Legally Blonde - the Musical. I attended the Sunday matinee and though I had my reservations about the show (after loving the film starring Reese Witherspoon, I waasn't sure the movie would carry over seamlessly to the stage). It did take me a while to warm up to the actors portraying the characters in the successful film, and by the end I was grinning ear to ear (and thinking pink).
Yes, both dogs made their stage presences known - Bruiser (Elle's dog) and Paulette's dog Rufus that they rescued from her ex-lover.
I did note the low number of Deaf people in attendance - in fact, there were only two including myself. Hmm - looks like the theater needs to vamp up their marketing efforts towards the Deaf. Considering it was Legally Blonde, and especially an adaptation of the film, I would think that there would be more Deaf people in attendance (comparing to The Lion King or Wicked, which had packed audiences in the ASL section. Where were the (deaf) screaming teenage girls? After all, it IS Legally Blonde.
Name signs? Here they are - normal name signs, nothing special about them.
Elle Woods - E on the chin.
Enid (the female activist) - E on the chin - I did get confused between the two, having the same name sign and the letter E... I'd suggest a different placement - E on the shoulder, or in neutral space (though that might be confused with the sign for 'emergency').
Warner Huntington III (the boyfriend) - W in neutral space.
Emmett Forrest (the TA) - F on temple/forehead. (I do appreciate that they used his last name instead - due to the plethora of 'E' names - Elle, Enid, Emmett).
Vivienne Kensington (Warner's new love interest) - V-V from side to side on the chest.
Professor Callahan (the professor/attorney) - C on shoulder.
Paulette Buonofuonte (the hairstylist) - P on the forehead, sliding (for the hair, obviously!)
Brooke Wyndham (fitness queen) - B-queen (very fitting!)
The ASL program - very nicely designed. One side had the ASL information while the other side had the AD information. Half of it had the interpreters' biographies (with headshots - I love it when they put the headshots on the program!) The other half occupied the character's name signs and the logo for the show (Laura Bell Bundy, the original Elle, dressed in pink, holding a sign with "Legally Blonde" on it, and Bruiser on a leash).
The name signs all came with a dictionary-style picture of how to roughly sign the name sign, which I found very helpful (now I want that for myself... hmm... have to figure out what computer program they used!). Each name sign was occupied by a brief description of the character.
"Omigod, you guys!" Just seeing the interpreters reenact that motion sends me into giggles. Kudos to the other Deaf patron for mimicking them at intermission - it's considered flattery if the audience mimicks your sign choices!
"Delta Nu" ("Daughter of Delta Nu")- Rather than make up a new name sign, they borrowed the signs from the cast (though one motion, if signed wrong, does depict another meaning... be careful!). Making a triangle with the index and thumb fingers then having the right hand flip over for the 'N', one gets triangle-N to represent Delta Nu.
"Bend and Snap" (the trademark line from the film version taking place at the hairdressers' where Elle teaches the others how to bend and straighten up accordingly to attract attention). Think of a woman, bending over (with the B, thumb out) then taking both hands up to chest (I guess one could say how a dog would beg). Bend.... and snap!
"Legally Blonde". For most of the show, the interpreters used the regular "law" + "blonde". When Elle falls in despair, she uses "law" + "blonde-dumb" (the sign for 'blonde' leading into the 'knock-forehead' motion for 'dumb'. At the end, during the finale, the sign phrase changes to "law" + "brilliant/hair shine" (double meaning! I love it when a sign phrase creates multiple meanings/metaphors!) One would sign "smart" with the open 8 hand shape with a wiggle - but also meaning something shiny (in this case, her blonde hair). It works!
The songs that translated the best, in my opinion were "Omigod You Guys" (the opening number), "Blood in the Water" (Callahan sings about the rigorous studies required of Harvard students), "Chip on My Shoulder" (between Elle and Emmett).
So... the result? I enjoyed the show very much (much better than I though it would be... it's a heartwarming chick show for sure! (The equivalent of a chick flick with some catch songs that makes one blush in amusement).
The interpreters? One of them was professional, clearly comfortable with doing musicals and it showed - the passion behind the hands delivering the signs. The other one, I felt, could improve with time and experience. Her area of concern lies with developing more characterization (through hands and faces - I found it a bit challenging to determine who was signing the lines - this character or that character?) I do feel that with appropriate guidance, that interpreter can improve the 'theatrics' of performing arts interpreting. I did find myself eagerly watching one interpreter more often than the other (the one that had a firm grasp on the difference between academic and performing arts interpreting).
Overall, it was an excellent show!
Next: The Phantom of the Opera