By Garth Bardsley
Poor Bailey Hanks has to change her lyrics: “Omigod, omigod, you guys! Our show’s closing just when I’d won my prize!”
Emergency mani-pedis are being scheduled all over New York as word spreads that MTV’s most beloved Broadway musical, “Legally Blonde,” will bend and snap for the final time on October 19 following an 18-month run.
It came as quite a shock to folks in the newsroom when MTV announced about a year ago that it would tape a live performance of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” A Broadway musical on MTV? Really? Is Lauren Conrad in it? (No, but she did introduce it.)
But here was the bigger surprise: You watched it! MTV’s repeated broadcasts of the musical were a surprise ratings hit.
Our channel’s renewed love affair with Broadway began with “Spring Awakening,” the Duncan Sheik-composed adolescent-angst fest that opened in early 2007 and just won’t go away. We were one of the first on the “SA” bandwagon, long before the show won eight Tony Awards and inserted itself into American pop culture. (“Mama Who Bore Me” on “90210”? Really?)
“Legally Blonde” was nominated for seven Tonys the same year but failed to win any. Still, we like to think that MTV’s decision to air the musical helped give it a boost on Broadway. “Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods” soon followed, giving the coveted lead role in the show to newcomer Hanks. She took over the role on July 23 and will perform it until the show closes.
Although a national tour of the show just started last week, today is a sad day in “Legally Blonde” land. But fear not; when one happy-go-lucky Broadway musical disappears, another takes its place. “13,” a brand new show with a cast of — wait for it — thirteen 13-year-olds opens a week from Sunday. (MTV News is spending time with the cast tomorrow.) The show has no stars, no Disney backing, no Zac Efron — just a cast of gawky teens singing and dancing their adolescent hearts out about tongue-kissing and fitting in. To be sure, the show faces an uphill battle to survive, so unless you act quickly, you may never see it. Unless, of course, Nickelodeon wants to broadcast it. …