Laura Bell Bundy's playing bubbly blonde Elle Woods in Broadway's Legally Blonde right now, but she's even more bubbly in real life, as she demonstrated at Birdland last night. See, Laura Bell (as she's known south of Manhattan) is also a country singer. Wearing platinum extensions, cowboy boots, and a tighter-than-tight dress, she pranced near a small fan (the better to blow up her skirt) and tore through a set of songs from her new album, Longing for a Place Already Gone — and nearly her bodice. We spoke to her after the show.
You've been living in New York for a while, but you grew up in Kentucky. What's been the biggest difference?
Well, I lived here from the time I was 9 till I was 14. We walked everywhere, it wasn't as clean, and there were homeless people talking to us. As an adult, people come to New York to be somebody, with a sense of, like, aggression and fight. It's more laid-back back home.
What's still the most country thing about you?
Maybe the way I cook! [Laughs.] Like hodgepodge, use everything in your refrigerator, see what you can make out of it. Everything has a sauce; everything's oversautéed. I really don't know what friends think of my cooking — they probably all lie to me! But come on … mashed potatoes and overcooked green beans with bacon bits, what's better than that?
Anything besides your cooking?
The way I speak, the way I carry myself. Sort of like sweet southern charm, but also, "don't mess with me." You don't dick with a Kentucky chick.
Do you do anything in New York to remind yourself of home?
I like to go to Delta Grill. Restaurants like Hogs & Heifers definitely give me that same vibe! And being outside, going to Woodstock upstate or Connecticut. I ran a lot growing up, at the horse park and through fields and things. I'd have keg parties in the middle of fields. Keepin' it classy!