Laura Bell Bundy doesn't have to act like she's having a good time when she performs on stage or screen.
The smile is real, and the Lexington native, who is known for her music and her roles on Broadway, television and film, is having fun proving that work and play can go together.
"If you're going to do something, you might as well have a good time," said Laura who just released her new album, Another Piece of Me, on June 9.
"I am really fortunate and blessed to play for a living. I decided to make my life and career a big sandbox, and everything I do is in that creative sandbox. Whether it's dance, plays, music or creating, I guess you could call me a professional player."
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Bundy's career started when many other children her age still were playing in literal sandboxes; her big break came at age 9 when she was cast in the Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular.
"I was doing eight shows a week when I was 10 years old," Laura said. "As a young child, I had to be professional. I had responsibilities that other kids my age didn't have. And I think that has a lot to do with my appreciation for play.
"After I turned 20 years old, I started to work backward, embracing my childishness."
But her penchant for play doesn't mean that she hasn't worked hard. Since her early start in the business, Laura has originated roles including Tina Denmark in Ruthless The Musical, Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray, and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical, and she took a turn as Glinda in the smash hit Wicked.
Her performances have earned numerous nominations, including a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
Bundy also has appeared on several network television shows including Anger Management, Hart of Dixie, How I Met Your Mother, Cold Case, Veronica Mars and others, as well as in films such as Dream Girls and Jumanji.
In addition to acting, Laura has a passion for dance and music, which includes writing and performing her own country music.
As the name suggests, Another Piece of Me gives fans a look at the many sides of her personality.
"Every song on the album was a deliberate choice to show a different aspect of who I am," Laura said.
There are playful songs, including the upbeat Two Step with Colt Ford, Making Me Feel and Let's Pretend We're Married.
"I am playful, but I also can be very self-reflective and serious," Laura said.
In fact, her favorite song on the album, China and Wine, reflects on her parents' divorce and how that shaped her life.
"China and Wine is the most personal and heartfelt song on the album," Laura said. "I bare my heart and soul a little more in that song."
Whether she's dancing the two-step or penning a ballad, Laura believes that stretching herself and trying new things is key to continuing to have fun at work.
In addition to performing, she's evolved as a creator/producer with LBBTV, a collection of her original comedy sketch projects, including the popular Cooter County series that has more than 4 million upload views. Her current creative endeavor now in production is another sketch project called Skits-O-Frenic.
"I don't believe an artist has ever ‘arrived,'" Laura said. "You have to make a conscious decision to learn and grow. I'm on a journey."