Davidson Community Players Returns to the Davidson College Big Stage With a Splashing Musical, “Legally Blonde”
Dancing, singing, merriment, jumping jacks, shimmering lights, spoofs, and pink! It’s fun to be laughing again—best of all, having Davidson Community Players (DCP) back on the Duke Family Performance Hall stage at Davidson College. It’s fun to watch a youthful corps of energetic thespians sharing hilarious antics with a lovable pair of “man’s best friends.”
What better vehicle to satisfy a full house of ravenous patrons happy to be back at the Duke, than with Heather Hach’s Legally Blonde, The Musical, with music and lyrics composed by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. The opening night audience welcomed the players with a resounding, standing ovation. I agree, Legally Blonde, directed by Tom Hollis was the perfect vehicle for Davidson’s troupe to stage their return.
For more than 50 years, Davidson Community Players had been producing summer musicals and comedies on the massive stage at Davidson College, shows too large to produce at their Armour Street home. Covid brought that long-standing tradition to a two-year halt.
But Covid’s distraction also reaped gains. Aspiring young thespians who had been performing in youth productions around the area matured enough to make their debut on DCPs Main Stage. They’re worth an evening of entertainment and nonsense. So are a pair of puppies making their drama debuts. Never dreamed I’d be reviewing dogs!
Kirby, a two-year old black Pug, plays Rufus, a sophisticated canine who has learned to do tricks with dignity. Kirby hopes his stage debut will help him achieve his ambition of becoming a therapy dog for which he has been training at advanced obedience school.
Joni, an adorable four-year-old spotted white Chihuahua rescue plays Bruiser, most of the time in the loving arms of leading lady, Elle, costumed to match her shimmering pink outfits with an elegant bow tie nearly twice the size of her thin little neck. If stunned by a welcoming roar from the audience, neither dog barked in response nor nervously puddled upon the stage.
Dee Blackburn designed a simple, shimmering set, colored up by Greg Thorn’s brilliant lighting design. Legally Blonde’s troupe of energetic hoofers kicked and jumped rope to numbers designed by Choreographer Caroline Meisner in beautiful costumes
created by Chelsea Retalic.
At the spacious Duke, DCP was able to bring back a full instrumental orchestra led by Vicki Clayton Harvell, with Matthew Primm at the keyboard, Josh King on guitar, Corky Waugh on bass, Joey Schnople on the drums, Colin Ray’s percussion, and Corey Gaston’s trumpet.
Elle Woods, the quintessential empty-headed blonde who loves everything pink, portrayed by Jenni Canterbury, is the star of the show and she’s stunning! Energetic, the vivacious Jenni not only sings and dances with gusto, she is an accomplished actress as well. Brava!
A spirited trio of Elle’s adoring sorority sisters concur. Mainstage newcomer, Lacey Caroline as Margo, consistently versatile Emily Klingman as Serena, and gifted artiste Breanna Suarez as Pilar are indefatigable, talented, and terrific!
To the surprise of her parents, performed by Lyndsay Moyles and Austin S. Dantzler, Elle is accepted at Harvard’s school of law where her physical appearance continues to require uppermost care. Hairdresser Paulette, played by Sharon Foster, is Elle’s friendly advisor, while Brooke, portrayed by Destiney Wolfe, rehearses “whip and snap” sexy routines to keep her in shape.
Every ditsy actor faces an adversary. In Legally Blonde who better than a conniving jealous brunette named Vivienne, portrayed by Christie Lee Wolf—until she witnesses Professor Callahan, played by the regal Roger Watson, committing a “no-no” and becomes Elle’s bosom pal.
Elle’s pretenders, Emmett and Warner, are played by a couple of popular young fellas, Lucas DeVore and Hayden Waugh, who have come up through the area’s youth theatre ranks. They do well.
Others include Jared Wachsmuth, who plays both Aaron and Carlos, Myles Arnold as Padamadan, Nikos Megan Prangley as Enid, Matt Stevens as Kyle, Abigail Welch as both Kate and Chutney, and Manisha Parekh as Whitney.
The vivacious Ensemble includes Corbin Chanter, Tess Chason, Olivia Durham, Branden Nuhfer, Jessica Rubino, and Taylor Smith, all newcomers to the DCP stage.
Legally Blonde, though fluffy, is an entertaining musical, especially as delivered by such a vigorous cast. Everyone deserves a night to sit back, enjoy, and laugh!
Connie Fisher, neé Consuelo Carmona, is a Davidson resident who grew up in Mexico City where she became a journalist and acquired a taste for the theatre. Her preference for work behind the scenes, led to an interest in writing reviews—Yale Rep among her favorite troupes. Connie is the author of Doing it the Right Way, the biography of an Italian hatmaker. Her prose appears with 87 other international writers in The Widows’ Handbook. An active member of Charlotte Writers’ Club North, currently she is writing chapters of memoir and continues to review theatre in the Lake Norman area.