The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Bundy will play Shelby, billed as a potential love interest for leading man Scott Porter, who plays George Tucker.
Hart of Dixie, which is entering its second season, focuses on The OC veteran Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart, an aspiring surgeon whose career gets rerouted to a small practice in Bluebell, Ala. — a fictional town, though it does have a website. According to HuffPost TV — sorry, I have not followed the series — last season ended with George coming to profess his love for Zoe, so Bundy’s Shelby seems to be setting up a triangle here.
Bundy, best known for originating the roles of Amber von Tussle in Hairspray — The Musical and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde — The Musical on Broadway, is no stranger to TV, having played guest roles on series from Home Improvement to How I Met Your Mother. She has also been pursuing a country music career and is set to release her second album on Mercury Nashville soon.
Bundy’s first appearance on on Hart will reportedly be on the season’s third episode, Oct. 16.
Country stars Montgomery Gentry and Laura Bell Bundy may spend a lot of their time in Nashville these days, but they are coming home next week to help victims of the tornadoes that swept through Eastern Kentucky March 2.
The Central Kentucky artists are teaming for the Kentucky Cares concert at 8 p.m. March 9 at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday (May 1) for the show. All proceeds will go to the Kentucky Red Cross, which is heading up relief efforts in Kentucky communities such as West Liberty that were devastated by the storms.
Danville native Eddie Montgomery and Nicholasville’s Troy Gentry are well into their second hitmaking decade. Their latest album, Rebels on the Run, features the single Where I Come From.
Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy became a Tony Award nominee for her performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde – The Musical, before she turned her attention to country music. Her next album, Another Piece of Me, is expected later this year.
Kentucky Conservatory Theatre/SummerFest and the University of Kentucky Theatre both announced lineups for next season, today. For KCT/SummerFest it is the first time announcing a year-long lineup. The SummerFest lineup also boasts the first local production of Legally Blonde – The Musical, the show that catapulted Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy to a Tony Award nomination when she originated the role of Elle Woods in 2007.
Neither announcement came with dates, but you will notice one show is on both of them.
University of Kentucky Theatre
- Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton
- On the Verge (or the Geography of Yearning) by Eric Overmyer
- Winter Dance Concert
- Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman
- Spring Awakening – A New Musical, music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater
Kentucky Conservatory Theatre/SummerFest
- 24 Hour Theatre Project – An event in which theater artists will create a 10-minute play in 24 hours.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
- A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
- Legally Blonde – The Musical, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and book by Heather Hach
- The Girl Project – Original works created by conservatory students and mentors.
- Spring Awakening – A New Musical, music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater
Mar14Filed under: Laura Bell Bundy, Lexington Opera House, Musicals, New York, Theater; Tagged as: Andrew Lloyd Webber, best musical, Elle Woods, Jill Halfpenny, Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde -- The Musical, Lexington Opera House, Love Never Dies, Olivier Awards, Reese Witherspoon, Sheridan Smith, Tony Award
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.
Dec27Filed under: Actors Guild of Lexington, Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Arts administration, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Central Kentucky Arts News, Christmas music, Classical Music, Country music, Downtown Arts Center, Film, Horsemania, Kentucky Theatre, Laura Bell Bundy, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Opera House, Lexington Philharmonic, Lexington Singers, Music, Musicals, Norton Center for the Arts, Opera, Secretariat, Singletary Center for the Arts, UBS Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, UK, Visual arts; Tagged as: Actors Guild of Lexington, Allison Kaiser, Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Alltech Fortnight Festival, Balagula Theatre, Blake Shelton, Debra Hoskins, Eric Seale, Gustavo Dudamel, Haiti, Institute 193, John Lithgow, La Bohème, Laura Bell Bundy, Lexington Art League, Lexington Chamber Chorale, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Lexington Singers, Marvin Hamlisch, Ouanamithe, Phillip March Jones, ProjectSEE Theartre, Rolling Stones, Scott Terrell, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Spotlight Lexington Festival, Stephanie Pevec, Steven A. Hoffman, The Chieftains, Thoroughbred Community Theatre, Tony Bennett, Trombone Shorty, U2, UK Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Lexington’s 2010 year in arts could not have been weirder if you took the city and plopped it in the middle of Florida. Between some major changes at area arts institutions and the unprecedented wave of local and national arts activity prompted by the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, it was a year unlike any we have had or will probably see again.
■ While we did not get U2 or the Rolling Stones as WEG organizers had originally hoped, the games did fill up theaters, and in many cases, theater seats during the two weeks and three weekends of the games. Topping the bill was the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the Norton Center for the Arts. It was a booking that was deemed impossible by New York agents and drew national attention, all made possible by the persistence of for Norton Center assistant managing director Debra Hoskins who smoothed the road with bourbon and chocolate.
The event itself was an unforgettable evening for the audience and a great experience for area musicians and others who got to interact with one of the world’s great orchestras and shining stars.
Other great performances brought in by the Games were an evening with Marvin Hamlisch and the UK Symphony Orchestra, which had a great fortnight playing for the opening ceremonies and a production of La Boheme as well; Blake Shelton, Trombone Shorty and Laura Bell Bundy at the Spotlight Lexington Festival downtown and performances by Tony Bennett, John Lithgow and the Chieftains.
There is talk of extending both the Spotlight and Alltech Fortnight festivals, which presented the bulk of the entertainment, into the future. But we probably won’t see this level of activity again unless the games come back.
The Games also brought a number of high profile art exhibits to the area including a retrospective of the horse in American art at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky and the Gift from the Desert look at Arabian horses at the International Museum of the Horse.
■ Scott Terrell was hired as the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra’s new music director in 2009, but this is the year we really started to see his vision for the orchestra unfold, and its reverberations in the community. Unveiling the orchestra’s 2010-11 season, he showed he was willing to break traditions and initiate new collaborations. He presented Messiah is a smaller format than years past and brought groups including local school and college choirs into the Philharmonic fold for performances that broke the orchestral concert mold. He also instituted a new style of concert preview with the Kicked Back Classics event at the Downtown Arts Center in November.
The moves have not come without some friction, which change often produces. There was unhappiness over the Lexington Singers not being part of the Messiah this year, as Terrell wanted to go with a smaller chorus and the Singers did not want to downsize. Enter the Lexington Chamber Chorale as a new collaborator and the Singers presenting their own Messiah in a holiday arts season whose calendar was largely rewritten this year. Precipitated by the changes, the Singers are asserting themselves more as an entity in their own right, un-tethered to the Philharmonic calendar.
How all of this will settle remains to be seen. But it is clear this will be a new Philharmonic under Terrell’s baton.
The orchestra also got a new executive director as Allison Kaiser came over from the same post at the Lexington Art League and Stephanie Pevec took over that post.
■ This was the year without Actors Guild of Lexington. Long regarded as Lexington’s flagship theater for adult audiences, financial troubles and management departures in 2009 all but shuttered the company this year except for one production, a concert version of The Who’s Tommy at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom and the new Moondance at Midnight Pass amphitheater. That said, theater thrived in the area with first rate productions by the Lexington Children’s Theatre and area college and community groups and emergence of some new organizations such as ProjectSEE Theartre and productions out of the Thoroughbred Community Theatre in Midway. And there were successes such as Balagula Theatre’s strong showing in the Southeastern Theatre Conference Convention here in Lexington. Actors Guild has announced a lineup of shows for 2011 under the guidance of new artistic director Eric Seale, but the group will be joining an active theater scene.
Some other big stories of the year that is now almost done were:
■ Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts tapped Steven A. Hoffman as its new director, following the departure of longtime director George Foreman to the University of Georgia. With this month’s departure of assistant managing director Debra Hoskins, there has been a complete turnover in management at the Norton Center. This will be a story to watch in 2011.
■ Alltech launched a project sending University of Kentucky voice students to Ouanamithe, Haiti, to launch a music program and form a children’s choir. The choir came to Central Kentucky and made several appearances during the World Equestrian Games.
■ The Southeastern Theatre Conference, the nation’s largest regional theater convention, came to Lexington for the first time in more than 20 years, and by all accounts, it went wonderfully.
■ Secretariat brought some Hollywood glamour back to the Bluegrass, including a gala premier at the Kentucky Theatre attended by star Diane Lane and many others.
■ Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy launched a country music career with her Mercury Nashville debut Achin’ and Shakin’.
■ Horse Mania returned to the streets of Lexington, 10 years after the original edition in 2000.
■ Michael Tick was named the new dean of the University of Kentucky’s College of Fine Arts.
■ The Pioneer Playhouse in Danville suffered massive flooding during rainstorms in early May, but recovered and went on to a successful season thanks to an army of volunteers.
■ Phillip March Jones’ Institute 193 emerged as a major force in creating and presenting visual arts in Central Kentucky.
■ Among world premiers in Lexington this year were Aleks Merilo’s Blur in the Rear View and Bringing It Home: Voices of Student Veterans, by UK Theatre, Beth Kander’s See Jane Quit by Bluegrass Community and Technical College Theatre, Roger Zare’s Geometries by the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, Frank X Walker’s I Dedicate This Ride at Lexington Children’s Theatre, and the regional premier of Brian Hampton’s The Jungle Fun Room by Studio Players.
According to preview reports, Laura Bell Bundy’s character of Becky will make her second appearance on How I Met Your Mother tonight and play a prominent role in the episode. Bundy plays the new co-anchor for Robin (Cobie Smulders) on the early morning show, Come On, Get Up New York! According to a CBS release, she will be a big focus of tonight’s episode at 8 p.m. as, “Robin is growing more and more irritated by her perky new co-anchor.”
The role is a recurring part for Bundy, a Lexington native, who was also nominated for an American Country Award in the music video: breakthrough artist category for her Giddy On Up clip. This is a new country music awards show that will air Dec. 6 on Fox. It is a fan voted competition, so you can make your voice heard by clicking here.
Oct10Filed under: Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, ballet, Country music, dance, Music; Tagged as: Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Blake Shelton, J.D. Crowe, Jim Newberry, Juggernaut Jug Band, Laura Bell Bundy, Lula Washington Dance Ensemble, Sam Bush, Spotlight Lexington Festival, Trombone Shorty
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games weren’t even over when Mayor Jim Newberry’s office said a committee will be formed to explore making the Spotlight Lexington Festival or something like it an annual fixture on Lexington’s events calendar.
When it was announced more than a year ago, Spotlight seemed like a somewhat shaky proposition. It appeared to lean too heavily on who stepped forward and said they wanted to perform and not enough on producers selecting people for the stage. The national artist component of the event had not come into focus either. But as the Games drew closer, it looked more and more poised for success: some top shelf national talent anchoring a number of nights at the Courthouse plaza stage with satellite parties at Cheapside and Triangle Park, all for free.
And people responded, overflowing the plaza for Blake Shelton’s opening-night show on Sept. 24, despite a torrential downpour that arrived the same time Spotlight did. Though official numbers are not in – Mayor’s office spokesperson Susan Straub told the Herald-Leader’s Andy Mean 125,000 were estimated to have attended the first 14 days of Spotlight – the event seemed to follow a basic producing logic: If you book big-name talent like a Shelton or Trombone Shorty or Laura Bell Bundy or J.D. Crowe, people will come out for it, particularly for free.
There were other nights that were not as great. I went down the first Tuesday night when the Juggernaut Jug Band out of Louisville was playing, and there were a hundred or so folks on the plaza, maybe just as many down at Cheapside listening to a blues act. You could regard it as disappointing, but then again, with all due respect to the Juggernaut Jug Band (which I enjoyed), would you expect them to draw thousands out on a school night? Other nights, I was told there were more people on stage than were in the plaza – again, probably a function of name recognition, getting the word out in a tsunami of activity and school nights.
With 17 days on its schedule, Spotlight had a lot of stage time to fill, which is one of the ways it looks like a good idea that could be improved upon. Here are a few things to look at:
Focus: Of course a legacy Spotlight would not be as long as the World Equestrian Games. Bring it down to a handful of nights over one or two weekends, fill each evening with a quality headliner maybe supported by Juggernaut Jug Band-level groups, and you have something more consistent. Read the rest of this entry »
Oct3Filed under: Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, dance, Music, Musicals, New York, Theater; Tagged as: A Chorus Line, Avenue Q, Broadway Bound, Fred Ebb, How I Met Your Mother, J.C. Montgomery, Jason Heymann, Jeromy Smith, John Kander, Kentucky Classical Theatre Conservatory, Laura Bell Bundy, Law & Order, Lyndy Franklin Smith, Paragon Music Theatre, School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Smokey Joe's Café, SummerFest, The Color Purple, The Little Mermaid, The Scottsboro Boys, Thou Shalt Not
Monday night’s Spotlight Lexington performance on the Courthouse Plaza stage is designed to show off local triple threats — artists who can sing, dance and act — and who have made it to Broadway and some who hope to.
It’s a show that will feature several homegrown talents, including J.C. Montgomery and Jason Heymann, plus Lyndy Franklin Smith, who grew up in Lexington, went to Broadway and has now moved back with her husband, Jeromy Smith, who also is in the show.
They will be joined by members of Paragon Music Theatre, SummerFest, Kentucky Classical Theatre Conservatory’s Broadway Bound program, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and ACE.
“I’m going home and saying, ‘Look, I come from here, I’ve been lucky, I’ve been fortunate, I’ve met some great people, and it’s moved my career along,” says Montgomery, a Lebanon native and Georgetown College graduate. He is squeezing travel to Monday’s performance in between rehearsals for the upcoming Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys. “I’m humbled to be home and be able to perform for you guys. It’s an honor. I just wish I could come home more.”
This had to be a heckuva way to come home.
Playing on a huge stage in center of downtown Lexington, Laura Bell Bundy could see signatures of the Lexington skyline, including the distinctive blue squiggle atop the Fifth-Third Bank building; the bustle of activity at Limestone Street establishments like Sidebar and a huge crowd stretched out before her.
The Lexington native has played her hometown a couple times since her major label country debut was released in April. But the Spotlight Lexington Festival, held in conjunction with the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, was her biggest stage so far. She made the most of it with a 90-minute set that added some dimensions to our perception of Bundy, who we know best as a Broadway baby.
She got to that business right away, opening her show with I’m No Good (For Ya Baby) and Boyfriend , two “shakin’” tunes from her “bipolar” – as she described it – album Achin’ and Shakin’.
While I’m No Good featured a disturbing amount of choreography, both songs put Bundy in a more bluesy, soulful mood that people who’ve heard her radio singles or followed her Broadway career never knew existed.
Indeed, while Bundy has entered the country market, you could have called this concert “Laura Bell Bundy in a Soulful Mood” for all the covers she trotted out from Marvin Gaye (Let’s Get it On), Aretha Franklin (Respect and Think) and Tina Turner (Proud Mary – yes, it’s a CCR song, but in her black fringe dress, Bundy was definitely doing Tina’s version). Playing a headlining gig with one album under her belt, Bundy had to pad the set with covers, but it was a crowd-pleasing selection, including tastes of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, the Bob McDill classic Song of the South and Shania Twain’s Any Man of Mine.
They all worked, but the biggest testament to Bundy’s album is how well selections from it held up next to those classics. Please was the highlight of the set, marrying Bundy’s ability to stretch a phrase with her theatrical flair, dropping to her knees in the finale. And Everybody was an exuberant anthem that easily could have ended the show if Bundy hadn’t wanted to channel Tina and present a three-song encore including opener Andy Davis singing yet another soul classic, Stevie Wonder’s Signed Sealed Delivered.
Aug6Filed under: Country music, Laura Bell Bundy, Music, Musicals, Television; Tagged as: Achin' and Shakin', Addyson Bell, Cobie Smulders, How I Met Your Mother, Josh Radnor, Kathy Griffin, Laura Bell Bundy, Leagally Blonde - The Musical, My Life on the D-List, Neil Patrick Harris, Paragon Music Theatre, The Sound of Music
Laura Bell Bundy has landed a recurring role on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. According to TV Guide and BroadwayWorld.com, Bundy will be playing the co-host of Metro News One with Robin (Cobie Smulders) and will go on a date with Ted (Josh Radnor), putting her in contention to be the title mother. (SPOILER ALERT: Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello has already shot down that idea, though he describes LBB’s role as “pivotal.”)
Bundy is primarily out promoting her major label debut country album, Achin’ and Shakin’, though she’s also popped up on TV shows such as the season finale of Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List and Broadway continues to call for the Tony Award-nominated star of Leagally Blonde – The Musical.
Last weekend, Bundy was in Lexington seeing her cousin, Addyson Bell, play Brigitta in Paragon Music Theatre’s production of The Sound of Music. She will be back in town this fall for a concert Oct. 1 and as part of a Broadway showcase Oct. 4 in the Spotlight Lexington Festival during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich