Rousing Performance

PNS — BASED on the 2001 chick flick about pink girl power that made Reese Witherspoon a box office star, “Legally Blonde” is a rousing musical featuring a bravura lead star performance from Nikki Gil as Elle Woods, the ditzy California sorority queen dumped by her boyfriend for not being serious enough who then proves she can excel on her own by going to Harvard law school in the name of love. Nikki acts, sings and dances so well like she’s really born to perform in musical theater. Reese may have popularized the role in Hollywood but the smart Nikki makes it her own in a production that shows local theater at its best. She doesn’t even look ridiculous as a blonde Asian. Nikki shines in so many numbers, including “Omigod” (the opening number), the show stopping “What You Want” when she gets to Harvard, and “So Much Better.” We’d really love to see her doing Kim in “Miss Saigon.”

Giving her superb support are the scene-stealing Jinky Llamanzares as Paulette her beautician friend, Guji Lorenzana as Warner her condescending boyfriend, Jett Pangan as the law professor who has his own designs for Elle (his “Blood in the Water” number is a high point of the show), Cris Villonco as Vivienne her rival who becomes an ally, and Geneva Cruz who does marvelous singing while dancing and doing workouts on stage as the murder suspect in her exuberant production number that opens the play’s second act. We just wish she had more chemistry with Nyoy Volante who plays her leading man. Kudos to Director Chari Arespacochaga (“Footloose,” “Spring Awakening”) for the excellent staging of all the well-choreographed musical numbers.