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Laura Bell Bundy is still “Legally Blonde”

Actress Laura Bell Bundy, best known for originating the role of Elle Woods in the Broadway production of “Legally Blonde,” imparted her broadway wisdom to the cast of “Legally Blonde” on October 28. During her visit to Marlborough, the cast listened as Bundy shared her story of bringing “Elle Woods” to life, and actors in certain scenes even had the opportunity to receive one-one-one direction from Bundy.

Several students said the excitement in the room was tangible upon Bundy’s arrival. Marcella Tracy ‘22 , who played Elle in Marlborough’s production, said she has always been inspired by Bundy’s work and saw being cast in the show as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse herself in Bundy’s most iconic character.

“I have watched Laura Bell Bundy and followed her journey since the moment I first listened to the soundtrack, which was about 2-3 years ago,” Tracy said. “It was so surreal to see someone you have watched videos of and listened to every day stand right next to you.”

Cordelia Reynolds ‘21, who played Margot, one of Elle’s sorority sisters, had the opportunity to pose a question to Bundy regarding character choice. According to Reynolds, Bundy’s answer exceeded expectations.

“I was hoping she would give me some specific acting advice about making choices with my character, but I learned so much more about myself as an actor than I had anticipated,” Reynolds said. “I found that we work in similar fashions to make a character come to life. She has her routines and exercises that help her play within the character, and she fully lives inside of them.”

After sharing personal advice with the actors and answering questions, Bundy offered to give notes to actors in specific scenes to help actors develop characters on their feet.

Tracy believed Bundy’s notes allowed her to better embody Elle than she had in the weeks leading up to Bundy’s visit.

“I felt especially lucky to have the person who originated this character give me feedback on my interpretation,” Tracy said. “She taught me a lot about comedic timing, the essence of Elle and her point of view.”

Ellie Atlee ‘21, who played Professor Callahan in the show, also valued Bundy’s advice. Atlee plans on a future in the film industry and said Bundy’s visit gave her insight into more than just acting. 

“I’m interested in becoming a film director, so having the opportunity to see how she directs gave me insight into the various takes of the profession,” Atlee said. “She inspired me to commit to everything I do; she’s so energetic and that energy can provide for a lot of drive and dedication.”

Performing Arts Instructor Lizi Watt, who directed the show, said she could feel nerves among students during Bundy’s visit. Many students had been following her moves and listening to her soundtrack to get a sense of their characters, while others had been big fans of the show long before rehearsals began.   

“Everybody has had her voice in their ear all summer: listening to the soundtrack and watching the MTV version of the musical,” Watt said. “I feel like they know her in a certain way, and then to have her in the flesh was very special for them.”

Watt asked Bundy to coach three scenes in which actors had been struggling to balance comedy with sincerity. Overall, Watt found Bundy’s visit to be a success. 

“It was more than just having a famous person come in,” Watt said. “I knew she could say all the right things to get the students into character, and therefore affirm some of the work we have been doing.”

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