Legally Blonde
at South Lakes High School

Reviewed on April 26, 2014

Langley High School
Washington Post - Fairfax
Langley High School
Washington Post - Fairfax
Langley High School
Langley High School - Reston
Langley High School
Fairfax County Times
Stone Bridge High School
Oakcrest School
The Sentinel
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
The Sentinel

Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf
Langley High School

Submitted for publication to Washington Post - Fairfax

Brains or beauty? Take your pick. For Elle Woods, the choice is simple: both. The primp and peppy blonde takes Harvard by storm in South Lakes High School's whimsical production of Legally Blonde, a story of staying true to yourself through bookish dedication and fashionable flair.

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and 2001 film of the same name, Legally Blonde graced the Broadway stage in 2007, later receiving seven Tony Award nominations and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical. The show features music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach. It chronicles the story of Elle Woods, a UCLA sorority girl recently dumped by the snobby Warner Huntington III. In an effort to win back his love, Elle follows him by getting herself accepted to Harvard Law School, where students immediately mock her preppy pink lifestyle and ditzy persona. Eventually, Elle learns to transcend her stereotype and becomes an intellectual lawyer with the help of the cute teacher's aide, Emmett Forrest.

Overall, the sounds of the percussive orchestra balanced the singers well, adjusting their volume accordingly. Enthusiastically-executed choreography and high spirits made large ensemble numbers, such as the jump-roping "Whipped Into Shape," one of the many highlights of the production. Two loveable canine companions created heartwarming and comedic moments.

Megan DeSisti played the spunky Elle Woods with charisma and style. DeSisti's alto belt and physical stage presence allowed her to shine, whether showing off her hip-thrusting, high-kicking dance skills in "What You Want" or displaying a more sensitive side of her character in the ballad, "Legally Blonde." Her tactful ability to accommodate some technical errors exemplified professionalism. Stanley Payne as the adorable Emmett Forrest connected believably with DeSisti, smiling his way through the challenges of Harvard Law and depicting a likeable, down-to-earth persona.

Also notable were Megan Fontenot as Warner's new girlfriend and Harvard classmate, Vivienne Kensington, as well as Mark Lawson as the intimidating Professor Callahan. Fontenot successfully created a condescending character that the audience loved to hate, making snickering remarks at Elle, only to show a change of heart in the second act. Lawson's strict demeanor and dominating presence glowed in both his superior acting and enunciated singing. In addition, Kyle the UPS Man (Carlos Lenz) stole the production with his signature stage strut, comically suggestive movements, and character voice. Any vocal errors were masked by the cast's inspirational, upbeat energy and commitment to the campy nature of the musical.

Colorful costumes, numbering over 200, added cohesiveness to various scenes; Elle's outfits particularly suited her well in each instance. An onstage quick change of dresses ran smoothly and pleasantly surprised the audience, characterizing the magic of theatre. Students designed and acquired nearly 300 props that integrated smoothly into the show, quite an impressive feat. Despite a few sound and lighting cue errors, each team handled the numerous microphones and technical difficulty of a musical admirably.

With boundless zeal, heartwarming messages, and a hint of pizzazz, Legally Blonde made us all want to "bend and snap" to the rhythmic sounds of a young woman finding her voice in the most surprising of places.

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Lily Brock
Langley High School

Submitted for publication to Washington Post - Fairfax

"…Baby that's why you and I should break up"—the entrée has yet to arrive and the man of your dreams has discarded you like a last season Prada handbag. What's a girl to do? Drown her sorrows in a pint of triple chocolate brownie ice cream? Perform an a capella rendition of "All by Myself" to your ever-supportive dog, Bruiser? The answer is obvious: Exchange Malibu sorority mixers for legal jargon and follow your love to Harvard Law School. South Lakes High School charmed the audience with their exuberant production of Legally Blonde, proving that there's a brain beneath the blonde.

Adapted to the stage from the hit 2001 movie bearing the same name, "Legally Blonde" appeared on Broadway in 2007 with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. The musical follows UCLA Delta Nu president, Elle Woods, to Harvard Law School in pursuit of her ex-boyfriend's affections. Along the way, Elle comes to realize her own intellect as well as her true worth as she repeatedly defies stereotypes and exceeds expectations. Conveying an inherently feminist message, the show emphasizes individuality and independence through a series of lively musical numbers.

In the role of Elle Woods, Megan DeSisti was a comical revelation, propelling the production forth with notable vigor. DeSisti was as adept in her masterful execution of choreography as she was in her portrayal of the blonde bombshell with a penchant for pink. A distinct closeness developed between DeSisti's Elle and Stanley Payne's Emmett Forrest. Payne played his role with such earnestness that the audience quickly came to sympathize and route for his lovable underdog. Diana Minnix garnered audience admiration in her humorous portrayal of Elle's initially loveless friend, Paulette. As the ambitious Professor Callahan, Mark Lawson conveyed a directness and slight malevolence in his rendition of "Blood in the Water." Megan Fontenot demonstrated an impressive commitment to character, delving into the role of Woods's adversary for the heart of Warner Huntington III. The dimensionality with which Fontenot graced the role was matched only by her vocal strength and consistency.

Lewis, Lindsay Bur, and Karin Hoelzl, as Elle's animated companions, served up a hefty portion of sass and oomph in every hip swivel and sequel. Bringing captivating spirit to each number, the girls taught the merits of the "bend and snap". The group displayed unabashed vivacity, all the while maintaining crisp, precise execution of choreography. Sydney Crutcher as Enid Hoopes snatched herself many a chuckle in her portrayal of a Gloria Steinem-loving feminist as Carlos Lenz proved himself an audience favorite as Kyle. Overall, the entirety of the ensemble overwhelmed the stage with passionate delivery in numbers such as "What You Want."

The production's publicity drew in community support through their various marketing techniques, attaching flyers to pizza boxes, performing at large town events, and documenting the show's progress in a series of blogs. The prop department did a commendable job in crafting a realistic environment, incorporating 250 hand props and 50 set dressing props into the show. Additionally, the use of two dogs and a working golf cart wowed the audience and allowed for a distinctly fun authenticity. The student orchestra worked nicely to envelope the auditorium with music.

Fueled by its unparalleled energy, South Lakes High School's production of Legally Blonde was distinctly dynamic and seemingly unstoppable.

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Tyler Larkworthy
Langley High School

Submitted for publication to

"Love conquers all." But can it really get you into Harvard Law School? If you're Elle Woods it can! South Lakes High School told the remarkable story of the blonde sorority girl turned lawyer in their boisterous production of Legally Blonde.

Written by Laurence O'Keefe (music and lyrics), Nell Benjamin (music and lyrics), and Heather Hach (book), "Legally Blonde" is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film, both of the same name. The show opened on Broadway in 2007, running for 595 performances and receiving nominations for seven Tony Awards. The story follows Elle Woods, a bubbly, fashion-obsessed, pink-laden, and incredibly blonde president of the Delta Nu sorority at UCLA, overjoyed at the prospect of her long-term boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, proposing to her. When Warner instead breaks up with her, citing the need to find someone more serious as he pursues his law career at Harvard, Elle resolves to also get into and succeed at Harvard to win him back.

Whether bouncing and bobbing around the stage with the ditsy energy of a carefree sorority girl or lamenting her struggle with a sexist professor, Megan DeSisti proved her versatility and poise as Elle Woods. DeSisti flaunted her powerful voice and skilled dancing in numbers like "What You Want." She and Emmett, portrayed by Stanley Payne, connected believably together, especially in their moving duet "Legally Blonde."

From the moment he burst onto stage and delivered his fierce introduction number "Blood in the Water," Mark Lawson dominated as Callahan. Lawson captured the villainy inherent in his character superbly, demonstrating his imperturbable strictness through his frightening interactions with the timid students. Diana Minnix expressed a mix of exasperation and tenderness in her portrayal of the quirky salon owner Paulette, eventually crafting a realistic relationship with Kyle (Carlos Lenz), who only needed his salacious strut to captivate the audience. As the Greek Chorus trio of Delta Nu girls, Jade Lewis, Lindsay Bur, and Karin Hoelzl exhibited incredible spirit, never missing a beat in their uproarious delivery of songs like "Bend and Snap" and "Positive."

A court stenography device, numerous suit jackets, law books, and shampoo bottles were just some of the over 250 hand props and 50 set dressing props seen in the show, along with two dogs and a golf cart. No props ever seemed out of place in the time period or atmosphere, and there were no issues with mixing up props. Over 200 detailed costumes, including a glitzy pink marching band uniform, a pink playboy bunny outfit, a UPS uniform with short shorts, and countless preppy outfits for Harvard students, contributed greatly to the visual appeal and realism of the show.

The cast of Legally Blonde practically beamed with energy throughout the production, dazzling the audience with their commitment and aplomb. With boundless charm and skill South Lakes High School delivered in their production, crafting a truly memorable performance.

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Hayley Wenk
Langley High School

Submitted for publication to - Reston

Do blondes really have more fun? According to South Lakes High School's production of Legally Blonde, they clearly do.

Legally Blonde began as a book and then a movie, notably starring Reese Witherspoon. In 2007, the story was adapted for the stage and set to music to create the musical. The story follows Elle Woods, a Californian socialite and president of the Delta Nu sorority, as she follows her ex-boyfriend Warner all the way to Harvard Law School in an attempt to win him back. But along the way, she meets the hardworking teacher's assistant Emmett and the eccentric hairdresser Paulette, who help her thrive and stay true to herself.

From the Delta Nu sorority girls to the students of Harvard Law, the entire cast was filled with energy. The song "What You Want" filled the stage with performers, the Delta Nu chorus dancing in one row, a cheer team in the back, and even a drumline keeping the beat in the corner—all lead by Elle Woods (Megan DeSisti) in a glimmering pink majorette uniform.

DeSisti shone as Elle Woods, dancing across the stage in pinks and navy, always ready with a snap or a flick of her hair. DeSisti transformed from a love stuck college girl to a serious, earnest student. Particularly enjoyable was "Bend and Snap," in which Woods teaches her quirky hairdresser Paulette (Diana Minnix) how to attract men. With her voice pitched up and nasal, Minnix's comedy never missed a beat. With her little stumbles and swinging arms, the physicality of her role added to the humor. The role of Elle's romantic interest, Emmett Forest, was played by Stanley Payne. With his stooping walk, Payne clearly showed his awkward, intelligent character.

The role of the stoic Professor Callahan was played by Mark Lawson, who circled around the terrified students during his solo number, "Blood in the Water." Another standout was the outspoken feminist Enid Hoopes (Sydney Crutcher). Crutcher's aggression was well played, coming off as comedic, and always good for a laugh. Megan Fontenot's portrayal of Vivienne stood out, for changing from a proud, spiteful antagonist, to an inspiring, sympathetic character, singing the opening solo of the "Legally Blonde Remix."

The show was no small feat for the technical side, and they handled the challenge admirably. The costume crew dealt with 200 costumes, and a number of quick changes for the lead actors. The pit orchestra played on point, keeping the tempo at a good speed for the dancers and singers. Despite a few microphone glitches, understandable with the number of mics the sound crew had to manage, the cast powered through. The stage crew had the daunting task of moving staircases, doors, a court bench, and even a whole salon into place, which they moved without drawing too much attention from the scenes in front of them.

Ultimately, Legally Blonde is more than a fun story, a pop-style song, or an energetic dance. Legally Blonde is a story about working hard to achieve a goal—a lesson that South Lakes clearly learned, and surpassed.

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Mary Long
Langley High School

Submitted for publication to Fairfax County Times

What's blonde, bubbly, and…smart? South Lakes High School's production of Legally Blonde: The Musical called into question the idea of judging a book by its cover, suggesting through song and dance that there's more to people than initially meets the eye.

Legally Blonde opened on Broadway in 2007. With a book by Heather Hach and a score by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, the original production garnered seven Tony nominations. Based on the movie of the same name, "Legally Blonde" tells the story of UCLA sorority star and seemingly stereotypical valley girl Elle Woods. The production begins as Elle plans for a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, the illustrious Warner Huntington III. But much to Elle's surprise, Warner dumps her instead, claiming he's looking for someone who is "less of a Marilyn, more of a Jackie." With that, Warner takes off for Harvard Law, and the determined Elle follows him cross country in a devoted effort to win him back. But at Harvard, Elle has trouble fitting in—Warner's new girlfriend, Vivenne Kensington, suggests Elle is kicked out on the first day class during the dreaded Professor Callahan's lecture. Elle begins her law school career with a bumpy start, but with the encouragement of her friends—Paulette, the eccentric, Ireland-obsessed hairdresser, and Emmett, a teaching assistant with a "chip on his shoulder"—Elle realizes that her legal knowledge can help others and ultimately changes her motivation for success.

South Lakes' production was dominated by bursting energy and overwhelming excitement from the entire cast. The stage always appeared perfectly full. Colorful costumes caught the audience's attention and bouncing dances matched the already-high energy level onstage. The choreography, which was chock-full of leg-kicking and "ethnic movements," proved fun and flirty.

As Elle, Megan DeSisti nailed the bubbling, bouncy nature of her over-the-top character. DeSisti's impressive lower register was best demonstrated in the solo ballads of the second act, where Elle's deeper characterization also shone through, painting her as a more realistic and multi-faceted personality. Megan Fontenot expertly navigated the dual nature of her character, Vivenne Kensignton, allowing the audience to either hate her or love her whenever it was appropriate. Fontenot's sweet-sounding singing livened up songs in which she held featured solos. Mark Lawson's portrayal of Professor Callahan displayed Lawson's own notable vocals while also depicting Callahan's pompous yet shady character. Quirky and cute, Diana Minnix was enjoyable as the adorably awkward Paulette.

Ensemble members gave especially standout performances. Brent Walter as Elle's Dad made a memorable scene with only a handful of lines and a short moment onstage. Similarly, Carlos Lenz stole the show as Kyle, the stage-strutting, male-model-of-a-postman and Paulette's later love interest.

A complicated, constantly-moving set contributed to the aforementioned fullness of the stage, which, along with smart transition periods, added to the high level of energy throughout the production. A variety of props and eye-catching costumes glittered across the stage, adding to the impressive technical quality of the production. While sound glitches and lighting shadows occasionally distracted, the cast's undeniable enthusiasm ultimately sold the show.

South Lakes High School's performance of Legally Blonde: The Musical proved that one doesn't have to be blonde to have fun—they just have to see the show!

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Sarah Santoro
Stone Bridge High School

Submitted for publication to Connection

In a world that is often full of too much black and grey, sometimes a little bit (or a lot) of pink can be just what the lawyer ordered. The cast and crew of South Lakes High School's Legally Blonde brought high energy and effervescent spirit to the loveable tale of staying true to oneself no matter what.

Delta Nu sorority president Elle Woods (Megan DeSisti) thinks her relationship with her boyfriend Warner (Tanner Asmussen) is perfect. However, he decides to break up with her, saying that he wants to be with someone more serious when he attends Harvard. Devastated, Elle decides to follow him there to win him back. The other students at Harvard look down on Elle, thinking she's shallow and judging her IQ by the amount of pink she wears. However she finds friends in teaching assistant Emmett Forrest (Stanley Payne) and salon owner Paulette (Diana Minnix). As Elle works hard to impress Warner, she begins discovering that she really does have a passion for law when she find out she can use it to help people. When she is chosen to help with a difficult trial, Elle must choose between winning at any cost and staying true to herself.

Legally Blonde premiered on Broadway in April 2007 with music and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe and book by Heather Hach. The popular musical was based on the novel by Amanda Brown and 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon. The production was a success; earning over $1,000,000 in a week several different times. The musical received seven Tony nominations, ten Drama Desk nominations, and the Laurence Oliver Award for Best Musical for the 2010 West End production.

Although the musical is full of playful, animated songs, one of the standouts was "What You Want" in which Elle sings her heart out about love and why it makes her the perfect candidate to attend Harvard. With an energetic drum line and peppy cheerleaders, it was upbeat and thoroughly entertaining. DeSisti showed off her talent as a dancer and commanded the stage with her sparkly pink majorette outfit and charming characterizations.

Elle's sorority sisters had an animated, endearing energy and presence. The performances, especially those of Jade Lewis (Margot), Lindsay Bur (Serena), and Karin Hoelzl (Pilar), who formed an imaginary Greek chorus of sorts to guide Elle at Harvard, were bubbly and infectious. The girls fully committed to the playful choreography and added spirited, vivacious facets to the production.

Isabella Van Stedum and Brent Walter added to the comedic nature of the show with their amusing portrayals of Elle's country club-frequenting, golf-club toting, cardigan-wearing parents. Carlos Lenz was hilarious as the UPS man Kyle with a cheeky trademark strut that delighted the audience.

Although some overall enunciation issues coupled with microphone problems made it difficult to understand the performers at times, the genuine interactions between characters and contagious energy of the entire cast kept the show engaging.

The costumes were bright and vibrant, clearly distinguishing between the perky Delta Nu girls and the more serious, reserved law students. Elle's costumes reflected her fabulous, sunny personality and included plenty of her signature color pink.

The cast of Legally Blonde brought their own unique take to the popular musical and demonstrated their talent with lively, engaging performances. Despite a few lapses, the technical elements served to heighten the energy and effect of the show. With obvious talent, enthusiasm, and creativity, the students at South Lakes High School created a highly enjoyable performance.

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Mary Diederich
Oakcrest School

Submitted for publication to The Sentinel

OMIGOD, OMIGOD YOU GUYS! South Lakes High School's production of Legally Blonde is exactly what you want!

With music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Legally Blonde: The Musical is based on the novel "Legally Blonde" by Amanda Brown and was adapted from the 2001 film. It opened on Broadway in April of 2007. After sorority girl Elle Woods enrolls in Harvard Law School to win back her boyfriend, she proves that brains and beauty aren't incompatible as she takes on the best of them in her first case: a murder trial.

As Elle Woods, Megan DeSisti was charming. She embraced her character and her fearless commitment to her character choices made Elle a joy to watch. An accomplished dancer, she shone in "What You Want" and "Bend and Snap". Her chemistry with Emmett Forrest, played by Stanley Payne, was wonderful and made their song together, Legally Blonde perfectly sweet. Payne's consistent character and great reactions as Emmett were enhanced by his command of the stage, even while his character was in the background. Tanner Asmussen and Megan Fontenot as Warner and Vivienne, respectively, were the characters one loved to hate and they were wonderfully believable as the perfect and serious Camelot couple of the show.

Supporting Elle were her Delta Nu's. Jade Lewis, Lindsay Bur, and Karin Hoelzl played off each other so well as Margot, Serena, and Pilar that they often stole scenes and had the audience longing for more of their "tell it how it is" sorority sass. Also notable was the eccentric and Irish obsessed beautician Paulette, played by Dianna Minnix. In "Bend and Snap" it was wonderful to watch her well-executed transformation as a character.

Certainly worth mentioning is Carlos Lenz. His hijinks brought life to the character of Kyle the UPS Guy and had the audience in tears, especially as he attempted to walk Rufus. Never breaking character, he dealt with the unexpected with grace, thinking on his feet. With Lenz on stage, there was never a dull moment!

The backstage crew did an admirable job of working with the large set pieces and quick costume changes and the extensive array of props for the show added tremendously to the experience.

With tremendous enthusiasm – and probably some of Elle's Red Bull – the cast of South Lakes High School's Legally Blonde put on a positively fabulous show.

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Gavin Moore
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Submitted for publication to The Sentinel

Welcome to Harvard Law School, where foreign princes, ambitious future senators and the brightest students across the nation gather to study to become the next generation of leaders. But when bubbly sorority girl Elle Woods arrives at the world's most prestigious university in a whirlwind of glitz, glamour and pink, she soon changes everyone, including herself, for the better, in South Lakes High School's infectious production of Legally Blonde.

Written by Heather Hach with lyrics and music from Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Legally Blonde premiered in a San Francisco tryout and then opened on Broadway in 2007, receiving positive reviews and overwhelming box office success. The musical, based off of the 2001 book and film of the same name, follows the story of "dumb blonde" Delta Nu sister Elle Woods as she follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School to prove that she is "serious." On her journey of self-discovery, Elle meets a wide range of interesting characters including Emmett, an awkward but driven law student; Paulette, a quirky salon owner searching for love; and Brooke, an exercise celebrity accused of murdering her husband.

Megan DeSisti portrayed the demanding role of Elle Woods with incredible personality and strong vocal skill. DeSisti's powerful stage presence and high energy provided an excellent foundation for the rest of the production to build upon. Stanley Payne stepped into the role of endearing and ambitious teaching assistant Emmett Forrest, the eventual love interest of Elle. Payne imbued his performance with careful attention to every aspect of his character's attitude and motivations. Diana Minnix played the character of Paulette with winsome acting and impressive vocals, while her chemistry with Carlos Lenz as UPS delivery man Kyle garnered uproarious laughter.

In addition to the show's strong leads, many supporting actors stood out from the cast, bringing more talent and energy to the performance. Vivienne, Warner's new girlfriend at Harvard, was portrayed by Megan Fontenot who displayed beautiful vocal talent in songs such as the "Legally Blonde Remix." Madi Cook, playing Brooke Wyndham, tackled one of the most difficult tasks presented by the show: singing a musical number while simultaneously doing complex jump-rope choreography. The production's hilarious "Greek" Chorus consisted of Jade Lewis, Lindsay Bur, and Karin Hoelzl. These three actresses not only came together as a cohesive vocal ensemble, but also brought incredible energy to the stage from the moment they entered. The show included two dogs. These canine actors were well trained and fit into the show seamlessly.

The production boasted a plethora of costumes and props that contributed greatly to the production, while a wide array of costumes created a brilliant color palette for the show ranging from all shades of pink to blues and blacks. There were some issues with minor microphone and set malfunction, but these problems were handled masterfully by the cast and crew who made sure that the flow of the show was not disrupted.

With superb acting, impressive vocals and dazzling technical aspects, the cast and crew of South Lakes High School's production delivered a heartwarming message of perseverance and believing in oneself.

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