Photo Coverage: Legally Blonde's Bailey Hanks and 'Bruiser' Meet the Press

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Bailey Hanks won the MTV competition "The Search For The New Elle Woods" making her the new successor to Laura Bell Bundy in the role of Elle Woods. She and her Legally Blonde "co-star" Bruiser, hit Times Square to 'Bend & Snap' and meet the press!

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 reality—as 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 history—comprising two months of workshops, training sessions, challenge after challenge and arduous eliminations—one 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.

On Wednesday, July 23, 2008, Bailey made her Broadway debut as "Elle Woods", the role that made Reese Witherspoon and Laura Bell Bundy stars, at Broadway's famed Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway.  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. 

Photos by Peter James Zielinski


Legally Blonde at the Palace Theatre


Bailey Hanks


Legally Blonde welcomes Bailey Hanks!


Bailey Hanks


Bailey Hanks


Bailey Hanks


Bailey Hanks


Bailey Hanks


Bailey Hanks is chased by her public


Bailey Hanks

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Peter James Zielinski As an Equity actor, Peter is photographing the industry from the inside out. He has performed in numerous shows regionally, sung a duet with Richard Chamberlain in the National Tour of "Scrooge," and starred in "The Zoo Project" which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. When not on stage, he can be found photographing headshots and live theatre in NYC, Chicago and LA. As an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop, he also acts as a retouching artist for photographers city-wide. For more information, please visit: http://www.pjzstudios.com