Monday, June 11, 2018

2018 Interview with Actress Laura Bell Bundy

Actress Laura Bell Bundy is about to reopen Reprise. She will be playing the role of Charity in Sweet Charity, set to open at the Freud Playhouse, UCLA on June 20. In our chat, Bundy talks about the joy that Charity exudes, the reason she cannot wait to play her.

Laura, how exciting to be playing Charity and …being a part of the first show to open the new Reprise! What do you love most about the character of Charity?

I love her childlike quality.  Children are open, excitable, playful, optimistic, hopeful, delicate, resilient … they haven’t become jaded by life’s trials yet… and despite the trials Charity goes through, she still keeps going back for more with her head up, and her heart open.  

 I can follow that. Are you like her in any way?

 I am very much a child.  Just ask my husband.  …  But yes, in life, I choose to focus on the flowers that come out of the dirt… 

What are your greatest challenges as an actress to play her?

I am a perfectionist and I like my work to be nuanced.  So I think my biggest challenge will be learning the entire show and everything about her in under 2 weeks!  AH! That’s a very quick process, and when I do a role, I find I learn something new every day, every performance… Like, I’ll be sitting in the bathtub six months into a run and get a new idea of how to make a scene better, or a joke funnier…  My moments of inspiration are gonna need a prescription for adoral.

Tell us about your director and fellow cast.

Well, rehearsal hasn’t officially started yet so I cannot tell you much from experience…  But I am so looking forward to working with the brilliant Kathleen Marshall.  

Barrett (Foa) and I have been friends for years, but never gotten to work together… He’s such a thoughtful and inventive actor.  He’s going to be an incredible Oscar.  And I know that, because we cheated and already started rehearsing together on our own… : )

Why do you think audiences love Sweet Charity? What is its best facet as a musical show?

Charity falls in love like it’s the first time every time. I think most people can relate to the idea of wanting to be loved. It’s also a show about resilience… How many times do we get knocked down in our lives, and we have to pull ourselves back up again and stay looking forward?  I’d say a few times a day… we either have the choice to wallow, complain or move forward.  It’s a story about the human spirit.

Also, there are so many iconic songs in this show— “Hey Big Spender”,  “Rich Man’s Frug”, “If They Could See Me Now”….  They are imbedded in our cultural consciousness … then you come to see this show and you are reminded of what an impact it had!

What is your favorite role, one that you have played? Why this choice?

In musical theater?  “Elle” (Legally Blonde) has had my heart up to this point… but Charity take's Elle’s “under dog” to a whole new level… a grittier one.  She’s a human in a cycle that’s not working for her.  One she’s desperate to get out of and yet keeps walking into.  Isn’t that all of us?  Just naively repeating cycles until we become self aware enough to make a change?  On a very base human level, I feel quite connected to Charity… and emotionally ready to take her on.

What is your favorite musical of all time? Why this choice?

When I was 11, the all drag off-broadway show “Pageant” was my favorite, and then at 12, it was the Jack O’Brien "Damn Yankees" Revival.
But, I think “Gypsy" is the Mother of all musicals.   And, that musical is all about my mother...

What's up next for you?

 I am currently writing a show for Netflix.

Anything we left out that you wish to add? Mention something about the reopening of Reprise.

We are so lucky to have Reprise in LA— a series of classic musicals re-conceived by award winning directors and starring seasoned theater, tv and film stars.  I am so glad they have reprised Reprise and I’m honored to be asked to kick it off!

(left to right: Barrett Foa, Laura Bell Bundy and Jon Jon Briones rehearsing for Sweet Charity)(photo credit: Tom Drucker)

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 UCLA’s Freud Playhouse 
Macgowan Hall245 Charles E Young Dr E , Los Angeles
Sweet Charity plays Wednesday, June 20 to Sunday, July 1.
Plays Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday evenings at 8 pm,
Saturdays at 2pm and 8 pm; Sundays at 2pm and 7 pm
To purchase tix, go to:
or phone: 800-982-2787
Group Sales 310-281-1800

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