I can't review for Midvale Main Street Theatre. I work there too much to give any sort of unbiased opinion. And I notice things that are right and wrong about productions that other people won't really notice. So this is not a review.
When it comes to their latest production--Legally Blonde: The Musical -- this is the first show at the theatre I haven't worked on in some way or another in a very long time.
I have missed the theatre a lot during my hiatus.
It was wonderful to just come in as a patron to watch the show.
I really like Midvale Main Street Theatre. I like watching shows there. You get good food in the lobby. Everyone is really nice and friendly. And then you can sit down and enjoy a great show!
The stage is small. Really small. And there is no fly space. So, the most AMAZING thing about the production from the get go--is Sean McLaughlin's set. He manages to make one set into a college sorority, the halls of Harvard, a courtroom, and a hair salon. It looks expensive and expansive. It is incredible. This feat was completed with Jen Hairr's lighting design. Brilliant!
The staging was perfection. They had a moving marble staircase that raised the actors up on a variety of levels and created these heavenly pictures of actors up on the balcony, classrooms rising up, sorority girls running to parties--it just created a picture of beautiful ordered chaos.
The voices were incredible. Because my usual job is music, I tend to hear a lot. There were a couple of moments that I wish I heard more harmony or that I felt one part needed vamping. But--since that's what I'm hired to listen for--I tend to notice it more than most. I also heard a little chatter on the mics backstage. But, running sound in that place is no easy feat--so you find yourself with a mic or two left hot. Because it is such a small stage, hiring a live band is difficult because there's no where to put them. They solve this by hiring the luminous Ben Mayfield to record tracks for the theatre. He did NOT disappoint. The orchestrations were incredible! Every instrument was layered perfectly! He is worth his weight in gold! Back to the sound--running 16 mics and all the tracks involved in a musical--it is some heavy duty stress. My advice to the actors back stage is to shut yer little yappers. (said with all the love in the world--because those yappers create a holy sound of clear as a bell belting when they're on stage!!) [insert much deserved kudos to music director Jason Campbell!]
Must gush more about the voices... This musical is not easy. It's like the writers wanted to create a musical that required the most difficult vocal acrobatic work. You can't just sing this music. I found myself saying, "DAYUMMM!" outloud. At the show. It was right after Tia Galanis hit this amazing note! And I know I'm biased because I love her so much--but Leah Jacobs voice is golden butter to my ears. She turns sound into velvet. Michael Howell never disappoints. He is absolutely a powerhouse singer and actor.
I must gush about Amelia Rose Moore as Elle. She was wonderful. She was spunky, energetic, and beautiful. She had confidence and vulnerability. You truly empathized with her journey. I'm not a skinny little blonde cheerleader type--but she was my sister! I was cheering for her! Russell Watters as Warner was smarmy. I really didn't like him--as a character.
I have to give props to Bryce Kamryn for rapping unabashedly. Rapping? What?? This musical is so funny. He did a fantastic job.
I really could gush about so many elements. But rather than list every detail that I loved--go and see the show. There were moments I was gasping with laughter. Tommy Fitzgerald--I'm looking right at you. Kristina Rene Stone was hilarious as Enid the militant lesbian. I have to just throw that in. And holy cow! I was so blown away by the jumproping and dancing that it didn't even dawn on me until the end of the number--Megan Lyon is BELTING and JUMPING ROPE at the same time!!
Speaking of... Aaron Ford's choreography was incredible. Really, a phenomenal directorial debut for Aleksndr Arteaga. And a production fitting with the quality productions I've come to expect from Tammy Ross's theatre.
As a last thought... the ensemble was incredible. Most of them played several parts. I recognize many faces from shows I've worked on--and I am continually blown away by their talent--Ashlee Brereton, Cassidy Ross, Charity Jones--I'm looking at you. But there were also a lot of new faces. I loved the talent and energy they brought to the stage. These actors went from college students to harvard law students, to courtroom peeps, to hair salon customers within moments. I can't imagine how exhausting it would be! Without a good ensemble--you don't have a show. And this is a GREAT ensemble.
Go see it. It runs this weekend and next. It is worth every penny.
Midvale Main Street Theatre
7711 South Main Street (700 West)
You can order tickets online here: http://www.midvaletheatre.com/
Show time is 7pm!
Editor's Edity Edit: I must say a word about costumes. Jan Harris!! Good crikey woman. You outdid yourself.