN GUTCHES, DUSTIN J. HARDER*, REBECCA MAGAZINE, KEVIN METZGER, MATT NOLAN, BJ OLSON, AMANDA PHILLIPS, KATHLEEN ROONEY, MICHELLE VIENTIMILLA, CHELSEY WHITELOCK|
|Elle Woods||KATHLEEN ROONEY|
|Margot, Serena, Pilar||REBECCA MAGAZINE|
|Callahan||MICHAEL EDWARD BAKER*|
|Key 2||JOHN MURPHY|
|Key 3||BRANDON STURIALE|
Board of Directors
|Executive Producer||Ruth Allan|
|Associate Producer||Jeff Bellante|
|General Manager||Dom Ruggiero|
|Company Manager||Michael Baker|
|Director of Development/ Assistant to the Producer||Scot Patrick Allan|
|Administrative Assistant||Lauren Windsor|
|Artistic/Casting Director||Robin Joy Allan|
|Associate Casting/Artistic Director||Jessica Harrison|
|Associate Choreographer||Leah Hofmann|
|Musical Director||Justin S. Fischer|
|Costume Design||Sue Jung Weaver|
|Lighting Designer||Kim Hanson|
|Scenic Designer||Robert Andrew Kovach|
|Sound Consultants||Dominic Sac, Cody Spencer|
|Production Photographer||Jeff Bellante|
|Musical Contractor||Jeff Hoffman|
|Box Office Manager||Laurie Parr|
|House Manager||Joanne Famiglietti|
|Box Office Staff||Beth Harrison, Nadine Hazard, Diane Koerber, Christina Montaldo, Don Rebar, Kyle Reitan, Francesca Welhous|
|Production Manager||Brian Loesch|
|Production Stage Manager||Matthew S. Karr|
|Technical Director||Mo G. Guiberteau|
|Wardrobe Supervisor||Marianne Dominy|
|Master Electricians||Jose Santiago|
|Sound Engineer||Adam Shubert|
|Scenic Artist||Keeley Dorwart|
|Props Master||Robert Bursztyn|
|Assistant Production Manager||Justin Hoffman|
|Assistant Master Electrician||Matthew Daurio|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Lindsay Sigler|
|Assistant Technical Director||Dennis R. Berfield|
|Shop Foreman||Charlie J. Bell|
|Technicians||Cliff Andrea, Kaitlin Binnie, Elan R. Bustin, Maxx Henry, Brittany Loesch, Joseph Loesch, Greg Marullo, Elizabeth Nosewicz, Spencer Padilla, Ben Panichello|
|Wigs & Makeup Supervisor||Trent Pcenicni|
|Wardrobe Assistant/Sticher||Natalie Ferris|
|Company Management Intern||Cassandra Levey|
|Assistant Stage Management Interns||Bethany Sortman|
|Electrics Interns||Keelia Liptak, Justin Michel, Kenneth Nicholas|
|Sound Interns||Zach Ireson, Christina Verde|
|Wardrobe Interns||Samantha Abbott, Amber Mallon, Grace Czerniawski|
|General Technician Interns||Kendell McNichols, Erica Oliner, Sean McConaughey|
|Facilities Manager||Mark Frederick|
|Concessions and Hospitality Manager||Blake Armitstead|
|Cleaning Contractor||Elio Sanchez, Maria Sanchez|
|Grounds Maintenance||HTM Landscaping Company|
|House Staff||Ethan Bellante, Julia Bellante, Ryan Hudak, Ajay Persaud, Jonathan Smaldone, Kevin Spellman, Ed Wacera|
|General Counsel||Ann L. Nowak|