The original Broadway production opened at the Palace Theatre for previews on April 3rd 2007, with a press night on April 29th. It ran for 595 performances, closing on October 19th 2008.
Cast and Creatives
Laura Bell Bundy – Elle Woods
Bell Bundy created the role of Amber Von Tussle in ‘Hairspray’ on Broadway before originating the role of Elle Woods in ‘Legally Blonde’. She was a standby for Kristin Chenoweth in ‘Wicked’ and performed in other musicals such as ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Rock of Ages’. She released her first country music single in 2010 and has since had three country albums.
Emmett Forrest – Christian Borle
Borle studied at Carnegie Mellon University. His Broadway debut was in the 1998 production of ‘Footloose’ which was followed by the 2000 revival of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. He replaced Gavin Creel as Jimmy in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ and went on to marry his co-star Sutton Foster, although the pair are now separated. More recent Broadway credits include ‘Monty Pyton’s Spamalot’ and ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’, which earned him his second Tony Award nomination. He currently plays Tom Levit in the NBC Musical drama ‘Smash’.
Paulette Bonafonté – Orfeh
Orfeh attended LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts and released her first single in 1987. Her Broadway debut was in the 1998 production of ‘Footloose’, and she later starred in ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Fascinating Rhythm’. She is married to her ‘Legally Blonde’ co-star Andy Karl who starred as the UPS man Kyle. She has made various appearances on TV in shows such as ‘Law and Order’ and ‘Sex in the City’.
Warner Huntington III – Richard H Blake
Richard Blake made his Broadway debut in 1989 in the musical ‘Prince of Central Park’. Despite being the youngest Broadway performer to have his name above the show, it closed after only 4 performances. He has since starred in ‘Rent’, ‘Hairspray’ and ‘Footloose’. In 2006 he stared in the original Broadway production of ‘The Wedding Singer’ as Glen Guglia.
Brooke Wyndham – Nikki Snelson
Snelson trained at the Boston Conservatory and made her Broadway debut in 1999 alongside Bernadette Peters in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’. After originating the role of Brooke Wyndham, she went on to join the National Tour of ‘A Chorus Line’ as Cassie and starred in the Broadway production of the short-lived Frank Wildhorn musical ‘Wonderland’.
Original Production Team:
Music: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book: Heather Hach.
Stimulus: Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM film.
Musical Director: James Sampliner
Orchestrations: Christopher Jahnke
Directed by: Jerry Mitchell
Choreographed by: Jerry Mitchell
Scenic Design by: David Rockwell
Costume Design by: Gregg Barnes
Lighting Design by: Kenneth Posner
Original Broadway Production
• 2007 Tony Award Nominations: Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Bell Bundy), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Christian Borle), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Orfeh), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Costume Design of a Musical (Gregg Barnes)
• 2007 Drama Desk Award nominations: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Lyrics, Outstanding Music, Outstanding Set Design.
The New York Times (Ben Brantley)
Flossing between songs is recommended for anyone who attends “Legally Blonde,” the nonstop sugar rush of a show that opened last night at the Palace Theater, joining the ranks of such nearby temples to candy worship as the M&M and Hershey’s theme stores. This high-energy, empty-calories and expensive-looking hymn to the glories of girlishness, based on the 2001 film of the same title, approximates the experience of eating a jumbo box of Gummi Bears in one sitting. This may be common fare for the show’s apparent target audience — female ’tweens and teenagers who still believe in Barbie. But unless you’re used to such a diet, you wind up feeling jittery, glazed and determined to swear off sweets for at least a month.
USA Today – 2.5/4
Bundy is a capable and likable performer, and certainly looks the part of Blonde’s heroine, with a wholesome face and a killer bod that’s pretty in pink. But her Elle lacks the comic punch required to make the character more than an amusing poster girl for feel-good feminism. Richard H. Blake and Christian Borle are serviceable as Elle’s upwardly mobile college beau and the humbler mensch she meets at Harvard, though Michael Rupert and Nikki Snelson are more entertaining as a forbidding professor and celebrity murder suspect. Whatever pleasures Blonde provides, though, are as fleeting and superficial as highlights. I’d like to think that the victorious, liberated Elle Woods would envision a more ambitious future for musical comedy.