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Reality TV stars hit stage for 'Legally Blonde'

Have you ever had a dream you thought was impossible? Lauren Ashley Zakrin, 19, and Rhiannon Hansen, 20, are both guilty of having that dream except their dream was to be Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde the Musical." Both starred in MTV's "Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods." Now, they're performing in the national tour coming to Shea's next week.

NeXt: What previous theater experience do you have?

Lauren: My first onstage experience was in kindergarten for the "Christmas Mouse" play. I've taken lots of dance and dance performance, tons of community theater and high school shows and in my freshman year of college, too, so I've done tons of musicals, plays and recitals.

Rhiannon: "Legally Blonde" is my first professional show. I did shows in college at AMDA [Academy of Music and Dramatic Art] where I graduated in December 2007. Then, I went to the TV show.

NeXt: How did you get involved with MTV's "The Search for Elle Woods"?

Lauren: Some of my friends at Western, we're all musical theater performance majors and came across the advertisement on Playbill. I'm like the bubbly blond one of the group of freshman and my friends sent it to me and said that I'd be perfect for it. I got five of my friends from school and we all went down to Chicago to audition together and within a week they called me at my dorm to be on the show.

Rhiannon: I fell in love with "Legally Blonde" after I saw the pre-Broadway run in San Francisco. Later, one of my roommates saw an audition for Elle Woods and I thought that being in the show would be even cooler than seeing it. Then, I auditioned and was called to New York to do the TV show where I was offered the role of Margot in the national tour.

NeXt: What's it like being on tour after being on the TV show together?

Lauren: It's great to be together because we're the only two who aren't Equity members or never did this before plus we're almost the same age. It makes it easier and I can't imagine either of us going through this alone.

NeXt: What is your favorite part of the show?

Lauren: My favorite part to be in is "What You Want" because it's just a huge party onstage with dancing, energy and crazy costumes and it's a really fun number which energizes the audience. My favorite part to watch is "Gay or European" because it is so ridiculously funny.

Rhiannon: My favorite part to be in is the remix because it's a strong number and stresses the point of the show.

NeXt: How do you prepare for a show?

Lauren: We get to the theater really early to prep our hair for wigs and get our microphones pinned on and then our wigs put on.

NeXt: What message do you want people to receive when they see the show?

Lauren: I think people get confused because they think the show is about cute, pink and sorority sisters when it really isn't. It's aimed towards anybody and is 100 percent about being yourself and not changing to please other people because there are people who will love you for who you are. I really think the message that the show sends is to be strong, independent and who you are.

Rhiannon: I think the main message of the show is to not care what other people think about you and you can do anything you set your mind to. It's about being strong and it's a great message, especially for girls.

NeXt: Is it hard to dance in high heels?

Lauren: You get used to it after awhile and sometimes you get sore ankles. The first couple times you do the dances it doesn't go over that well but you learn how to do it. Everyone is also putting in toe spacers because we're afraid to get bunions after wearing high heels every day for a year.

Rhiannon: Yes! I really had trouble with that. I originally had a six-inch pair of heels that they had to cut from the show because I couldn't dance in those. I'm slowly getting better.

NeXt: Do you have any hidden talents?

Lauren: I can do really good animal imitations. They were actually what got me onto reality TV because we had video interviews before the show and they asked if we had any hidden talents so I did a bunch of animal imitations. The producers told me later that's why they picked me because they were so ridiculous and they made me stand out.

NeXt: Besides Legally Blonde, what is your favorite musical?

Rhiannon: I have two. "Title of Show" is my favorite and I'm very sad that it's closing. I recently saw "Spring Awakening" and it was really good.

NeXt: Who inspires you?

Lauren: Definitely my first voice teacher from Michigan because she is an amazing person who brings joy and helps everyone. She made me believe in myself and taught me how to sing.

Rhiannon: Two of my biggest inspirations are Laura Bell Bundy and Kristin Chenoweth because they both are great in their roles.

NeXt: What advice do you want to give to girls who have big dreams like yours?

Lauren: Two words: confidence and determination. In this business, it is absolutely crucial that you believe in yourself and you walk into an audition knowing that you can do it. You need determination because in this business, you will hear "no" a hundred times before you hear "yes."

RHIANNON: Basically, that dreams really do come true because I'm living proof of it. Keep working through the hard times and keep a positive attitude and listen to your heart.

Mary Best is a junior at Alden.


Legally Blonde is playing at Shea's Performing Arts Center Oct. 14-19. Tickets are available at or at the Shea's Box Office from $25 to $50.

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