Bailey Hanks, the talented young lady who made her Broadway debut in Legally Blonde thanks to the MTV reality show “The Search For Elle Woods,” had the misfortune to learn that her Broadway run would end not long after it began, due to Blonde‘s impending closure on October 19. However, Bailey will bounce back quickly – not to Broadway this time, but to New Jersey. She will be playing Sharpay in the upcoming Paper Mill Playhouse production of that teenybopper sensation, High School Musical, opening in early November.
The MTV reality series Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods concluded last night, and the winner is Bailey Hanks! The bubbly 20-year old narrowly beat out the more experienced (and better-voiced) Autumn Hurlbert, who didn’t do quite as well at capturing Elle’s sorority girl sweetness. Both young ladies got to do their final audition with the Legally Blonde cast on the stage of the Palace Theatre, so director Jerry Mitchell was able to get a real sense of how they would perform in the show. We TV viewers did too and, considering how green a lot of the contestants appeared in the early stages of the MTV reality show, it was a relief to see that both winner Bailey and runner-up Autumn (who will be the Elle understudy on Broadway) performed quite well in the demanding role. The contest was actually decided months ago, so both have had ample time to continue training. With star Laura Bell Bundy having departed on Sunday, Bailey debuts on Broadway in Legally Blonde tomorrow, July 23. Meanwhile, contestants Rhiannon Hansen and Lauren Zakrin will join the cast of the Legally Blonde national tour.