Why I Love Legally Blonde's Laura Bell Bundy

by DOUGLAS MARSHALL · May 8, 2008

     Laura Bell BundyI am channeling Elle Woods today. It's kind of hard NOT TO after seeing Legally Blonde on Broadway for the third time last night and getting the chance to meet Laura Bell Bundy - who brings the true character of Elle to life. I get a few sideways looks from people when they hear I've seen the show 3 times - but then again, maybe they've never seen it. The show can take you from a 2 to a 10 on a feeling good level in a matter of minutes. However there is also another reason I have seen the show 3 times. The first two times I went, the character of Elle Woods was played by different understudies. While they were both good at embodying Elle in their own special way, I wanted the real deal. I wanted Laura Bell. After seeing the show with Laura Bell, It became clear to me that my struggle to see the show with her in it was worth it. I probably worked as hard as Elle worked to get into Harvard, just to see Laura Bell in one show. If you saw my post from the other day, you can see that I had my own personal video essay. It got me into the show and it also got me a chance to meet Laura Bell.

    There's been a lot of talk surrounding the complications and risks of translating a movie into a Broadway show. Especially a movie that has been as loved and celebrated as Legally Blonde. In this case the new Elle would have to recreate the character of Elle in an equally lovable way, the way Reese Witherspoon made Elle into a bastion of strength, love and warm fuzzies in LB I&II (snaps for Elle). Those are some really big pink shoes to fill. I have heard that people have a hard time getting into the play because they can't get past happy memories from the movie. Perhaps they'd get more into the play if they had the chance to see it 3 times. I have become comfortable separating the movie from the show and accepting that they both play a pretty valuable part in my mission to be bubbly, nice and positive as much as possible.

    Something changed last night. I have a new found respect for the vision that is Elle Woods. Maybe it isn't even Elle, maybe it's Laura Bell. I didn't expect the play to be very different from the two other times I had seen it but it was "so much better than before". Laura Bell just has this amazing presence on stage; she doesn't play the role. She owns it, embodies it and turns it out with flair. There were times that I felt like: wait, this girl could be the real life Elle. She just moved through the songs with such thunderous positivity and magnetism. I really got into it and the show left me beaming.

    The real treat was going to the stage door to meet Laura Bell Bundy. Unfortunately "My name was NOT up on that list", but in true Elle fashion I explained that I had been told that my name would be on the list. I kept calm and focused on the thought that nothing is impossible. After all, If Elle would have left Havard because Calahan hit on her, she never would have achieved her destiny. So I waited as they checked my credentials, knowing that I would get to meet Laura Bell no matter what. And then it came, as if I had just gotten an 175 on my LSATs - I was escorted in. Laura Bell might be the cutest thing to hit the streets since Bruiser got highlights. So warm, gracious and real. I asked her how playing the role of Elle has changed her life and she told me it's made her so much more of a happy and positive person. In rehearsals before the show even opened she felt stress melt off her shoulders as she sang and danced her way to Harvard and winning the big trial (remember: the perm rule ~ don't wash hair for 48 hours post perm). That's when I knew, my philosophy of using the Elle Woods Way to becoming a happy and genuine person is proven for others as well: it works. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up seeing this show a 4th time; but if I want to see it with Laura Bell I have to do so before July 20th ~ her departure from the show. Seriously folks, go see Legally Blonde on Broadway with Laura Bell Bundy! It has put me in the best mood.

    [Third Times A (Tiffany) Charm]