Legally Blonde Jr. Will Make You Stand Up and Cheer

Theatre Review

PHOTO: Shari Correll | SouthPasadenan.com | Eadan Franklynn as Elle Woods with the "daughters of Delta Nu" in Legally Blonde Jr. on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre

Who knew a frothy musical about a Malibu blonde looking for love at Harvard Law School could make you feel so much and make you want to stand up and cheer? Young Stars Theatre’s membership production of Legally Blonde Jr. does just that and more.

PHOTO: Shari Correll | SouthPasadenan.com | Aine Lee as Elle Woods attending her first day of Harvard Law School

The young cast and crew deliver a poignant tale of self discovery wrapped in a fizzy bath bomb explosion of pink girl power energy and enthusiasm! It’s the story of Malibu bred, UCLA sorority girl Elle Woods who follows a boy to Harvard Law School to prove to him that she is “serious” and worthy to be a future Senator’s wife. Quite the fish out of water at Harvard, Elle meets new friends, a tough as nails law professor, discovers law and well, ends up meeting her true self along the way.

PHOTO: Shari Correll | SouthPasadenan.com | Eadan Franklynn as Elle Woods and Mateo Diez as Warner Huntington III

While the Jr. version cuts a couple of songs from the original that takes a bit of the bite out of a couple of scenes, director Cody Sullivan is deft at staging and making the most of the emotional moments, never more so than in Elle’s stirring Legally Blonde. Sullivan creates a delicate balance of heartfelt emotion and pure fun.

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And there is lots of fun here to be sure. The ebullient cast is bursting with so much verve and sass it makes you want to get up and dance and the show is chock full of laughs. High on the list of laughter inducing moments comes courtesy of YST favorite character actor Corwin Daley, slaying the parts of Paulette’s cranky ex, Dewey, the judge, and Kyle the UPS guy among others.  Paulette is played by Arielle Zaytsev, who has great comedic chops and also by Ridley Downs, who brings a heart of gold sincerity to the role.

PHOTO: Shari Correll | SouthPasadenan.com | George Dalton and Eadan Franklynn

Jack Wisinski gives Harvard Law professor, Callahan, the right amount of smarmy callousness and the complex role of Harvard preppy, Vivienne, is portrayed with pitch perfect haughtiness by Sarahbeth Zohrevand and by the fantastic Broadway belt of a voice of Ava Broneer. The part of pal and mentor, Emmett, is taken on by George Dalton who brings a fantastic ease and comedic timing to the role and Levi Srebalus who gives an earnest and sweet performance. Both have terrific chemistry with their leading ladies.

Mateo Diez is charming and hysterical playing Harvard bound love interest, Warner Huntington III, managing to make us feel for him even through his seemingly shallow entitlement. Both casts are led by fantastic leading ladies; playing Elle in the Snap Cast is the firecracker Aine Lee who brings an effervescent energy and serious pipes to the role used to glorious effect in the number So Much Better that closes the first act. Eadan Franklynn is irresistible as Elle in the Bend Cast and brings emotional colors to the role in unexpected ways that will break your heart.

PHOTO: Shari Correll | SouthPasadenan.com | Eadan Franklynn and the cast of Legally Blonde Jr.

Every ensemble member takes on multiple roles and YST’s tradition of putting some of the littlest littles in “old people” roles to hilarious effect does not disappoint here. This story of one fashionably blonde’s journey of empowerment is a delight to be enjoyed by the whole family; a delicious pink cupcake of a show with a rich filling that leaves you fulfilled and teary-eyed as you walk out singing those high-octane, catchy tunes!

The entire cast and YST member crew are to be commended with strong musical direction by Arielle Zytsev and great choreography by Eadan Franklynn, all under the auspices of directors Jack and Gloria Bennett and YST Choreographer Mirai Booth-Ong. Cast and Crew also include Christina Amber, Sorsha Khitikian, Anastasia Papadopolous, Ellia White, Aisling DeVilla, Jacqueline Eubank, Grace Dennis, Ray Bryan, Augie Matsuura, Keira Coneen, Idalis McZeal, Harrison Tang, Sophia Corral, Addison Bryan, Phoebe Dickinson, Noemi Fierros, Karen McGovern, Gwyneth Daley, JoJo Duran, Siena Garrison, Lucy Ning, Olympia Papadopolous, Victoria Field, Karl Quintero-Guan, Paxton Kim-Tang, Jaaziah McZeal, Sean Quintero-Guan, Alexandra Nevell, Carolyn Mottern, Gabe Michlin, Cate Rabaya, Jacqueline Mottern, Jackie Eubanks, Amanda Ruiz, Sydney Kim-Tang, Kyla DeVilla, and JoJo Foley.Lighting Design by Sam M. Phillips and Costume Design by Jaclyn Khitikian.

Legally Blonde Jr. continues Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through November 19 at the Fremont Centre Theatre 1000 Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena. For showtimes, tickets and information about YST visit www.YoungStarsTheatre.org

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25 year South Pasadenan resident, Alisa Hayashida, hails from Hawaii by way of Los Angeles and San Diego. She studied theatre arts at University of California, Irvine and spent many years acting, directing and teaching in Paris, France working at Le Petit Atelier, Studio VO/VF, Galerie 55, as well as private coaching. Her career in performance and production took her all over Europe, New York, India and Los Angeles. Alisa has been an arts advocate for most of her life and is passionate about her community. She has been covering arts and culture in the San Gabriel Valley for the past six years and lives with her husband and son in South Pasadena.

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