PICK! ASR Theater ~~ “Legally Blonde” Pinks the Stage on Barbie’s Coattails

By Susan Dunn

Kicking off 2024, Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre Company, formerly based in Pleasanton, has come out touting its new name (they’ve dropped the “Repertory”) and moved their venue to the capacious 400-seat Bankhead Theater, which was sold out for the opening night of a rocking Legally Blonde.

The launch for this re-start is a high-energy musical based on the 2001 film and a positive way to show off a 40-plus cast, 19 scenes, an expansive set, and show-stopping choreography and costumes. The two doggie stars Bruiser and Rufus are an audience delight and success capper!

… a show that will wipe away the winter weather and all serious issues!

Some musicals are just for fun, with no apologies. Legally Blonde infects us from the opening number, “Omigod You Guys,” with a repeating anthem to high-energy vocals and sorority-girl buzzy action. The song title personifies Elle Woods, the forceful star who exudes the ubiquitous smile, “out-there” stance, and drop-dead costume changes of a showoff who knows she’s terrific and revels in it.

Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde”.

Elle has it all: the man of her dreams, a secured future, and a validation that she’s a sorority star and adored princess—until she doesn’t have her man. When Warner Huntington III drops her as not being serious enough to be mate to his legal and political ambitions, she spends most of the rest of the musical plotting to get him back.

Deftly acted and sung by Gwynevere Cristobal, she faces the challenge of Harvard Law School and finds her own style and maneuvers to succeed at law. Along the way, she finds new capabilities and some depth in her relationships. But it’s her “Omigod You Guys” prevailing positivity, energy, and in-your-face attitude that move the show to its raucously happy ending.

Themes in this show teeter-totter between being 2001 out-of-date and 2024 Barbie with-it: dumb blondes, popularity queens, gay putdowns, corporate corruption, and sexual predation. But what really matters are the fine direction by Misty Megia, expert, and varied choreography—particularly with jump-ropes—by Cat Delos Santos Reyes, costume eye-candy and surprise reveals by Andrea Gorham-Browne, and continual set manipulations designed and executed by Tom Curtin. With a few standouts, the cast works together to execute an almost flawless high-pitch musical.

In this reviewer’s opinion, the orchestra was a bit of a low point of the evening, but the huge cast just danced and sang their brains out and put orchestra shortcomings in the shade. Time to pull out your own pink wardrobe and accessories and head to the Bankhead for a show that will wipe away the winter weather and all serious issues!


Since arriving in California from New York in 1991, Susan Dunn has been on the executive boards of Hillbarn Theatre, Altarena Playhouse, Berkeley Playhouse, Virago Theatre and Island City Opera, where she is a development director and stage manager. An enthusiastic advocate for new productions and local playwrights, she is a voting member of the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and a recipient of a 2015 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award. Contact: susanmdunn@yahoo.com

ProductionLegally Blonde
Written byLawrence O’Keefe, Nell Benjamin, and Heather Hatch
Directed byMisty Megia
Producing CompanyTri-Valley Theatre Company
Production DatesThru January 28, 2024
Production AddressBankhead Theater
2400 First St, Livermore, CA 94551
Telephone(925) 373-6800
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review Pick?YES!