The year to ‘go big or go home’
This weekend, musical theatre showed us that blondes are anything but dumb.
From Thursday Jan. 23 to Saturday Jan. 25, Laurier Musical Theatre (LMT) wowed audiences in the Theatre Auditorium at Wilfrid Laurier University with their production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.
Based off the movie of the same name, the show follows sorority sister Elle Woods, played by first-year Laurier student Maggie Roth, trying to win her ex-boyfriend back by enrolling at Harvard Law School. When Elle arrives at Harvard, she learns Warner has a new girlfriend. She then channels her energy into becoming a great lawyer to win him back. In the process she successfully defends exercise guru Brooke Wyndham (Sarah Russo) in her murder trial.
“It was a big role. This is probably the biggest role I’ve ever played,” said Roth, who is originally from New Hamburg, just 20 minutes outside of Waterloo.
Roth is no stranger to musical theatre. She’s been involved with theatre since a young age, and has done many shows with Kitchener-Waterloo Musical Productions, including Footloose and Annie.
Roth stumbled upon LMT’s booth at the Get-Involved-Fair during O-Week in September and immediately found her place at Laurier.
“I thought I would give it a shot,” she explained.
This whim turned into her receiving the lead role—an iconic character who is loved by many. Roth executed the persona of Elle Woods perfectly, demonstrating strong vocals and high energy throughout the entire performance. She was just one of a cast of 30, including Andrew Dolson as ex-boyfriend Warner and David Bernacki as Emmett.
There were some technical flaws to the show on Saturday — feedback and low-volume microphones — however the performances were strong and more than made up for the technical difficulties.
Highlights of the show included the numbers “Whipped Into Shape,” where Russo and the chorus sang and jumped rope simultaneously, “Bend and Snap” and “Legally Blonde Remix,” where Paulette (Carolyn Crystal) and her new love Kyle (Drew Chester) Irish Dance hysterically to Celtic tunes. With infectious energy and talent, all songs were performed to perfection, and demonstrated the wide ranges of talent from the actors. Songs were upbeat and fun and offered delightful differences from the movie.
Crystal received non-stop laughs from the audience with her hilarious portrayal of Paulette Bonafonte, Elle’s manicurist and friend. Her performance was one of the best of the night, perfectly balancing comedy and incredible musical performances.
The show was the biggest and most recognized LMT has done in recent years, according to their president Nicole Boncheff, who played sorority sister Serena.
“…We wanted to go for it, and go for a big show that people will know,” she said. “It felt like the year to do it, kind of go big or go home. And it exceeded my expectations.”
They knew it was a risk choosing a show that was more expensive than their previous shows, but it was well-received by the audience. The show sold out Friday night and was packed on Saturday’s matinee.
Earlier in the year, they won the Campus Upgrade Project — a competition put on by Wilfrid Laurier University Student’s Union. With the money from the award they were able to help fund the show and bring musical theatre to the Laurier community. With the cancellation of the Fr!nge Festival and lack of a theatre program at Laurier, LMT is a constant supporter of the arts.
“It provides an outlet for students who not only love acting but singing and dancing—the whole aspect of production,” said Boncheff. “It’s just a great experience that I think is kind of rare to find in other campus clubs at Laurier.”