Omigod! Bailey Is New Star of Broadway's Legally Blonde; Three Finalists Also Land Roles

By Adam Hetrick
21 Jul 2008

Bailey Hanks in Legally Blonde.
Bailey Hanks in Legally Blonde.

Bailey Hanks has been named the winner of the MTV reality casting competition, "Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods."

Hanks, who beat out nine other contestants to succeed Tony nominee Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods in the New York production of Legally Blonde, will make her Broadway debut in the musical based on the film of the same name July 23 at 8 PM.

Ghostlight records will also release Hanks' single version of Legally Blonde's first-act closer, "So Much Better," on iTunes beginning July 22. A single version will also be available on Ghostlight's official website.

Hanks was named the winner of the pre-taped series at a private taping on the stage of the Palace Theatre March 18. Legally Blonde's original Elle Woods, Laura Bell Bundy, played her final performance in the pop tuner June 20.

Finalists Autumn Hurlbert, Rhiannon Hansen and Lauren Zakrin have all been cast in either the Broadway production or the first national tour of the musical, which launches in Providence, RI, Sept. 23.



Hurlbert, the first runner-up in the competition, will understudy the role of Elle Woods on Broadway and will perform in the ensemble. Zakrin, the youngest contestant on the reality show, will understudy the tour's Elle Woods, Becky Gulsvig, and will also be a member of the ensemble. And, Hansen will play the role of Margot, Elle's best friend, on tour.

Bailey Hanks, an Anderson, SC native, is a musical theatre student at Coastal Carolina University. Among her previous stage credits are The Wizard of Oz, Seussical the Musical, A Year With Frog and Toad, Annie and Bye Bye Birdie.

Hosted and co-executive produced by Haylie Duff (Hairspray, "7th Heaven"), the first of eight "The Search for Elle Woods" episodes premiered June 2 on the MTV network. Ten contestants were originally selected from a nationwide casting call that began Jan. 24 in Los Angeles.

Bailey Hanks was selected by a team including Legally Blonde director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, casting director Bernard Telsey, Legally Blonde book writer Heather Hach, associate director Marc Bruni and associate choreographer Denis Jones.

Seth Rudetsky served as musical director and vocal coach for the series, which included special appearances from Legally Blonde cast members Paul Canaan (one of the three judges), Nikki Snelson (Brooke Wyndham), Orfeh (Paulette), Richard H. Blake (Warner) and the musical's Tony-nominated star, Laura Bell Bundy.

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Directed and choreographed by Tony Award Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde officially opened at the Palace Theatre April 29. The production began previews April 3 following an out of town tryout in San Francisco.

Legally Blonde has music and lyrics by both Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical, Cam Jansen and the Curse of the Emerald Elephant, Sarah, Plain and Tall) and Nell Benjamin (Cam Jansen, Sarah, Plain and Tall, The Mice) and a book by Heather Hach (the film "Freaky Friday"). James Sampliner serves as music director. Orchestrations are by Christopher Jahnke.

The production features scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller and sound design by ACME Sound Partners.

The show is produced on Broadway by Hal Luftig, Fox Theatricals and Dori Berinstein, in association with MGM Onstage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber.

For more information visit www.legallyblondethemusical.com.