After 15 Years, Laura Bell Bundy Is Back On Broadway In A Delightfully 'Horny' Show

In "The Cottage," Bundy and playwright Sandy Rustin deliver a "beautiful feminist message" through sexy and hilarious high jinks.
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In Broadway’s “The Cottage,” Laura Bell Bundy plays a 1920s British woman who — through a series of saucy, sexy and deliberately melodramatic events — comes to realize that happiness can be found on her own and without the companionship of a man.

Much like her character, Bundy is relishing the excitement of kicking off a new chapter. “The Cottage” marks the Tony-nominated actor’s return to Broadway after 15 years and her first time on the New York stage in a straight play rather than a musical.

In 2021, Bundy moved back to the East Coast after a collective 13 years in Nashville and Los Angeles in hopes of making her pursuit of such theatrical stints less taxing on her husband, television producer Thom Hinkle, and their 4-year-old son, Huck.

And when she took her bow alongside “The Cottage” co-stars Lilli Cooper, Eric McCormack, Nehal Joshi, Alex Moffat and Dana Steingold for the first time at the Helen Hayes Theatre in July, she knew she’d made the right decision.

Laura Bell Bundy and Eric McCormack in "The Cottage," now playing on Broadway.
Laura Bell Bundy and Eric McCormack in "The Cottage," now playing on Broadway.
Joan Marcus

“This was a great way for me to see: Can I fit Broadway into my mom life? Does my mom life fit into Broadway? How does this work? It was a little experiment,” Bundy, whose credits include FX’s “Anger Management” as well as the stage adaptations of “Hairspray” and “Legally Blonde,” told HuffPost. “There’s been some adjustments I’ve had to make, and we’ve had to make as a family, but we’ve done it. I think we’ve figured it out.”

Written by Sandy Rustin, “The Cottage” follows Sylvia (played by Bundy), who is in the throes of post-coital bliss after enjoying a once-a-year rendezvous in the English countryside with Beau (McCormack), her married lover and, as it turns out, her brother-in-law.

On a whim, she decides to inform her husband, Clarke (Moffat), and Beau’s wife, Marjorie (Cooper), of their indiscretions. Unfortunately for Sylvia, Clarke and Marjorie have a few secrets of their own, as do Deirdre (Steingold) and Richard (Joshi), who are linked to the foursome in some unexpected ways.

Just how Sylvia works her way out of this conundrum shouldn’t be spoiled, but Bundy loved the “beautiful feminist message” her character’s actions relay.

Watch a clip from “The Cottage” below.

“Women are horny creatures in this, and no one is judging them,” she said. “Many people who will see this play aren’t ready for any messages about feminism and leave thinking, ‘I had so much fun,’ but they’ve learned something about how a woman sees herself in the world. They don’t know they’re eating their vegetables because it’s all chocolate-covered.”

As for Rustin, she knew she’d found a kindred spirit in Bundy — who, in 2020, released “Women of Tomorrow,” an album of songs depicting a fantasy future of the feminist movement — instantly.

The New Jersey-based playwright first wrote “The Cottage” a decade ago, in hopes of “exploring great female characters” in a Noël Coward and Oscar Wilde-style situational comedy she’d planned to star in as an actor. After a number of regional stagings, she began sharpening the play’s pro-feminist message ― and felt even more compelled to do so after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.

“Obviously our world has changed dramatically in the last 10 years,” she said. “After the 2016 election, I took another look, and I thought: ‘Yes, these women existed 100 years ago, but is what they wanted so different from what we want today?’ And I think the answer is no.”

"The Cottage" playwright Sandy Rustin and director Jason Alexander.
"The Cottage" playwright Sandy Rustin and director Jason Alexander.
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

She went on to note: “Much of the work that I’ve done in the past five to eight years has been finding subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, ways to weave in the strength of the female voice throughout this play and steep in the comedy of this era.”

Both Bundy and Rustin credit director and “comedy guru” Jason Alexander with keeping the play grounded in a sense of reality, despite its many farcical elements.

“We both have a love of broad comedy, so we understood each other well,” Bundy said of the “Seinfeld” veteran. “I trusted him, and I felt like I had the freedom to explore, and if I struggled with how to make something funny, he always knew how to solve it.”

Added Rustin: “He’s made a career out of studying comedy. So to have his perspective, and his experience in the rehearsal room was invaluable.”

“Many people who will see this play aren’t ready for any messages about feminism and leave thinking, ‘I had so much fun,’” said Laura Bell Bundy (second from right, with co-stars Lilli Cooper, Eric McCormack and Dana Steingold). “But they’ve learned something about how a woman sees herself in the world.”
“Many people who will see this play aren’t ready for any messages about feminism and leave thinking, ‘I had so much fun,’” said Laura Bell Bundy (second from right, with co-stars Lilli Cooper, Eric McCormack and Dana Steingold). “But they’ve learned something about how a woman sees herself in the world.”
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

At present, “The Cottage” is slated to run on Broadway through Oct. 29. After her final performance in the play, Bundy hopes to seek out “opportunities to do countless more plays and musicals” now that she’s proved both her musical and dramatic chops on stage.

Meanwhile, Rustin remains committed to “taking on new projects that help to advance the voice of women.” Previously, she adapted the board game-turned-cult film “Clue” and the romantic comedy “Mystic Pizza” for the stage, both of which have gone on to enjoy successful runs at a number of regional theaters across the country.

She’s also at work on another feminist farce titled “The Suffragette’s Murder” as well as the romantic comedy “Houston,” which will feature music by Grammy winner Edie Brickell.

Rustin’s ultimate goal as a playwright, she said, is to “make people feel happy in the theater and have a great night,” so she’ll be grateful if she continues to be able to do so with work that offers “wonderful roles for women” and embraces a “strong, female-centric” narrative.

“There’s a desire to sit in the theater, forget the past couple of years and just laugh,” she explained. “This play accomplishes all of those things, and it provides these comedic female actors with a playground in which they can have fun. That, to me, is a driving force in my work.”

Laura Bell Bundy kicks up her heels as Sylvia in the final scene of "The Cottage."
Laura Bell Bundy kicks up her heels as Sylvia in the final scene of "The Cottage."
Joan Marcus

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