It’s the rare ingénue who gets to play the newbie role twice. But Sutton Foster, the star of the stealth hit sitcom “Younger,” is having her breakout moment as a spunky young heroine on the rise — some 13 years after she was plucked from chorus-line obscurity for an award-winning turn on Broadway.
To theatergoers, Ms. Foster is already a star. She is a hoofer like those of an earlier era, more Merman than “Hamilton,” a wide-eyed triple threat with two Tony Awards (and six nominations) to her name. Her performances inspire breathless admiration (the seemingly endless dance break she sailed through in “Anything Goes”!) and, occasionally, obsessive re-creation.
Still, she said, “It’s weird to know that, even being in the theater for as long as I was, more people know me from ‘Bunheads’ and ‘Younger’ than they do as a theater performer.”
Ms. Foster is, once again, a discovery — this time, at 40.
Darren Star’s “Younger” is a dreamy, confectionary fairy tale of New York in its second season on TV Land. Sutton Foster, formerly of the cultishly, critically admired “Bunheads” and before that a Tony-winning star of Broadway musicals, plays Liza, who gave up a career as a book editor to raise her daughter; now divorced at 40, she’s passed herself off as a 26-year-old in order to land a job as an assistant at a publishing house.
With wonderful contributions from Debi Mazar, Hilary Duff and Miriam Shor, the show, which airs Wednesdays, is a classic disguise comedy with a rom-com heart, like a chronological “Tootsie,” with the exception that all it takes for Liza to pass for a person 14 years her junior is some new clothes, a slight adjustment of posture and remembering to keep her cultural references in order.
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“We have a really great lighting and makeup department,” Foster, who is turning 41 this year, told Parade.com in an exclusive interview at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. “You know how some people—even in their 20’s—play older? I’ve always read younger. Even as I was in my 30s, I was still playing 20-year-olds.”
What makes Younger so appealing—especially to people over 35— is the thought of going back and reliving part of life over. While Liza doesn’t actually go back in time and get the years back, she does get to pretend to be 26 with all that it entails. Read more
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“It was definitely interesting to navigate because I hadn’t really thought about any of those things,” Foster says. “I’d be asked about my beauty regime and I’m like, ‘I don’t really have one!”
She laughs for a minute, magically looking, like Liza, both youthful and carefree, and wise and seasoned at the same time.
“So I’d just make things up to try to sound relevant or like I knew what I was talking about,” she continues. “And with my getting older, I’ve never thought about it, or felt those things before, or even looked at myself in the mirror and gone, ‘Oh, wow, I am changing and getting older. Am I relevant? Well, I have a career…” Read more
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Foster, however, was not afforded the same “critical distance” in her own life, describing her 20s as a particularly rocky period.
“I was a mess in my 20s,” the two-time Tony award winner admitted. “I made a lot of mistakes. I was also a really late bloomer and kind of afraid of the world. I didn’t become less afraid until I got older.”
Foster also sees major differences between 2016 and the time she grew up in.
“I’m looking at this new generation and I think it’s a really defining decade,” the “Bunheads” star explained. “People in their 20s now are putting their stakes down in the world.” Read more
People | Why Younger Star Sutton Foster Is ‘Grateful’ to Find TV Success at Age 40: ‘I Feel So Much More Settled and Confident’
Like her character, Sutton Foster’s career took an exciting turn with a second chapter when Younger came along.
A Broadway breakout in her 20s, Foster is now the leading lady on TV Land’s adorable, under-the-radar critical darling, which begins its second season Wednesday and is already greenlit for a third.
“In a career choice of being a performer and an entertainer where there’s no real job security and it’s hard to look ahead at what’s next, it’s really cool to know that we have this next season and to know that the network is really behind us and really believes in the show,” Foster, 40, told PEOPLE at the Younger and Teachers premiere party Wednesday at the Nomad in New York. “So it’s exciting!” Read more