Omigod, you guys! MTV Is Totally Going Blonde!

This coming Saturday, MTV will air Legally Blonde: The Musical, in its entirety. Nominated for seven Tony awards, Blonde opened to good reviews last April. It is the latest in a growing group of Broadway musicals based on popular movies. Since High School Musical has become such a juggernaut for The Disney Channel, it seems clear that MTV is attempting to cash in on the musical loving teen/tween audience.

Two performances of the show were filmed, then edited together for broadcast: one without an audience and the September 18th show. Part of the broadcast will include clips from celebrity arrivals on the “pink carpet” for that performance. There will also be some peeks behind the scenes at what it is like to be backstage at a Broadway production.

Although PBS has been showing filmed versions of Broadway productions for years, this is the first time another network has branched out to mine "The Great White Way" for material. Although theater producers may have had concerns about a television broadcast of their show cutting into ticket sales, the High School Musical phenomenon indicates that tweens are more than game for repeat viewings. Teens and young adults are more than happy to shell out for more than one ticket to youth-oriented shows like Rent and Spring Awakening.

This could be a smart move for both MTV and Blonde’s producers. MTV gets programming they can air repeatedly (they are contracted to air Legally Blonde at least two more times after Saturday), and the theater producers get exposure for the show. Those who see the broadcast will possibly be more apt to buy tickets (or ask their parents to buy them) to see the show in person, which could pay off big time for Legally Blonde when it starts a national tour.

I have a few reservations, though. I’ve seen some numbers from the show performed on TV already on talk shows, and although Laura Bell Bundy is perfectly cast as Elle Woods, I wasn’t blown away. This doesn’t bode well for the production since usually the best numbers from a show are chosen for this type of appearance. Additionally, I’m not sure Legally Blonde is the perfect choice for MTV’s ultra young audience. (MTV might not be sure either, which is why it is getting a Saturday afternoon time slot instead of prime time.)

I hope it works out, though, if only because this recovering drama dork would love the chance to see more stage shows without having to wait for the national tour to make it all the way out to Seattle. Spring Awakening (this year’s Tony winner for Best Musical), with music by Duncan Sheik would also be a great match for MTV, except that it would have to be censored so heavily that much of the impact would be neutralized. But it wouldn’t be totally out of place on HBO. Lone Star Love’s country score would be a perfect match for CMT, and the nostalgia of Xanadu would be just right on VH1.

MTV will air Legally Blonde: The Musical on Saturday, September 29th at 1 pm EST. (DVR programming note: it is currently listed on the schedule as “MTV Special.”)

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Amy Kane spends as much quality time with her television as possible, when she's not busy at her day job as a cube dweller.

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