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‘Legally Blonde’ at SMC: A stunning showcase of female empowerment

When I heard that Saint Mary’s Theatre Department was planning a production of “Legally Blonde,” I was excited to say the least. The feeling of nostalgia watching this musical combined with the way Saint Mary’s College has empowered women was an amazing combination. 

From the opening scene when the Delta Nu sisters perform “Omigod You Guys,” I was in absolute awe of the music, the set, the costumes and everything in between. The music within this production never failed to impress me throughout the show, and the vibrant dance numbers added to the fun. All of these outstanding elements were demonstrated an immense attention to detail.

The portrayal of Warner (Rylan Chromy) brought justice to the ex-boyfriend we love to hate. He wore a condescending smirk with his character and constantly called Elle (Delaney Nold) “a Marilyn.”

Warner’s character in the musical was fascinating especially when it came to the creativity in his interactions with Vivianne’s character. Vivianne (Natalie Biegel) was not Warner’s fiancé in the beginning of the musical, but instead, his girlfriend. She ignores Elle’s wish to support each other as women and uses derogatory language.

The character development Vivianne undergoes is amazing. She stands up against Warner when he thinks Elle is sleeping with Professor Callahan (Steve Chung), and she encourages Elle to stay. Vivianne tells her that women have to stick together. The contrast to the film propelled the theme of women empowering women.

Enid (Catherine Cushwa) feminist views were kept within this production, but the musical went further. Elle’s decision to dress as a bunny receives criticism from Vivianne, and when Enid becomes aware of this, she starts an argument. The changes within the dynamic between Warner and Vivianne made resulted in his unfortunate fate that was enjoyable to watch.

The creative liberties taken in the show were not limited to the character’s but also within the musical numbers. Paulette (Tenley Edvardson) included a beautiful number of her Irish dancing accompanied by an ensemble. The number was beautifully done, and fleshing out Paulette’s story to include a love for Ireland was an amazing addition to the show. 

The musical numbers were not only beautiful but the production played into the humorous components of the film. In a number titled “Gay or European?” was broached with sensitivity, but it was highly humorous to watch. The scene ended with Nikos (Ayden Kowalski) admitting that he was both gay and European. 

[Editor’s note: Ayden Kowalski is a Scene writer for The Observer.]

The production invites laughing wholeheartedly and evenhandedly at a wide range of stereotyped characters. Elle is a reflection of the stereotypes placed on her. She is not viewed as being serious and her value is related to her looks, and, in the end, she reclaims the insult initially used against her by Callahan. 

The use of the production title “Legally Blonde” comes about only within the musical. It is a number that Elle sings when she chooses to leave Harvard. The lyrics reflect Elle’s story, she sings, “Some girls fight hard, some face the trial, some girls are just meant to smile.”

She overcomes the perceptions others have of her, and watching Elle’s journey throughout the musical is heart-warming and empowering.

Play: “Legally Blonde”

Where: Saint Mary’s College 

Starring: Delaney Nold, Rylan Chromy, Brenton Abram-Copenhaver

Director: Mark Abram-Copenhaver