published Friday, July 19th, 2013

Review: 'Legally Blonde' musical a showcase of lighthearted fun

By Debbie Hale
  • photo
    The Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s production of “Legally Blonde” stars Brittni Rhodes as Elle Woods.
    Alex McMahan Photography

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre concludes its 89th MainStage season with spirited dance, song and laughter dominating the production of "Legally Blonde, The Musical."

The collaboration of director Steve Ray, musical director John Echols and choreographer Lindsay Fussell keeps the audience engaged in this rowdy theater version of the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

Ray's set changes flow flawlessly from West to East Coast with scenes ranging from a Harvard law school classroom to courtroom and from beauty salon to trailer park. Costume designer DeAnna-Marie Prather "rains" cotton-candy pink fashions, giving the show pizazz.

With a cast of 31, including the colorful canine captivators -- Dobby as Bruiser and Lumpy as Refus -- the misadventures of Elle Woods sparkle as Brittni Rhodes brings the blonde persona to life with her lovely voice, memorable moves and spunky stage presence. Rhodes' energetic performance is remarkable.

Bobby Burkich is the dreamy boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. His characterization of the catty friend shows excellent comedic timing and, he seems quite at ease as the handsome villain.

Making his debut at the CTC, Jonathan Goff shows off his smooth vocals as Emmett, the teaching assistant. Ultimately becoming the object of Elle's affection, Goff delivers the heartwarming character intended.

Azusa Dance is a real charmer as the hilarious, gum-smacking, hairdresser Paulette, and she is a virtuoso with impressive dance moves and voluminous vocals.

Jay Echols is most memorable as Kyle, the UPS guy with the shorter than regulation uniform. The Greek Chorus of sorority-sister supporters exemplify high energy from the opening of the curtain until the curtain call.

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