Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy returned home Sunday to take part in the Lexington Theatre Company’s annual Concert with the Stars and help the troupe announce it will present her signature show, “Legally Blonde — The Musical” this summer.
Bundy created the role of Elle Woods in the 2007 Broadway production of the show and received a Tony Award nomination for best actress in a musical for her performance. The Lexington Theatre Company’s production will be July 20 to 23 at the Lexington Opera House, and artistic director Lyndy Franklin Smith announced that, schedule permitting, Bundy will co-direct the show.
For the announcement, Bundy participated in a medley of songs from the musical, including the Act I finale “So Much Better.” The number also featured her “Legally Blonde” co-star, Leslie Kritzer, who originated the role of Serena in the show and was one of the stars the concert’s title referred too.
The concert was a fund-raiser and curtain-raiser for the three-year-old professional theater company run by Smith and her husband, producing director Jeromy Smith. They are both Broadway veterans, and several of the visiting performers had worked with them in the past. The four Broadway stars on the show were supported by a quintet of regional college musical theater students.
That gave University of Kentucky sophomore vocal performance major Audrey Belle Adams a chance to sing with Kritzer on a pair of Judy Garland numbers (“Happy Days are Here Again” and “Get Happy”) and distinguish herself with a performance of Barbra Streisand’s “A Piece of Sky.”
The most electrifying pairing of the afternoon was Krysta Rodriguez, the original Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family” musical, with Springfield native and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music senior Tyler Jent for the “Addams” duet “Crazier Than You.”
Jent was joined by fellow Cincinnati students Kimberly Pine and Brianna LaTrash and University of Michigan freshman and Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts alum Aaron Robinson in the student group.
They all joined “Jersey Boys” and “An American in Paris” star Matthew Scott for the Act I finale “First You Dream,” from the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical “Steel Pier.” Pine and LaTrash joined Bundy for “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” from the musical “Gypsy,” a key show in Bundy’s career when she played Dainty June at New Jersey’s Papermill Playhouse.
All of the Broadway performers reflected on their careers during their sets, Kritzer recalling going “for a Coke” with legendary actress Liza Minnelli and getting performance notes from her. Rodriguez talked about the experience of having songs written for her in “The Addams Family” and Scott reflected on several Broadway legends he knew and sang in an old-fashioned tenor that suggested he could be the perfect conduit to take some of Broadway’s past to the future.
Bundy sang favorites from several women that influenced her, including Carol Channing, Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney’s “Manhattan,” after talking about their shared Kentucky roots as the late singer’s brother, Nick Clooney, sat in the audience.
Coming this summer
“Legally Blonde — The Musical”
The Lexington Theatre Company’s production of the Broadway hit will be July 20-23 at the Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St. Tickets will go on sale in the spring. Visit Lexingtontheatrecompany.org for more information.