Bailey Hanks in Legally Blonde
(© Andrew Walker)
Bailey Hanks in Legally Blonde
(© Andrew Walker)
Bailey Hanks, a 20-year-old singer, dancer, and former beauty queen from Anderson, South Carolina, will play Elle Woods in the Broadway musical Legally Blonde. She will begin her run on the show at 8pm on Wednesday, July 23.

She was named on the final episode of MTVs Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods on Monday, July 21. In addition, a digital release of the single "So Much Better," recorded by Hanks and members of the cast, has been released by Ghostlight Records. It will be available on all MP3 outlets, including Amazon.com and iTunes, while physical copies will be available via www.ghostlightrecords.com.

In related news, Autumn Hurlbert, the 28-year-old first runner-up on the MTV show, will understudy the role of Elle Woods on Broadway and will perform in the ensemble. Two other of the show's contestants also gained roles on the show's national tour, which launches on September 23 in Providence, Rhode Island: Lauren Zakrin will understudy Becky Gulsvig, who will star as Elle, and will be a member of the show's ensemble; while Rhiannon Hansen will play the role of Margot.

The MTV show, which was hosted by Haylie Duff, featured 10 finalists who have competed over the past eight weeks for the chance to replace Laura Bell Bundy, who played her last performance as Elle on July 20. The final decision was made by the show's director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and the show's judges included casting director Bernie Telsey, actor Paul Canaan, as well as the show's book writer, Heather Hach.

Legally Blonde, based on the MGM film of the same name, features a score by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin. The show's cast includes 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 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. The show received a total of seven Tony Award nominations in 2007.