Laura Bell Bundy finishes show on July 20
The Broadway tuner version of “Legally Blonde” has worked out the sked for its reality-TV replacement star, with the as-yet-unannounced actress stepping into the lead role of “Blonde” two days after MTV airs the finale of casting skein “Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods.”Laura Bell Bundy, the thesp who originated the role of sorority-sister-turned-lawyer Elle in the musical, plays her final perf in “Blonde” July 20. The next night, the last episode of “Search for Elle” announces who will replace Bundy, and that actress will begin her stint in the show July 23. “Search,” in which a group of hopefuls vie for the “Blonde” gig, began airing on MTV June 2. Over the course of the series, which has completed lensing, a team of judges (including casting director Bernard Telsey and helmer-choreography Jerry Mitchell) will decide which aspiring thesp will replace Bundy. It’s the second partnership between “Blonde” and MTV, which aired the musical in its entirety over the fall. “Search for Elle” is the latest legit attempt to exploit the marketing power of TV. Last spring, producers of the current revival of “Grease” launched their production with a casting skein on NBC that determined the revival’s two stars. Despite lackluster reviews, “Grease” has held steady at the box office, a fact many legiters attribute in part to the profile boost the TV show gave the production. Weekly sales for “Blonde” jumped by more than $140,000 after its own tube skein preemed, suggesting TV-derived benefits may be in the offing for “Blonde” box office as well.