Monday, October 15, 2007


How NOT to film a musical for TV

By Edward Copeland
I was curious to watch Legally Blonde: The Musical, since MTV was airing an unprecedented showing of a musical while it was still running on Broadway. The credits whizzed by so fast and I can't find the answer anywhere online, so I can't take to task the director who filmed Jerry Mitchell's musical for television by name. Besides, I'm still probably too nauseous from the attention deficit disorder-designed camera moves to make much sense any way. It's a shame because the show, while not great, looked as if it was fun with some catchy tunes. Too bad the hyperactive camera didn't slow down long enough to let me enjoy it.

When my contributor Josh R reviewed Legally Blonde back in April after seeing it on Broadway, he was surprised (as was I reading it), that the latest adaptation of a movie into a Broadway show had turned out as well as it did. I'm glad to say he wasn't overselling it.

This showing was my first chance to hear the score (fun if not memorable) and several of the performances (particularly Christian Borle in the Luke Wilson role from the movie and Michael Rupert taking over from Victor Garber) were quite good.

I particularly liked Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe's songs "Blood in the Water," "Chip on My Shoulder" and the guilty pleasure that is "Gay or European?" (though I don't think that is the song's actual title, but I can't quite figure out what it is.)

Laura Bell Bundy is quite good re-creating Reese Witherspoon's Elle Woods for the stage and Orfeh is a real scene-stealer in the Jennifer Coolidge role of her hairdresser confidant.

A few shortcuts have been made that don't make sense, but are understandable. Unfortunately, this telecast does a real disservice to the material, with the camera never stopping for long, zooming up and around and all over the stage, and even at one point showing the audience, for no apparent reason.

I don't know about you but when I attend the theater, unless there is a ruckus, the only time I look at the audience is before and after the show or during intermission.

If you watch Legally Blonde on MTV, it can give you a taste of the show, but be sure to take some Dramamine first.

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I didn't get to see this, since I don't have access to cable television at present - it sounds as if it played better live. As for the show itself, it seems like we're pretty much on the same page - overall, fun if not great.
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