Legally Blonde – The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods
|Legally Blonde — The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods|
Official logo art for the show
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Running time||60 minutes (44 without commercials)|
|Original channel||MTV (2008)|
|Original run||June 2, 2008 – July 21, 2008|
Legally Blonde — The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods is an MTV program created in order to cast an actress to replace Laura Bell Bundy in the role of Elle Woods in the Broadway production of Legally Blonde – The Musical. The show debuted on June 2, 2008.
The winner of the show, Bailey Hanks, in addition to being cast in the role, was given the opportunity to record her own single of the musical's first-act closer, "So Much Better". The show concluded on July 21, 2008. Autumn Hurlbert was the runner up. She served as Hanks' understudy and performed in the ensemble of the show. Bundy's last performance in the musical was on July 20, 2008. Hanks began performances on July 23, 2008 and remained with the show until it closed on October 19, 2008.
Two other show finalists — Rhiannon Hansen and Lauren Zakrin, performed in the Legally Blonde National tour. Hansen played Margot in the musical and Zakrin performed in the ensemble as well serving as understudy to Becky Gulsvig as Elle Woods.
The show began with 15 contestants. All except the winner were eliminated over nine episodes, in which they performed songs and faced other challenges. A three-judge panel made the elimination decisions. Most episodes involved a small prize for the winner of the challenge.
Judges and mentors
- Haylie Duff, singer, actress, and Broadway Performer
- Jerry Mitchell, director and choreographer of Legally Blonde — The Musical
- Paul Canaan, ensemble member of Legally Blonde — The Musical
- Bernard Telsey, casting director
- Heather Hach, librettist of Legally Blonde — The Musical
- Seth Rudetsky, musician, comedian, actor, writer, vocal coach
- Denis Jones, Associate Choreographer of Legally Blonde — The Musical
- Marc Bruni, Associate Director of Legally Blonde — The Musical
|Bailey Hanks||20||Anderson, South Carolina||Winner|
|Autumn Hurlbert||28||Mesa, Arizona||2nd Place|
|Rhiannon Hansen||19||Salt Lake City, Utah||3rd Place|
|Lauren Zakrin||18||Detroit, Michigan||Eliminated 7th|
|Natalie Lander||25||Malibu, California||Eliminated 6th|
|Emma Zaks||26||Bronx, New York||Eliminated 5th|
|Cassie Silva||19||Los Angeles, California||Eliminated 4th|
|Celina Carvajal||28||San Francisco, California||Eliminated 3rd|
|Lindsey Ridgway||24||Chicago, Illinois||Eliminated 2nd|
|Cassie Okenka||22||Toledo, Ohio||Eliminated 1st|
- ^1 Age at the time of filming.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2008)|
In each episode, the contestants met different cast members from the Broadway cast of Legally Blonde: The Musical. They also studied a song from the show and faced various tests and challenges that were evaluated by the panel of judges. Most weeks, the challenge winner received a prize.
- Episode Number 1 – "You're Cut" (Originally aired June 2, 2008)
50 contestants traveled to New York hoping to star as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. An initial dance audition ensued, and the field was narrowed down to 15 girls. After learning the song "So Much Better" and a dance, the girls auditioned for the judges. Five were eliminated, leaving 10 remaining contestants.
- Episode Number 2 – "And Then There Were 10" (Originally aired June 9, 2008)
Episode 2 focused on acting auditions. Scene partner Nikki Snelson purposely drops a line during the contestants' auditions to see how the contestants react. The girls learned the song "Delta Nu Nu Nu". The challenge winner, Hanks, won personal time with Nikki Snelson. She shared the prize with Ridgway.
- Episode Number 3 – "Omigod, She Threw Us Under the Bus!" (Originally aired June 16, 2008)
After a grueling vocal workshop on spin bikes to test the contestants' stamina, Cassie S. isolates herself from the other girls by complaining to the judges that the other contestants failed to give their all during her rehearsals. The episode also focused on the song "Omigod You Guys". The prize was a manicure and pedicure with Orfeh, won by Zakrin and shared with Silva.
- Episode Number 4 – "It's Time to Get Serious" (Originally aired June 23, 2008)
The top eight contestants experience illness and nerves, while learning the song "Serious" and performing a challenging comedic scene. The prize was a date with Richard H. Blake, won by Hurlbert and shared with Carvajal.
- Episode Number 5 – "These Pink Boots Are Made For Dancing" (Originally aired June 30, 2008)
The six contestants test their dancing skills on the cobblestoned streets of Brooklyn and face a Hip-Hop dancing challenge ("Shake Your Junk" dance sequence). The song for the episode was "Positive". Lander won a yoga lesson with Kate Shindle, which she shared with Hansen.
- Episode Number 6 – "Blonde to the Bone" (Originally aired July 7, 2008)
The final five girls were given makeovers and performed the ballad "Legally Blonde." The episode's challenge involved modeling. The song was "Legally Blonde". Lander won a lunch date with Andy Karl.
- Episode Number 7 – "Triple Threat Test" (Originally aired July 14, 2008)
Four finalists audition with a challenging number that tests singing, acting and dance. Their costume change skills were also tested, as was their stamina. The song featured was "What You Want". All the girls won dinner at the loft and Legally Blonde-style Tiffany necklaces.
- Episode Number 8 – "A Star is Born!" (Originally aired July 21, 2008)
Autumn and Bailey performed three Legally Blonde numbers live at the Palace Theatre on Broadway, and Bailey was declared the winner. The three songs were "Omigod You Guys", "Positive" and "So Much Better". In addition to winning a contract to perform the role of Elle Woods on Broadway for at least three months, Hanks was given the opportunity to record her own single of the musical's first-act closer, "So Much Better". Hurlbert, as the runner up, will act as Hanks' understudy and perform in the ensemble of the show. Zakrin, the third runner up, will understudy the tour's Elle Woods, Becky Gulsvig, and will also be a member of the ensemble. And, Hansen, the second runner up, will play the role of Margot, Elle's best friend, on tour, as well as understudying Elle.
Broadway cast appearances
In each episode, the girls meet a cast member from Legally Blonde -The Musical. Usually, these opportunities were awarded as prizes.
- Episode 1: Jerry Mitchell (Director), Laura Bell Bundy (Elle Woods)
- Episode 2: Nikki Snelson (Brooke Wyndham)
- Episode 3: Orfeh (Paulette Bonafonté)
- Episode 4: Boo-Boo (Bruiser), Teddy (Bruiser), Richard H. Blake (Warner Huntington III)
- Episode 5: Kate Shindle (Vivienne Kensington), Nick Kenkel (Ensemble)
- Episode 6: Laura Bell Bundy, Andy Karl (Grandmaster Chad/Dewey/Kyle; u/s Emmett Forrest)
- Episode 7: Rusty Mowery (Dance Captain, Swing), Michelle Kittrell (Ensemble, Dance Captain), Asmeret Ghebremichael (Pilar), April Berry (Ensemble/Kristine the Delta Nu), Manuel Herrera (Ensemble/Nikos), and Nick Kenkel (Ensemble)
- Episode 8: Jerry Mitchell, and current cast members
These were the following auditions or workshops for each episode. These are similar to "challenges" on other reality shows.
- Episode 1: Dancing/Singing
- Episode 2: Acting
- Episode 3: Stamina
- Episode 4: Bonding with Bruiser
- Episode 5: Hip-Hop Dancing
- Episode 6: Becoming Elle/Modeling
- Episode 7: Being a Triple Threat (Singing, Dancing, Acting)/Costume Changes/Stamina
- Episode 8: Performing Live at the Palace Theatre
These were the musical numbers from the Broadway show that the contestants were taught during each episode.
- Episode 1: So Much Better
- Episode 2: Delta Nu Nu Nu
- Episode 3: Omigod You Guys
- Episode 4: Serious
- Episode 5: Positive ("Shake Your Junk" Dance sequence)
- Episode 6: Legally Blonde
- Episode 7: What You Want
- Episode 8: Omigod You Guys, Positive, and So Much Better
- Episode 1: None
- Episode 2: Personal time with Nikki Snelson. Won by Bailey and shared with Lindsey.
- Episode 3: Manicure and pedicure with Orfeh. Won by Lauren and shared with Cassie S.
- Episode 4: A date with Richard H. Blake. Won by Autumn and shared with Celina.
- Episode 5: Yoga lesson with Kate Shindle. Won by Natalie and shared with Rhiannon.
- Episode 6: Lunch date with Andy Karl. Won by Natalie.
- Episode 7: Dinner at the loft and Legally Blonde-style Tiffany necklaces. Shared by all of the girls.
- Episode 8: Becoming Elle Woods. Won by Bailey.
During the course of the auditions, the three judges determine which girls to eliminate and which ones to continue in the competition. After the judges figure out who will go and who will stay they write the names down, in order by best audition, on "the list" similar to the one referred to during the song So Much Better. Haylie Duff is then given the list and announces the list in order. The remaining girls who are not on the list must immediately head to the building's casting office where the three judges will determine the eliminated contestant.
|03||Cassie O.||Cassie O.||Emma||Natalie||Lauren||Lauren||Bailey||Rhiannon||Rhiannon3|
- The contestant will star as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical.
- The contestant won the reward challenge.
- The contestant was not on the casting list but remained in the competition.
- The contestant won the reward challenge but was not on the casting list and remained in the competition.
- The contestant won the reward challenge, but was eliminated.
- The contestant was eliminated.
- ^1 In episode 5, the panel of judges informed Natalie that she would be on the list prior to the official announcement of the list.
- ^2 In episode 7 there was no one on the casting list. Additionally, Lauren was eliminated before Autumn, Bailey, or Rhiannon were told they were safe, so they are listed alphabetically. Also, all four girls shared the reward.
- ^3 This elimination is based on the performances in episode 7. It narrowed down the competition to two girls before the second elimination in episode 8, which determined the winner. Also, Rhiannon's elimination was announced before Autumn and Bailey's continuing, so they are listed alphabetically.
After the show
Autumn Hurlbert was declared the runner-up and served as Hanks' understudy while also performing in the ensemble. Finalists Rhiannon Hansen (3rd place) and Lauren Zakrin (4th place) participated in the musical's first national tour, respectively, as Margot and as the understudy for Elle. Zakrin later starred in the 1st National Tour of Wicked in the ensemble and as an understudy for Glinda.
Natalie Lander has since moved on to video game voice acting and film roles.
Celina Carvajal now goes by a shorter version of her name, Lena Hall. She has gone on to originate the role of Nicola in Kinky Boots and has also performed as Yitzak in the 2014 revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Neil Patrick Harris. The role of Yitzak earned her a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 2014. Hall is also the lead singer of the band The Deafening.
Cassie Okenka performed as Dorothy Gale in the national tour of The Wizard of Oz, was the understudy to Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde on Broadway and recently performed in the 1st National Tour of Wicked in the ensemble and as an understudy for Glinda.
Rachel Potter performed in the ensemble of the 2nd National Tour of Wicked and as an understudy for Glinda from August 2010 to February 2011, as Wednesday in The Addams Family on Broadway from March 2011 to December 2011 and played The Mistress in the first Broadway revival of Evita in 2012. Potter competed on the 3rd season of The X Factor singing competition show in 2013, and was eliminated during the third live show.
Libby Servais performed as an original cast member of the 2nd National Tour of Wicked from March 2009 to February 2010 in the ensemble and as an understudy for Glinda. She became the standby for Glinda in the San Francisco company of the show from February 2010 to September 2010, when the production closed. She was most recently seen as a standby for several roles in the original Broadway musical Lysistrata Jones. She often covers many female roles as a swing in Wicked's Broadway company.
- Hetrick, Adam (October 18, 2008). "Case Closed: Legally Blonde Ends Broadway Run Oct. 19". Playbill. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Hetrick, Adam (July 21, 2008). "Omigod! Bailey is New Star of Broadway's Legally Blonde; Three Finalists Also Land Roles". Playbill. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
- Kinon, Cristina (June 2, 2008). "Television". "'Blonde' Ambition for Elle of a Role". New York Daily News. p. 71. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- Hetrick, Adam (July 14, 2008). "Broadway's Next Elle Woods Will Get a Single of "So Much Better" July 22". Playbill. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
- The single is available to download on Amazon.com, iTunes, and available on hard-copy from Ghostlight Records.
- Official MTV site
- Legally Blonde – The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods at the Internet Movie Database