Legally Brown is not your average star search show. In fact, most people on the show are already stars in their own right; but, that doesn’t mean they won’t throw down ruthlessly for a chance to be the next Piragua guy for the Broadway show In the Heights. The show was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Tony Award winning-composer-lyricist-star of In the Heights) as a dead-on send-up of the reality genre, following nine Broadway actors as they vie for the Piragua guy role.
What’s great about Legally Brown: The Search for the Next Piragua Guy, as its title suggests, it’s not afraid to embrace the ridiculous. In a great marketing move, the six-episode web series concluded yesterday as the curtain went down on Legally Blonde: The Musical. In case you missed it, this past summer MTV paraded around wanna be Broadway stars as they vied for the title role of Elle in the musical version of the movie. In Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods girls laughed, cried, sang their lungs out, and danced their gams off in one of the networks better reality shows since Pedro and Puck and the good ole days of The Real World.
Legally Brown embraces all the conventions of the MTV show it parodies, but stirs in unfathomable road blocks for each of it’s contenders. For example, actress (and 9 to 5: The Musical star) Allison Janney (The West Wing) is the only woman competing for a male role. Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu) is just too darn attractive. Meanwhile Eliseo Roman, who currently holds the role in the actual Broadway show In the Heights is bitterly fighting to keep his part of Piragua guy.
Perhaps the genius hook of the show is all the fuss over casting a Piragua guy to begin with. What, pray tell, you ask is a Piragua guy? Why he’s the Puerto Rican man who sells delicious frozen treats shaped like a pyaramid, made of shaved ice and covered in syrup… of course. But to the contestant on Legally Brown, he’s everything.
In the big season finale, none of these contenders actually land the title role. Instead, reality show winner extraordinare, and Broadway’s Elle Woods aka Bailey Hanks, nabs the role in a not-so-subtle plug for the show. In fact, most of Legally Brown is a plug for Broadway in general, as the judges continuously name drop which show Piragua contenders are currently starring in. Fortunately, for the viewer, the show’s funny enough to keep watching anyway.