Laura Ashley Bell Bundy (born April 10, 1981) is an American actress and singer who has performed in a number of Broadway roles, her best known being the original Amber von a Tussle in Hairspray, the original Elle Woods in the musical version of Legally Blonde and Dr. Jordan Denby on television's Anger Management. She signed to Mercury Records Nashville and released her first country music single, "Giddy On Up," on February 20, 2010. The album's second single, "Drop on By," was released to country radio on August 9, 2010.
Bell Bundy was born in Euclid, Ohio, and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Her mother, Lorna Bundy-Jones, is a Lancome Beauty Advisor at Ulta and her father, Don Bundy, is an electrical engineer. Her parents divorced in 1997 when she was 16 years old; both have since remarried. She grew up dancing at Town and Village School of Dance in Paris, Kentucky. She made her stage debut in regional theatre when she was nine years old. She graduated from Lexington Catholic High School in 1999. She is the niece of Marcia Malone Bell, Miss Kentucky 1978 and 1979 Top Ten Miss America semifinalist. Bell Bundy was diagnosed with celiac diseasewhen she was about 18 years old. In 1995 at the age of 14, Bell Bundy appeared in the film Jumanji. In the film Bundy played the younger version of Bonnie Hunt's character, Sarah Whittle, in the scenes set in the year 1969.
Bell Bundy originated the role of Tina Denmark in the musical Ruthless! The Musical which opened Off-Broadway in 1992. For this part, she was nominated for a 1993 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. In 2002, at the age of 21, she made her Broadway debut in the musical Hairspray, originating the role of Amber Von Tussle. Bell Bundy was next a standby for both Kristin Chenoweth and Jennifer Laura Thompson in the role of Glinda in Wicked. She ended her run as the standby in August 2004.
From 2007 to July 2008, she starred on Broadway in Legally Blonde: The Musical where she originated the lead role of Elle Woods, receiving her first Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.
Credits outside of New York City include the national tour of The Sound of Music, Gypsy with Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey (1998) and the Los Angeles production of Rock of Ages, in which she starred as Sherrie.
Bell Bundy reprised the role of Elle Woods in the U.S. national tour of Legally Blonde: The Musical as a temporary replacement for the injured Becky Gulsvig. She began her brief run on January 13, 2009 and ended on February 22, 2009. She was to play Elle again during the Nashville engagement of the national tour from June 23–28, 2009. However, she fractured her arm during the June 27, 2009 performance, finished the show and was rushed to the hospital immediately after.
On September 27, 2008, she participated in a benefit concert for Anaheim, California's the Chance Theatre with fellow Wicked alum Eden Espinosa and with Spring Awakening alum Lea Michele for the Broadway Chance Style: Up Close and Personal concert.
She is appearing as Trixie Norton in a new musical The Honeymooners, based on the television comedy The Honeymooners. The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Milburn, New Jersey on September 28, 2017. Directed by John Rando the musical also stars Michael McGrath as Ralph Kramden, Michael Mastro as Ed Norton and Leslie Kritzer as Alice Kramden.
Film and television
Bell Bundy has appeared in films including The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), Life with Mikey (1993) and Jumanji (1995) as Young Sarah Whittle. She appeared in the 2006 film adaptation of Dreamgirls as a member of the fictitious pop group "Dave and the Sweethearts."
Bell Bundy was also seen on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light as Marah Lewis for two years (October 14, 1999 – October 29, 2001), as well as in television shows such as Veronica Mars, Happy Hour, Modern Men, Cold Case and Strangers with Candy. She guest-starred in the TV series Cold Case with Adam Pascal and Tracie Thoms in the episode "Willkommen."
She also appears in several short web videos as various comedic characters, such as Justice Goode and Shocantelle Brown.
Bell Bundy was a judge at the Miss America 2009 pageant.
Bell Bundy had a recurring role on the sixth season of CBS' How I Met Your Mother as Becky, Robin's co-anchor. Bell Bundy had a recurring role as Shelby on The CW's Hart of Dixie. Bell Bundy is a spokesperson for Supercuts and appears in their Winter 2012 advertisement campaign. She starred as Dr. Jordan Denby on the FX sitcom Anger Management. In 2015, she starred in Becoming Santa a (Lifetime) TV movie with Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter.
Bell Bundy released her debut country music album titled Longing For a Place Already Gone.
Her first single, "Giddy On Up," debuted on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart at number 60 for the chart week of February 20, 2010 and peaked at number 31 in May. The single was made into a music video, which was directed by Shane Drake. She also performed the song on the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards, where it was done in the style of the music video. The next single, "Drop On By," was less successful than her debut, only peaking at number 48. Her single "Giddy On Up" is also featured on popular dancing video game Just Dance 3.
After leaving Legally Blonde: The Musical on July 20, 2008, she moved back to Nashville to work on her second album, Achin' and Shakin. Her second album, Achin' and Shakin, was released on April 13, 2010. It debuted at number 5 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart as well as number 28 on the all-genre Billboard 200. As of June 26, 2010, the album has sold over 70,000 copies in the United States. It also charted internationally, where it reached number 34 on the Norwegian Albums Chart. Bell Bundy also appeared in fellow country artist Miranda Lambert's music video for "Only Prettier," as one of Lambert's friends alongside Kellie Pickler and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. Bell Bundy began as the spokesperson for the Selected Chevrolet Dealers of Middle Tennessee in September 2011. Bell Bundy released a new single, "That's What Angels Do," as the lead-off to her second studio album, Another Piece of Me, in 2012. A music video for the single was filmed and released on CMT.com, however not long after the video was taken down and the single failed to chart.
In mid-2013, Bell Bundy signed with Big Machine Records and released the single "Two Step", a duet with Colt Ford. It peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. After many delays, Another Piece of Mewas issued on June 9, 2015 as a digital-only release via Big Machine. No further singles were released from the album and Bell Bundy parted ways with Big Machine shortly after its release.