Broadway's Legally Blonde
“All I ever wanted was to originate a role on Broadway. An Academy Award? Whatever! I would rather have a Tony.” Laura Bell Bundy
Tony Award-nominated actress Laura Bell Bundy has been seen in a number of Broadway plays. She portrayed Amber Von Tussle in "Hairspray" (2002-2003), Glinda in "Wicked" (2003; replaced Kristin Chenoweth), and now plays Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde.”
“When you do theatre, the audience is right there, so you're getting that immediate response.” Laura Bell Bundy
On television, she could be seen as Marah Shayne Lewis (1999-2001) in "The Guiding Light" and has guest-starred in such TV shows as "Home Improvement," "Veronica Mars," and "Cold Case." Moviegoers could catch her in the films "The Adventures of Huck Finn" (1993), "Jumanji" (1995), "Surf School" (2006), "Dreamgirls" (2006) and "The Drum Beats Twice" (2008).
“Everything happens in its own time, so I’m not too anxious.” Laura Bell Bundy
Childhood and Family:
“Ever since I was young, I’ve felt that I’ve had a special calling of some kind.” Laura Bell Bundy
Daughter of Don Bundy and Lorna Bundy-Jones, Laura Ashley Bell Bundy was born on April 10, 1981, in Lexington, Kentucky. She was the childhood friend of former child actor Macaulay Culkin. Her mother was the Culkin family baby sitter.
Laura attended Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington, Kentucky, and graduated in 1999. She was accepted to New York University and planned on attending, but decided to postpone if for a year in order to work on "The Guiding Light" (1952).
“Growing up, it was very important to figure out the place God had in my life.” Laura Bell Bundy
Making her stage debut in regional theater at the age of 9, 12-year-old Laura Bell Bundy originated the role of Tina Denmark, the 8 year-old aspiring child actress, in the hit Off-Broadway musical “Ruthless,” for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk award for Best Actress in a Musical. Debuting off-Broadway on March 13, 1992, the play closed on January 24, 1993, after 342 performances. Britney Spears and Natalie Portman were Bundy's understudies in the play.
Bundy subsequently appeared on the big screen as Susan Wilks in the Stephen Sommers-directed Disney film based on Mark Twain's novel, "The Adventures of Huck Finn" (1993), starring Elijah Wood and Courtney B. Vance, and as Courtney Aspinall in James Lapine's comedy film starring Michael J. Fox, "Life with Mikey" (1993). She also portrayed the younger version of Bonnie Hunt's Sarah Whittle in Joe Johnston's film version of Chris Van Allsburg's popular 1981 children's book, "Jumanji" (1995).
On television, Bundy was seen in an April 1996 episode of ABC’s Golden Globe-winning sitcom starring actor/comedian Tim Allen, "Home Improvement," and then in the parody of an after school special, "Strangers with Candy: Retardation, a Celebration" (1998), starring Amy Sedaris. She also landed the recurring role of Marah Shayne Lewis in the longest-running soap opera on CBS, the Emmy-winning "Guiding Light." She was with the show from 1999 to 2001.
“'Guiding Light' was like my other family. Now, I've come into the ‘Hairspray’ family.” Laura Bell Bundy
Bundy debuted on Broadway in 2002 portraying Amber Von Tussle, Velma's (portrayed by Linda Hart) bratty and selfish daughter, in the musical version of the 1988 John Waters movie, "Hairspray," by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan. After a trial run at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, the musical transferred to Broadway beginning on August 15, 2002, at the Neil Simon Theatre, where it is still running. It won eight Tony Awards out of thirteen nominations.
“'Hairspray' was a show I was involved in from the very first reading, and I was 19. And ‘Hairspray’ was one of my favorite movies growing up. I used to watch the video while I was eating my lunch. You have those favorite movies that you watch over and over again and you have that really big Blockbuster bill because of it. Well, ‘Hairspray’ was that [movie] for me and my mom would let me rent it and watch it, which was very nice and strange of her.” Laura Bell Bundy
Laura next replaced Kristin Chenoweth as the beautiful and ambitious Galinda/Glinda in the Broadway musical "Wicked." She appeared in a total of 45 performances during 2003 and 2004. She later commented, “Of course I was disappointed. It was one of those things that when you foresee yourself taking over a role, you kind of see how the next six months of your life are going to be and you get that in your head and then you plan accordingly. But when something goes wrong and you've got to change your plan, it kind of jars up everything. It would have been a great time for me. I would have loved to have done the role, but I also feel like the role will always be Kristin Chenoweth's role and I would rather have the opportunity, instead of having to stay at something for nine months and not being able to leave at any point, to create something else or at least have the opportunity to do that if it comes along.”
She also played Dainty June in an Off-Broadway production of “Gypsy and Paper Mill” and starred in the comedic made-for-television movies "All Grown Up" (2003) and "Dirtbags" (2006), alongside Balthazar Getty and Melissa Joan Hart. She was also spotted as a guest in an October 2005 episode of UPN’s teen series starring Kristen Bell, "Veronica Mars," and in an April 2006 episode of CBS’ police procedural television series "Cold Case."
2006 saw Bundy co-star with Ryan Carnes, Harland Williams, and Corey Sevier in writer/director Joel Silverman's teen comedy movie "Surf School" and share the screen with Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jennifer Hudson in Bill Condon's Academy Award-winning adaptation of the 1981 Broadway musical "Dreamgirls," in which she played Sweetheart.
“It was crazy. I couldn't even get into my dressing room there were so many flowers and gifts everywhere. I had to get dressed somewhere else. It was insane.” Laura Bell Bundy
In 2007, Bundy returned to the stage to portray the pink-clad Elle Woods, a Delta Nu Sorority Sister who follows her ex-boyfriend (portrayed by Richard H. Blake) to Harvard, in the musical version of the Amanda Brown novel and the 2001 film, “Legally Blonde,” in its pre-Broadway tryout at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco. On April 29, 2007, the play, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, officially opened at The Palace Theatre, in New York, where Bundy earned a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. Bundy also starred in its TV movie version for the MTV network in October and November 2007.
Back on the wide screen, Bundy recently co-starred with Amy Redford, Costas Mandylor, and Charles Durning in director Ken Del Vecchio's dramatic film, "The Drum Beats Twice" (2008).
“Doing music and being able to sing, dance and do comedy, that is what I was really trained to do.” Laura Bell Bundy
A talented singer, Bundy writes and records her own music and plays the guitar. She is part of the singing duo Laura & Amber with Country Music star Amber Rhodes and has recorded a duet with Kerry Butler called “Any Day.” She is now reportedly working on the release of her debut country album titled "Longing for a Place Already Gone."
Bundy is also an accomplished dancer who has performed in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.