The Hippodrome Theatre is perhaps one of our favorite spots in Baltimore. We love the fact that we have a theater right here in Baltimore that brings all the best shows that Broadway has to offer. (Let’s face it, we don’t have the time or finances to make a trip to New York to see shows on Broadway really feasible.) But, now with the Hippodrome, we get a chance to experience what New Yorkers have known all along!
The theater itself is a great venue. With an updated look, this renovated space still has that old Hollywood feel, with gilded scroll work on the balcony level and ceiling murals featuring the angelic pictures you see in museums. Plus, if you arrive at a show early you can enjoy fresh-baked café delights from the Hipp Café that features everything from hot paninis to coffee and croissants. The Hippodrome also features several bars where you can enjoy sodas, mixed drinks, and signature cocktails that change with each show. Though we had lower level seats for this performance, we have sat in the upper level seating before, and while yes sitting in the back row blocks out the top of the stage, the seats still provide a great view of all the action and upper level patrons have access to everything lower level patrons do (including their own bars).
The show playing at the Hippodrome was “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” Based off the super-popular movie starring Reese Witherspoon as a peppy Californian who travels to Harvard Law School to win back her boyfriend, the musical transforms the story into a campier version of the fun you had with Witherspoon. We have to say, that though the plot followed the movie’s, the musical was unique enough to leave us loving it in its own right. The songs are truly delightful, as each number entertains with witty one-liners and elaborate dance numbers, and even the ones that make no sense make you cheer. The humor in the show, though a little PG-13 at times (just a cautionary word in case you are like us and take your mom to the event and are rendered uncomfortable when they start discussing sperm), is great, and completely different from what you saw in the movie, and we laughed out loud a lot during the performance.
The cast for this show was stellar as well. We’d seen the original Broadway version (thank you MTV) on television, and so this cast was up against some stiff competition, but we have to say, for the most part, they completely impressed us. Becky Gulsvig as Elle was simply adorable, and while she may have lacked the stage presence the original Elle brought, she was simply fantastic at delivering her humorous lines, and her voice sounded amazing through the whole show. Jeff McLean who plays Warner in the show, melted all the ladies in the audience with his stellar voice and definitely was cast well as a quintessential “meathead”. Emmett, (played in the movie by the more mainstream good-looking Wilson brother Luke,) was even better in this touring company than the original Broadway Emmett. D.B. Bonds, the actor who took on the role of the guy who shows Elle what true love really is, did a great job making the audience love him as the quirky, lovable, nerdy guy who has a heart of gold. Other than a stoic performance from the actress who played Vivienne, the cast was fantastic. Bonus: Two of the runner-ups from MTV’s “Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods” also join this cast. Look for Rhiannon Hansen as the ditzy Margot and Lauren Zarking (our personal favorite from the show) as an ensemble member.
“Legally Blonde: The Musical” at The Hippodrome was truly a wonderful experience. Getting to see an amazing show at a fantastic venue is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We highly recommend seeing a show at The Hippodrome if you can just to see this great venue. As for Legally Blonde: The Musical, we give it a pink star! (Elle would definitely prefer pink to the gold star we’d normally give.)