“Omigod you guys,” the Luther Burbank Middle School (LBMS) production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical, Jr.” was the talk of the town this past weekend that proved to be a powerhouse show that every student involved should be proud of.
The shows took place on the evenings of January 25th, 26th, and 27th and was based on the 2001 film that was adapted from the Legally Blonde novel by Amanda Brown. “Legally Blonde: The Musical” premiered at the San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Theatre in 2007 which eventually made its way to Broadway.
The story is about Elle Woods, a UCLA Sorority President who follows her ex-boyfriend, Warner, to Harvard where she pursues law in an effort to win him back by showing him she is smart and serious. Even in all pink, and toting her dog Bruiser around, Elle learns how to use law to help others and uses her new knowledge to defend an exercise queen in a murder trial. She surprises everyone with her wit and stays true to herself along the way.
“Legally Blonde: The Musical, JR.” is LBMS’ 10th production and was co-directed by Luther teachers, Stefanie Enokian and Tony Redman. “It’s always a miracle to see everything come together and a truly successful production involves more than what you want to be presented on stage,” said Enokian and Redman in the show’s program. It was clear to everyone in the audience, how much work and dedication was put into the production just by the set and costumes alone.
What really made “Legally Blonde: The Musical, JR.” shine, was the students. Burbank is home to some extreme talented kids, and that talent shined so brightly on the stage. Norah Redman, in the part of Elle Woods, lit up the stage with her blonde locks and was the pure embodiment of energy, charisma, and drive that Reese Witherspoon (Elle Woods in the 2001 film) would be proud of. This was a big role, but Redman filled the shoes…or should I say, pink heels, perfectly. Redman is an 8th-grader at LBMS who plays piano, sings, and dances, and has performed in several musical revues and plays. Her performance was exceptional and just proves that another rising star will be coming out of Burbank.
Another incredible performance was seen by 8th grader Sofia Martinez, who played the role of Paulette, the hopeless romantic nail salon tech who becomes friends with Elle and teaches her the infamous “bend and snap” move. Martinez’s solo performance of the song “Ireland” is beyond exceptional and received a roaring applause. Her voice is one that will make waves in the music industry and judging by the gasps of awe happening around the audience, they believe it too.
The cast consisted of over 50 students, all with incredible performances that included cheer routines, dancing, singing, jump rope choreography, and much more. While every single student shined on that stage, there were some amazing performances worth mentioning including Jackson Burroughs (Emmett Forrest), Sasha Donnell (Brooke Wyndham), Daniel Haghverdi (Warner Huntington III), Stella Payne (Vivienne Kensington), and Henry Rhodes (Professor Callahan).
Not all the stars of the show were the students though. If you know the original movie you know how much Elle Woods’ dog is a key character in the film, as well as Paulette’s dog. One of the best surprises of the LBMS production was the unexpected stage visits from some furry, four-legged friends. Louie made his first appearance on the LBMS stage as he trotted along on his pink leash being secretly led my treats from a purse. Ruby Poole, another Burbank dog made her stage debut as Paulette’s dog, Rufus. The canine companions were a hit in the show and having live animals made the show more dynamic and fun.
It seems that with each production LBMS outdoes itself, and the school staff and administration should be proud to have conveyed such a high caliber performance. The Legally Blonde story is more than 20 years old but continues to inspire generations of film and theatre goers, and shares the inspiring message that if you stay true to yourself you can defeat the odds.