"The thing I'm working on now is trying to pack for a year in only two suitcases."
It may be a big task, but Rhiannon Hansen, of Logan, is up to the challenge.
Earlier, this week, the perky blonde was getting ready to find out if she would be the next Elle Woods on Broadway she competed on MTV's "Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for the Next Elle Woods."
MTV held auditions around the country, and cast the leading role on a reality show using Broadway casting directors, with the show's director/choreographer, Jerry Mitchell, making the final decision.
Bailey Hanks of North Carolina won the lead role.
Hansen came in third but believes she came out on top. "I feel like I got the best part of the deal that I could," she said.
And, she didn't leave empty-handed. In a surprise to all the runners-up, producers offered contracts to the top four girls.
Hansen will join the national tour of the hit musical in the role of Margot Elle's best friend. "She's the really dingy blond character and that's the part I play best. I feel like it fits my personality," she said, mentioning that she's been told she's goofy and funny her whole life.
Second-place actress, Autumn Hurlbert, who has performed at Pioneer Theatre, most recently as Eponine in "Les Miserables," joins the Broadway ensemble and will understudy the role of Elle. And fourth-place contestant, Lauren Zakrin, joins Hansen on the road in the ensemble and will understudy Elle (Hanks, who won the top spot, had her Broadway debut last Wednesday.)
"We're all so happy I feel like each and every one of us feels like we got something out of it. l couldn't be at a better place; this is better for me now and this is where I'm supposed to be."
Viewers of the TV show didn't get to see Hansen receive the good word. You have to go to www.mtv.com and find the "Legally Blonde" link. There you can see Hansen win her spot on tour, watch full performances and see loads of behind-the-scenes footage.
Since Hansen's callback was not televised, she announced her new gig to family and friends gathered at her parents' house to watch the finale. "After I told everyone my dad started clapping and everyone started clapping and I was just sobbing. They are so proud of me, I can just see it they're glowing, and it's so exciting they're experiencing it with me."
But it took purchasing a big screen TV and then some to get to the finale. "At first it was going to be the first week (to have people come over) and then everyone wanted to come back and soon it was an every Monday tradition."
Hansen's parents bought a new big screen for downstairs and borrowed an aunt's big screen to put upstairs to accommodate the viewers, "this last week we had over 70 people there it was so much fun."
She'll leave for New York in August for five weeks of rehearsals, "then we'll go to Rhode Island for two weeks of tech rehearsals and then hit the road."3 comments on this story
Hansen's yearlong contract will have her visiting more than 30 cities. "For Christmas I'll be in Washington, D.C., and for my birthday, I'll be in Atlanta." The closest she'll get to Salt Lake City is Southern California (Pantages Theater and Orange County Performing Arts Center) in August and September of next year.
But for now, she has to figure out the packing situation. "I'm really having a hard time with the shoes thing. I can take three pairs of shoes and I have so many pairs of shoes," Hansen said, chuckling. "I'll definitely take my pink heels, my brown leather flip-flops and some white tennis shoes. I'm hoping I can throw in some brown, black and white heels, too we'll see."