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arts & leisure

Theatre Beat: Blondes really do have more fun!

By Jonathan Fox
June 28, 2012

Following it’s successful run of “Guys and Dolls,” which was heavily dependent on the guys, the newest production at the Forestburgh Playhouse (FBP) is, as predicted, all about the ladies. The musical version of “Legally Blonde,” based on the novel and runaway hit film starring Reese Witherspoon, enjoyed a modest run on Broadway in 2007. Nominated for seven Tony Awards, the show follows the adventures of fashionista Elle Woods, played by mega-talent Zoe Kassay, who follows what she believes is her dream, only to discover herself along the way.

Kassay embraces her character with undeniable charm, verve and vitality, wrapped in bubble gum pink, while belting out a dozen musical numbers with her powerful, unique and extremely appealing vocal prowess. Kassay is rarely off-stage in “Blonde,” yet I never tired of her fresh and consistently funny performance. Truly a “triple threat,” this young woman entertains throughout the evening with her acting, dancing and singing, singing singing!

Elle’s sorority girl-cum-law student is supported by her posse—a Greek chorus of cheerleaders more than ably led by Lauren Chapman, Alexis Semevolos and Gabriella Perez. Impossibly energetic, the entire female cast is completely in the zone, with frothy, amusing direction and choreography by FBP alumnus Dann Dunn, whose vision was completed by adorable scenic design, nicely executed by Darcy Engel.

Not to be outdone, the men stepped up to the plate last night with Michael Starr as snobbish jerk Warner Huntington III and Kevin Confoy as Elle's tough and creepy Professor Callahan. Both men have wonderful voices, and their acting chops vividly brought the characters to life. As Elle’s journey unfolds, she comes to realize her personal growth as a strong and capable woman and the audience roots for her along the way... as her intellect shines, proving that true beauty is more than skin deep-while losing her dependence on the men in her life. Finding a “good guy” before reaching her destination, Dan Fenaughty’s surrogate love interest, Emmett, is enhanced by the actors’ beautiful voice and charming demeanor.

In a surprisingly popular cameo, Michael Graceffa’s UPS delivery man caused the sold-out crowd to roar each time he strutted his stuff across the stage, eventually winning the adoration of Katie Sarno’s hysterical turn as hairdresser/confidante Paulette Bonafonte.