Elle Woods had to go from California to New England to get a law degree, but she had to go all the way to England itself to get some theatrical award love.
Legally Blonde – The Musical, the show that opened on Broadway in 2007 with Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy in the lead, netted three big prizes in the Olivier Awards, England’s equivalent of the Tonys. It won for best musical, beating out Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest, Love Never Dies, best actress in a musical for star Sheridan Smith and best supporting actress in a musical for Jill Halfpenny – does that sound like a Bond Girl name or what? – who played Elle’s hairdresser gal pal Paulette.
Of Blonde‘s British reception, Associated Press reporter Jill Lawless wrote, “The story of a California girl who proves her mettle at Harvard Law School – based on the 2001 Reese Witherspoon movie – received lukewarm reviews on Broadway and closed in October 2008 after 595 performances. But London’s often curmudgeonly critics greeted it as a burst of sunshine in the rainy West End when it opened here in January 2010.”
Bundy was nominated for a Tony Award for best actress in a musical for the Broadway production and the show received six other nominations, though not for best musical, and it didn’t win any Tonys. A national tour of the show comes to the Lexington Opera House April 15-17.