The very gay ‘Legally Blonde’ takes up residence in North Texas
North Texas gets a one-two punch of Broadway this week. "Legally Blonde: The Musical" opens on Tuesday at Fair Park Music Hall for two weeks (courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals), then takes a one-day break before heading over to Bass Hall in Fort Worth (from Casa Manana). Same production, same cast, different venue less than 40 miles away. A bit unusual, but it practically doubles your chances of seeing the show. And you probably should.
That is assuming you haven’t already. "Legally Blonde" helped rewrite the way the modern Broadway musical is marketed in two significant ways recently. First, a live stage version was taped for airing on MTV while the Broadway run was still raking in the bucks.
Second, it became the second American musical (following "Grease") to turn the casting of its lead role — air-headed fashionista Elle Woods, who enters Harvard Law to stalk an old boyfriend and ends up a sharp legal thinker — into a reality competition TV show. (One of the failed contestants on that show recently performed the role of Dorothy in the national tour of "The Wizard of Oz" at Fair Park.)
This is one of the gayest musicals Broadway has churned out in a while — and that’s saying something. The score by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe, the same husband-and-wife team that recently premiered their adaptation of "Sarah, Plain & Tall" at the Dallas Theater Center, mixes several styles of music, including hip-hop and Irish ballad, but it’s in the clever and campy lyrics that it really succeeds, including "There! Right There!" which poses the question: Is a man gay or European?
As has become a tradition this season, members of the touring company plan to join local musical luminaries for Mama’s Party at the Greenville Center for the Arts, doing a benefit fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on June 27.
Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. July 21â€“Aug. 2. Tuesdaysâ€“Saturdays at 8 p.m., weekend matinees at 2 p.m. $20â€“$80.
Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Aug. 4â€“9. Tuesdayâ€“Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Fridayâ€“Saturday at 8 p.m., weekend matinees at 2 p.m. $30â€“$85. Tickermaster.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 17, 2009.