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legally blonde the search for elle woods

All About MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods PLUS How to Watch the Show

In this blog, we’ll take a good look at MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods, which wasn’t just another talent show but a mission to find Broadway’s next big star; it was a fun mix of reality TV and theatre casting, fresh and different, and now we’re going to check out the journey of this unique show.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the Journey: Learn about MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods, a reality show that combined the thrill of reality TV with the challenge of Broadway casting to find the next Elle Woods for Legally Blonde The Musical.
  • Meet the Contestants: Get to know the diverse and talented women who competed in the show, their unique backgrounds, and how they showcased their skills to impress Broadway’s top professionals.
  • Follow Their Success: Explore where the contestants are now and how their careers have flourished in theatre and entertainment since appearing on the show.

legally blonde the search for elle woods

What Was MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods?

The Search for Elle Woods was a unique reality TV show on MTV. Its mission? To find the new Elle Woods for Legally Blonde The Musical.

Unlike other TV talent contests, this show had a unique twist. Contestants had to go through challenging auditions, participate in hands-on workshops, and deliver weekly performances. This process continued until only one contestant was left.

Auditions were held across the United States. This gave viewers a glimpse of what it takes to impress Broadway’s top professionals. Contestants showcased their singing, dancing, and acting skills, mimicking a real Broadway audition.

The original Broadway team was more than just judges. They also prepared the contestants for Broadway.

Who Were The Contestants?

The contestants were a diverse group of talented women, each bringing their unique style and energy to the competition.

Let’s take a closer look at who they were at the time of the show:

  • Bailey Hanks: Bailey, the winner of the show, hailed from Anderson, South Carolina. Her vibrant talent, bubbly personality, and strong vocals perfectly embodied Elle Woods.
  • Autumn Hurlbert: Autumn, the runner-up, was known for her professional work ethic and strong theatrical background.
  • Lauren Zakrin: Lauren, known for her powerful voice and stage presence, made it to the top three.
  • Rhiannon Hansen: Rhiannon, a fan favourite, was known for her bright smile and infectious energy.
  • Natalie Lander: Natalie, daughter of famous actors David Lander and Kathy Fields, showcased her strong acting skills and unique personality.
  • Emma Zaks: Emma, daughter of renowned Broadway director Stuart Zaks, was known for her dance skills and stage presence.
  • Cassie Okenka: Cassie was one of the contestants on the show. She hailed from Toledo, Ohio. At the time of filming, she had performed as Dorothy Gale in the national tour of The Wizard of Oz.
  • Rachel Potter: Rachel made it to the Top 15 in MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods. She had previously performed as Ariel in the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and as Belle in Beauty and the Beast at Disney World.

legally blonde the search for elle woods

The Reaction from Viewers

The show quickly became a hit. Each week, a large number of viewers eagerly watched to find out which contestants would continue on their journey and which ones would have to say goodbye. The suspense kept the audience coming back for more, week after week.

The Show’s Impact on Legally Blonde on Broadway

The TV show really helped Legally Blonde The Musical. When the show came to an end and Bailey Hanks was named the winner, there was a big jump in ticket sales for the musical. Clearly, the TV show got more people excited about the musical.

Bailey’s role as Elle Woods was a big success, keeping the musical in the public eye for a while. However, despite the increase in popularity, Legally Blonde The Musical still closed on Broadway the same year..

legally blonde the search for elle woods

Where Are The Contestants of MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods Now?

After their appearance on MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods, these talented actresses have continued to shine in the world of theatre and beyond.

Here’s a look at what they’ve been up to:

  • Natalie Lander: Post-show, Natalie landed a role on ABC’s “The Middle” and played Sandy on the national tour of Grease. She also covered Glinda in the national tour of Wicked. With over 80 credits on IMDB, Natalie’s diverse career spans TV, film, animation, and video games.
  • Cassie Okenka: Cassie made her Broadway debut in “Bonnie & Clyde”, and later appeared in “School of Rock”. She also graced the national tours of “Wicked” and “The Wizard of Oz”.
  • Rachel Potter: Rachel played the mistress in the Evita revival and replaced Krysta Rodriguez in The Addams Family. She also showcased her vocal talents on X Factor.
  • Libby Servais: Libby went on to play Glinda in “Wicked” Broadway and appeared on NBC’s “A Very Wicked Halloween”.
  • Rhiannon Hansen: Rhiannon played Margot in the “Legally Blonde” national tour and also understudied Elle Woods.
  • Lauren Zakrin: Lauren performed in the ensemble of the “Legally Blonde” national tour and served as an understudy to Becky Gulsvig as Elle Woods. She was seen on Broadway as Glinda in “Wicked”, and starred as Kathryn Merteuil in the Off-Broadway production of “Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical”.
  • Autumn Hurlbert: Autumn was the runner-up on the show. She served as Bailey Hanks’ understudy and performed in the ensemble of the show. She also understudied the parts of Elle and Margot on Broadway.

These actresses have truly made their mark in the world of performing arts, proving that their journey didn’t end with MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods. In fact, they even had a special reunion concert 10 years later.

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What Happened to the Winner Bailey Hanks?

Bailey Hanks, ended up moving back to Nashville a few years after her Broadway debut. She attended beauty school and started a career as a cosmetologist.

Where to watch the full episodes of MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods:

You can currently watch the full episodes of MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods on YouTube.

Final Thoughts

MTV’s The Search for Elle Woods made a lasting impact on the theatre scene. It was a unique opportunity for Broadway hopefuls to demonstrate their abilities.

The show gave viewers a rare glimpse into how actors were chosen for a major Broadway show. Many participants from the show went on to have successful careers in the entertainment industry.

Holly Smith

I Love Musical Theatre and made the West End World Website To Share My Experiences, Reviews & Theatre News.