Review: Legally Blonde at Stone Ridge High School

by Jack Child of Falls Church High School

Do you enjoy comedies, romances, or stories of rising above the expectations of others and staying true to yourself? If so, Stone Bridge High School’s production of Legally Blonde is “What You Want!” Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl from UCLA who goes to Harvard Law School to win her ex-boyfriend Warner back.

Legally Blonde is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the famous 2001 movie. It was adapted for the stage by Heather Hach, Laurence O’Keefe, and Nell Benjamin and opened on Broadway in 2007. Stone Bridge High School’s Running Dog Productions put on a wonderful performance of Legally Blonde with dedicated acting, stellar vocals, and consistently high energy levels.

Playing the iconic Elle Woods was Bethany Shears, whose wide smile and vocal prowess made her a standout performer. Shears managed to embody the many stages of Elle’s journey while preserving the same character at heart. Also remarkable was Shears’ vocal ability, which truly shone in songs such as “Omigod You Guys” and “Legally Blonde.” Acting alongside Elle was James Good as the caring and gentle Emmett, Elle’s first friend on campus, tutor, and romantic interest. Good was dedicated to his character, showing compassion in “Chip on My Shoulder” and his love for Elle in “Legally Blonde.” However, Good’s largest asset was his phenomenal voice, which dropped jaws in “Take It Like A Man,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Find My Way/Finale.” The way these actors conducted their characters independently and in conjunction charmed the audience and kept them engaged throughout the show.

The show was supplemented by a highly talented supporting cast, such as Taylor Stevens as Warner and Ainsley Steger as Paulette. Stevens had a strong debut with “Serious” and continued to impress with one-liners showing his remaining interest in Elle and his firm desire to succeed at Harvard. Steger captured hearts with her interpretation of Paulette, a salon owner who befriends Elle. Her solo number “Ireland” was hilarious and her remarkable comedic energy was evident throughout the show.

The crews were just as impressive as the cast. Notable crew departments in this show included costumes (Ainsley Steger and Bethany Shears), and music direction (James Good and Bethany Shears). The show featured a plethora of costumes and quick changes, with Elle alone having 13 different costumes. Each costume corresponded well with the theme of the scene and the personality of the character wearing it. Most extraordinary, however, was the music direction of James Good and Bethany Shears. Good and Shears collaboratively taught the cast all of the music in the show, investing dozens of hours into scheduling rehearsals, teaching parts, and creating rehearsal tracks. The quality of the music in the performance, considering the difficulty of the arrangements, was a reflection of the outstanding work of Good and Shears. The crews of Legally Blonde fantastically complemented the cast’s talent.

Legally Blonde at Stone Bridge High School was an exciting and dynamic show. It was highly evident that the cast and crew were fully committed to putting on a wonderful performance, and their efforts paid off beautifully.

[This review of the April 26 performance at Stone Bridge High School  is part of a series published in a partnership between Loudoun Now and The Cappies, a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.]

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