Legally Blonde, Cupcake Theater

I have to start this review off by saying the Cupcake Theater is my absolute favorite local theater. I have seen nearly every production they have put on since moving to their new North Hollywood location. This venue is so intimate and jam-packed with talent and these productions are not to be missed. 

I saw Legally Blonde on opening night, June 16th.  The best thing this production  has going for it is the superb casting. A huge shoutout to Arri Leigh who stars as Elle Woods. She is charming, idealistic, and captures the purity of Elle while also making herself a fierce force on stage. You never doubt she will do whatever it takes to succeed and get things done. I also have to give some love to Kristen Pickrell who stars as Paulette and really brings the sass and love to the stage befitting this character. Combined with Arri and the other lovely ladies, they turn out a wonderful rendition of “Bend and Snap.”

One of the things I love most about this show is its theme of empowerment. The amount of incredibly strong and diverse women on the Cupcake Theater stage is staggering and they are always there for each other and are truly the backbone of this production. Legally Blonde is a great production to show your daughters or bring your squad to and celebrate all of the awesome things ladies can do when they stick together.

This show is also so fun! Featuring some great jams like “Ohmigod You Guys,” “There! Right there,” and “Whipped into Shape” which is a wildly impressive jumprope number that is such a truly magnificent way to jump into the second act. I have to give a couple more shoutouts to Rehyan Rivera who made his choreography debut with this show and Thomas Adoue Polk who made his directorial debut. You guys have created a really great show and I can’t wait to see it again. 

You can currently get tickets from the Cupcake Theater website or from Goldstar. If you can afford more expensive tickets please make that investment as these ticket sales do fund the productions and make it possible to create such wonderful experiences. I also recommend taking Lyft to the show as there’s not that much parking nearby.

Seats are not assigned at the Cupcake so make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early to get a high number and have your pick of the seats in the house. There’s not really a bad seat since the venue is so intimate but while you’re waiting you can also enjoy a signature watermelon mojito. They are to die for and I almost always get one when I come to a show. Plus, you never know who will be bartending that night. Members of the Cupcake Theater family are usually behind the counter helping out so say hi and chat with them and continue to support this great place!

As of this writing, tickets on Goldstar are running between $20-$50 before taxes. The show will run at least through August and plays Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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Constellations, Geffen Playhouse

I couldn’t have asked for a better play to review first. Constellations opens tonight, July 14th, at the intimate Geffen Playhouse a stone’s throw from UCLA to what I hope is the packed house it deserves. I caught the last preview of the play and it more than earned its standing ovation.

Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time) stars opposite Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) in this two-man play from playwright Nick Payne, which explores the concept of string theory and infinite universes and courses our lives may take — but are they truly infinite?

As the play unfolds it seems increasingly clear that while there are infinite possibilities for our lives across infinite universes there may be one clear course our lives will take. Don’t be afraid because I mentioned string theory that this play will be bland or too brainy. Out of its almost 90 minute run time, you’ll have to hear science for about…five minutes of it and that’s a pretty generous estimation. The rest is focused on developing the characters of Marianne, a quantum physics professor at Cambridge, and Roland, a beekeeper, as they struggle in a relationship that brings to mind Jaime and Kathy from The Last Five Years (but without the songs). I don’t want to give anything away, but before you know it this love story will have you emotionally invested and both endeared and devastated for them. These characters are fun and you root for them to have a universe where things go well for them.

The story, told in segments, unfolds out-of-order leaving some in the audience whispering behind me about their confusion but the pieces all come together by the end. Even the confused older ladies behind me had the gist of it before Goodwin and Leech took their bows.

If you’re not a fan of seeing the same scenes played out various ways, you might want to pass on this one, but the subtle differences between each string of the same scene really highlight the level of talent Goodwin and Leech bring to the stage.

I feel something should also be said for the clever, minimalist staging that features beautiful round string lights which my roommate observed help keep track of which string each scene is on.

Constellations - Promo Pic
Photo Credit: Chris Whitaker, courtesy of Geffen Playhouse

If you like your plays to leave you with some food for thought, give this show a shot. I certainly don’t contemplate quantum physics in my normal life but since seeing this play I have started debating all over again whether we truly have free will or if there truly are an infinite array of choices at our feet.

At $28.50 a ticket after taxes on Goldstar (assuming you go for a ticket listed at $21.50) this is a show worth your while. If you factor in the parking a couple minutes’ walk from the theatre which costs $6, you could have a pretty nice night out for under $40.

Here’s a link to purchase tickets on Goldstar if you’re interested:

https://www.goldstar.com/events/los-angeles-ca/constellations-tickets#dates-times