On April 29, Legally Blonde The Musical commemorates 11 years since officially opening on Broadway at the Palace Theatre.
The musical, based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the iconic 2001 movie, tells the story of sorority sister Elle Woods, who decides to attend Harvard Law School in a plot to win her ex-boyfriend Warner back. Along the way, Elle learns the power of the law and becomes an impassioned and successful attorney, defending fellow Delta Nue and exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Though many judge a book by its cover, Elle subvers expectations while remaining true to herself.
Legally Blonde made its world premiere in San Francisco, moving to Broadway April 3, 2007, for previews and officially opening April 29, 2007. Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, the original cast included Laura Bell Bundy as Elle, Christian Borle as Emmett, and Richard H. Blake as Warner. Written by Heather Hach with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, the production earned seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, and ten Drama Desk Award nominations.
A filmed version of the musical aired on MTV in October 2007, and a reality series Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods debuted the next summer, as the production sought out a leading lady to replace Bundy upon her exit.
Here’s a look at the achievements and work of the original cast since Legally Blonde closed:
Laura Bell Bundy, Elle Woods
Since Bundy’s days onstage as Elle Woods, the actor has kept busy. She has co-starred The CW’s Hart of Dixie—where she also brought her singing chops as the town’s local cabaret aficionado—guest starred on How I Met Your Mother, and had a series regular role on Anger Management. She has also released five albums. Bundy has expanded her legacy with Legally Blonde as of late, directing productions of the musical at regional houses including the Lexington Theatre Company in Kentucky. Earlier this season, she produced a beneft concert called Double Standards at New York’s Town Hall to promote women’s rights, health, and empowerment. Next up, she’ll play Charity Hope Valentine in an upcoming Los Angeles production of Sweet Charity.
Christian Borle, Emmett Forrest
Since he originated the role of Emmett, Borle’s star has continued to rise and he is now a two-time Tony Award winner. He starred as Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher, for which he won his first Tony, followed by Shakespeare in the musical comedy Something Rotten!, which earned him a second Tony. Last season, he originated two separate roles: Marvin in the revival of Falsettos and Willy Wonka in the stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, earning another Tony nomination for the former. Borle has also been busy on screen, playing Tom in NBC’s Smash, Uncle Max in The Sound of Music Live!, George Darling/Smee in Peter Pan Live!, as well as a musical guest appearance in the Netflix reboot of Gilmore Girls alongside Sutton Foster. Up next, Borle will star in Encores! production of Me and My Girl and will guest star on Season 5 of TVLand’s Younger, again alongside Foster.
Richard H. Blake, Warner Huntington III
Currently starring in A Bronx Tale The Musical as Lorenzo, Blake has continued to prosper in theatre since leaving the halls of Harvard Law. He played the roles of Sergei and the Escapologist in Matilda The Musical before developing A Bronx Tale during its pre-Broadway tryout at Paper Mill. He has also appeared in the films Life of an Actress: The Musical and Ascent to Hell and has appeared on television in episodes of Elementary and Kevin Can Wait.
As the manicurist who dreamt of Ireland, Orfeh returned to Broadway with a bang, having made her debut in the original production of Footloose. Though she's kept busy with concert engagements and with some film work (including Life of an Actress: The Musical), Orfeh just wrapped the pre-Broadway tryout of Pretty Woman The Musical, helmed by director Jerry Mitchell, set to premiere on Broadway this summer.
Andy Karl, UPS Kyle and others
After exiting Legally Blonde, Karl immediately followed it up by starring opposite Allison Janney in the musical adaptation of 9 to 5 on Broadway. He then played Neville Landless/Mr. Victor Grinstead in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which also starred Chita Rivera. He worked Off-Broadway in The Last Seder in 2012 before moving on to play Rocky Balboa in Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Rocky, for which he earned a Tony nomination. He then returned to Roundabout in One The Twentieth Century opposite Kristin Chenoweth as Bruce Granit, yet another comedic role, and earned a second Tony nomination. But it was his work in the musical adaptation of Groundhog Day that earned Karl award gold: He won the Olivier for his work as Phil Connors and a 2017 Tony nominations for his performance when the show transferred to Broadway.
Michael Rupert, Professor Callahan
Rupert has been flying under the radar since departing Legally Blonde. He performed in the Off-Broadway play 7th Monarch in 2012 and played Judge Pitkin in the 2014 Broadway revival of On The Town. But he did turn out to support fellow Legally Blonde alum Borle when Falsettos was revived in 2016. Rupert originated the role of Marvin on Broadway in 1992.
Nikki Snelson, Brooke Wyndam
Though we haven’t seen much of the jump-roping queen since Legally Blonde. Snelson does star in the upcoming small screen series Ms. Guidance alongside other theatre names, including Tyler Hanes (Cats) and Amber Gray (The Great Comet).
Kate Shindle, Vivian Kensington
Ladies and gentleman, your Actors’ Equity Association President! After hanging up her gavel, Shindle starred as the Mad Hatter in Broadway’s short-lived Wonderland. She then tried her hand at producing, working on A Christmas Story. Most recently, Shindle was onstage in the national tour of Fun Home as Alison and continues to serve the community as the president of the union of actors and stage managers.
Leslie Kritzer, Serena
The inventor of The Bend and Snap, Kritzer left Legally Blonde for a role in 2008’s A Catered Affair on Broadway. She then took to the smaller stage in Rooms: A Rock Romance Off-Broadway in 2009, before returning to the Main Stem as a performer in Sondheim on Sondheim in 2010. Kritzer followed that up with a slew of Off-Broadway work, including NEWSical the Musical, Closer Than Ever at the York, The Memory Show, Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story, Gigantic at the Vineyard, and The Robber Bridegroom at Roundabout. In between, she replaced as Bea in the company of Broadway’s Something Rotten!.
Annaleigh Ashford, Margot
Audiences first encountered the comedic genius of Ashford as the dim-witted Margot, but now she is an icon of Broadway. She replaced as Jeanie in the most recent Broadway revival of Hair before taking on the role of Maureen in the Off-Broadway revival of Rent at New World Stages in 2011. She was featured in Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s Dogfight and originated the role of Lauren in Kinky Boots on Broadway, for which she earned a Tony nomination. But it was her featured role as Essie Carmichael in the revival of You Can’t Take It With You that earned Ashford her Tony Award. After that, she starred alongside Matthew Broderick in Sylvia and was last seen last season as Dot/Marie in the limited engagement revival of Sunday in the Park With George and spent her summer in the Park playing Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She’s also been busy on television and in film, with roles on Nurse Jackie and as a series regular on Masters of Sex. In 2016, she played Columbia on Fox’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’ Do the Time Warp Again!.
DeQuina Moore, Pilar
Following Legally Blonde, Moore went on the road with the national tour of Flashdance: The Musical as Kiki and then as Nicki in the 2016 national tour of The Bodyguard. She’s also appeared in films such as Madea’s Big Happy Family and Joyful Noise.