Foster will share voice with Hawaii
BY STEVEN MARK / email@example.com
If there ever was a triple threat on Broadway, Sutton Foster is it. Her acting, singing and dancing have brought her Tony Awards for the title role in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2002 and as Reno Sweeney in “Anything Goes” in 2011.
AN EVENING WITH SUTTON FOSTER
Where: Orvis Auditorium, UH-Manoa Music Department, 2411 Dole St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Info: etickethawaii.com or 944-2697
She will be appearing in Hawaii for the first time for an evening of song — and maybe some dance — at Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus.
Foster received Tony nominations for originating roles in “Little Women the Musical,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Shrek the Musical,” and a slew of other awards and nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desk.
She’s following that up with a starring role as a former ballerina/showgirl-turned-ballet teacher in the ABC Family drama “Bunheads,” receiving praise for a “Carol Burnett-ish clowning flair that works beautifully on camera” from Vanity Fair.
Her life suggests someone destined for the stage. Born in Georgia and raised in Michigan, Foster earned her first role when, as a 10-year-old singing in public for the first time, she auditioned for a community theater production of “Annie” and silenced the room.
“I just had this natural singing voice that I had no clue what to do with,” she later told The New York Times.
She toured with “The Will Rogers Follies” while in high school and left college after a year to seek a Broadway career. After smaller roles in several major productions, she was pulled out of the chorus to replace the lead actress for “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” The rest is Broadway history.
For her UH performance, Foster will be joined by Michael Rafter, a top Broadway pianist and musical director who has worked with Sutton on a number of shows, including “Millie.”
Busy on the set of “Bunheads,” she took a few moments to answer questions via email.
Star-Advertiser: How has the transition worked from stage to TV acting?
Sutton Foster: I had been living in New York and doing theater for the past 20 years, so it’s been really nice to have such a change of pace working in television. The transition in many ways has been easy because of the project and getting to work with Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator of “Gilmore Girls”), who is extraordinary and makes me feel very safe.
Q: You also recently did a CD, “Wish,” but surprisingly they’re not all Broadway show tunes. Did you find yourself going into a “Broadway” mode in figuring out your selections and interpretations, i.e., envisioning yourself in a stage scene?
A: When we did the album, we really wanted to select songs that felt true to us at that time. My music director, Michael Rafter, and I spent hours and hours selecting material. We chose songs that spoke to us — lyrics and melodies that felt right.
Q: I’ve been impressed with the down-to-earth presence you have, even after so many years on the highest plane of performance on Broadway. How have you remained so grounded?
A: I guess I just try to keep it all in perspective. I have never wanted to be “famous,” but I have always wanted to work and have a long career. I love what I do.
I LOVE performing, but if I made it everything that I am or who I am, my life would be lacking. I try to make my life outside of work very full — I have amazing friends that are like family to me. They keep me grounded.
Q: I read about your audition for “Annie.” And then you went fairly quickly on tour with Tommy Tune. Have you had much formal training in singing, dancing and acting since then?
A: Started dancing when I was 4 til I was about 19. … Never really had voice training till I went to college … and I studied acting once I moved to NY. I still take classes — probably will forever.
Q: What do you think of shows like “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”?
A: I love them. I’m a huge fan of anything that promotes talent.
Q: What are the origins of your name?
A: My mom saw a movie when she was younger with a character named Sutton in it, and she liked it and said if she ever had a girl she’d name her Sutton! ;)
Q: First time in Hawaii? If not, what are your impressions of it?
A: It’ll be my third time in Hawaii. It’s heavenly. I cannot wait to just relax and drink a mai tai.