With her first star turn on Broadway, Laura Bell Bundy has been trying to put the “leader” into leading role.
Bundy plays Elle Woods, the sorority girl turned Harvard Law student in “Legally Blonde.” She says the tuner, written by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and directed by Jerry Mitchell, shows more of her influence than any previous show. “The creative team and producers have been incredibly trusting of me. They’ve heard my ideas with an open mind, which makes it so much easier for me to give an honest performance,” she explains.
Bundy cites the relationship between Elle and her boyfriend Emmett, played by Christian Borle, as a part of the show that particularly bears her stamp.
She says she and Borle argued that their characters needed more time to connect, which led to additional songs and a romantic scene set in a men’s clothing store.
Bundy also feels she should help set the production’s backstage tone. She says, “It’s important for me to help create a place where no egos are running wild, where we can pull together and be positive about the show. I think the audience is having a good time because we’re having a good time.”
That’s not the only way that above-the-title status has affected her awareness of the crowd.
When she was in supporting roles like “Hairspray’s” Amber Von Tussle, Bundy felt free to play broad comic moments. “Now,” she says, “I’m playing someone with a heart. The audience is getting the story through my character, so I have a responsibility to be truthful and not to be shticky.”
But that’s not the biggest challenge of steering the tuner’s pink-frosted ship. “That would be keeping my voice for eight shows a week,” Bundy quips. “The entire time I’m on-stage I just never, ever shut up.”