By Adam Hetrick
02 May 2008
The new reality series marks the second partnership between the Broadway tuner and the MTV network. The MTV broadcast of Legally Blonde in its entirety – replete with a television celebrity-studded pink carpet – drew in 12.5 million viewers for its weekend airings.
Following the success of the broadcast, MTV approached Legally Blonde's producers to create a show that would search for Tony nominee Laura Bell Bundy's replacement in the role of Elle Woods.
Hosted and co-executive produced by Haylie Duff (Hairspray, "7th Heaven"), the first of the program's eight episodes is slated to premiere June 2 at 10 PM. Ten contestants have been selected from a nationwide casting call that began Jan. 24 in Los Angeles.
Legally Blonde director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell is involved in the first and final episodes of the program, which also features members of Legally Blonde's casting team from Telsey + Co., as well as Legally Blonde book writer Heather Hach, associate director Marc Bruni and associate choreographer Denis Jones.
Seth Rudetsky serves as musical director and vocal coach for the series, with special appearances from Legally Blonde cast members Paul Canaan, Nikki Snelson (Brooke Wyndham), Orfeh (Paulette), Richard H. Blake (Warner) and the musical's Tony nominated star, Laura Bell Bundy.
Jerry Mitchell spoke with Playbill.com about the upcoming reality series and stated that the Legally Blonde creative team and its producers were very explicit that a panel of theatre professionals – and not a public vote-in process – would determine which contestant would be awarded the role of Elle Woods.
"I thought it was brilliant," Mitchell commented on the MTV partnership. "I think that the theatre world is changing and the way that we all get our entertainment and even our live entertainment is changing also." Regarding the evolving face of Broadway, he added, "We can dig in our heels, but if we can also figure out a way to make it successful and profitable for everyone, we should really be thinking about it."
MTV will also launch exclusive web content with extras, deleted scenes and audition reels at MTV.com on May 5.
"Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods" is produced by Mark Koops and Howard T. Owens, who have also produced the television reality shows "The Biggest Loser," "The Restaurant," "Nashville Star," "Blow Out" and "Date My Mom." Amanda Lipitz, one of Legally Blonde's Broadway producers, joins the "Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods" producing team, which also includes Maira Suro and "The Hills" executive producers Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley.
Legally Blonde features a score by Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical) and Nell Benjamin (Sarah, Plain and Tall), with a book by Heather Hach (the film "Freaky Friday").
Hal Luftig, Fox Theatricals and Dori Berinstein produce the show on Broadway, in association with MGM Onstage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber.
Legally Blonde has also announced a national tour that will kick off at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island Sept. 23.
For more information, visit legallyblondethemusical.com.