Bailey Hanks Makes Her Broadway Debut as Elle Woods Tonight in Legally Blonde
Tonight, Wednesday July 23rd, Bailey Hanks will be making her Broadway debut in the role of Elle Woods in the hit musical Legally Blonde.
On Monday, June 2, 2008, MTV premiered the reality show "Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods" to find a talented singer/actress/ dancer to take over for Broadway star and Tony Nominee Laura Bell Bundy. Thousands of talented young women came from across the country to make their dream a realityas MTV and Legally Blonde The Musical teamed up to find Broadway's new Elle Woods. After what might have been the toughest audition in Broadway historycomprising two months of workshops, training sessions, challenge after challenge and arduous eliminationsone remarkable rising star stood out from the crowd: Bailey Hanks, the 20-yr old Southern charmer with the complete package of extraordinary dancing, singing and acting skills. Not only was she cast in her dream role, she also recorded the hit single "So Much Better", produced by Ghostlight, now available on iTunes.com and Amazon.com.
A big fan of the movie, when Bailey learned about MTV's auditions for "Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods" she didn't hesitate to drive from her hometown of Anderson, S.C., to Nashville, Tenn., to follow her dream of being on Broadway in her favorite musical. A genuine Southern Belle, this pastor's daughter has been dancing and performing for 15 years and has starred in The Wizard of Oz, Seussical the Musical, A Year With Frog and Toad, Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, High Steppin' Country and more. A former beauty pageant queen, Bailey won the Miss Liberty Teen pageant in 2006 and one of her most memorable performances to date has been singing the national anthem for President Bill Clinton in 2000.
In addition to Bailey, the producers of the musical could not say good bye to reality show contestants Autumn Hurlbert, Rhiannon Hansen and Lauren Zakrin who have all been cast in either the Broadway production or the first national tour of the musical, which launches in Providence, RI on September 23, 2008.
Autumn, the first runner-up in the competition known for her curly red hair & dazzling singing voice, will understudy the role of Elle Woods on Broadway and will perform in the ensemble. Lauren, the youngest contestant on the reality show, will understudy Becky Gulsvig, who stars as Elle Woods on tour, and will be a member of the ensemble. Rhiannon, known for her enthusiasm and stage presence, will play the role of Margot, Elle's best friend, on tour.
"Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods", the eight episode reality series provided a genuine glimpse into what it takes to headline a musical as the contestants received direction from and aced challenges provided by Legally Blonde The Musical's creative team. Hosted by Haylie Duff (Hairpray on Broadway) with special guest appearances by Broadway cast members, creatives and vocal coach Seth Rudetsky, the judges were Legally Blonde The Musical's casting director Bernard Telsey; Tony Award nominated book writer Heather Hach; and original Broadway cast member Paul Canaan. The judges and Jerry Mitchell not America decided on the July 21, 2008 Finale episode that Bailey would be the next "Elle Woods" on Broadway.
The reality show represented the musical's second venture with MTV. In the fall of 2007, MTV aired Legally Blonde The Musical in its entirety to stellar ratings and was subsequently nominated for two 2007-2008 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Based on the hit MGM film, Legally Blonde opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre (1564 Broadway, between 46th and 47th Streets) on April 29, 2007 following preview performances that began on April 3, 2007. At the helm of the creative team of Legally Blonde is Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, who makes his Broadway directorial debut and also choreographs. Music and lyrics are by both Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and the book is by Heather Hach.
Sorority star Elle Woods doesn't take "no" for an answer. So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone more "serious," Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
Joining Bailey & Autumn in the cast, are Christian Borle as Emmett, Orfeh as Paulette, Richard H. Blake as Warner, Kate Shindle as Vivienne, Nicolette Hart as Brooke, and Michael Rupert as Professor Callahan. Also featured in the cast are: Tracy Jai Edwards, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Kate Rockwell, Lucia Spina, Barry Anderson, April Berry, Paul Canaan, Lindsay Nicole Chambers,Ven Daniel, Amber Efé, Tiffany Engen, Stephanie Fittro, Josh Franklin,Jason Gillman,Rod Harrelson, Manuel Herrera, Nick Kenkel, Cara Massey, Rusty Mowery, Emily Padgett,Kevin Pariseau, Jody Reynard, Matthew Risch, Dani Spieler and Casey Leigh Thompson.
The production features scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke and sound design by ACME Sound Partners.
Legally Blonde THE MUSICAL earned seven 2007 Tony Award nominations, ten 2007 Drama Desk Award Nominations, a 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award and the chorus of the musical was honored by Actors' Equity Association's Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs (ACCA) with the first ever ACCA Award. The musical also ranked in the top ten list of the most requested Ticketmaster "Arts & Theatre Events" for 2007.
The Legally Blonde Original Cast Recording, which has impressively sold over 100, 000 albums, is produced by GrammyÒ and OscarÒ winner Joel Moss, Sh-K-Boom / Ghostlight Records President Kurt Deutsch, composers/lyricists Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and Executive Produced by Kurt Deutsch and Bill Rosenfield. www.sh-k-boom.com
Legally Blonde is produced on Broadway by Hal Luftig, Fox Theatricals and Dori Berinstein, in association with MGM Onstage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber.
All tickets ($121.50-$41.50) can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 212-307-4100, or in person at the Palace Theatre box office, 1564 Broadway. For information on Elle's Lounge VIP Experience, please visit www.EllesLounge.com. The performance schedule is Wednesday Saturday at 8pm, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and Sunday at 7pm. To buy the Legally Blonde Broadway soundtrack please visit www.sh-k-boom.com.