Sutton Foster, performing two local concerts this week, has 11 Broadway musicals to her credit, but in the past few years, she’s become better-known to TV-watchers.
Before returning to Cape Cod, Foster answered our questions about her life and career:
When not on the road, I live in (city) and with (whom): New York City with my husband Ted Griffin, our daughter Emily and our two pups Mabel and Brody.
My most rewarding career accomplishment: Performing at Lincoln Center earlier this year.
My worst career choice: Not following my gut.
My best Cape memory: P-Town July 4, 2016.
Sutton Foster and Rhiannon Giddens, two of American song’s most restlessly inquisitive artists—albeit singing in entirely different realms—will each headline concerts at Alice Tully Hall for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook on April 14 and May 13, respectively. Neither should be missed.
Both artists have been applauded by Songbook audiences for many years. Foster, a beloved two-time Tony winner on Broadway, made her solo New York concert debut with American Songbook at the intimate Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse in 2004, then returned in 2009 for a grand evening in The Appel Room (then called The Allen Room) high atop the Jazz at Lincoln Center complex overlooking Columbus Circle.
When you remind Sutton Foster that she’s a triple-threat talent — a star who has acted, danced and sung her way from Broadway to television to Netflix — she sounds a little taken aback.
“I don’t think of myself as a triple-threat talent,” she says. “I think of myself as someone who’s trying to figure stuff out.”
Foster will be making her Rochester debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in two Pops concerts conducted by Jeff Tyzik on Feb. 10 and 11. She’s the most recent in a line of major Broadway leading ladies (including Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald and Kristin Chenoweth) to play in Rochester.
Sutton Foster’s fans probably won’t be surprised to hear that one of her favorite songs in her live show is John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” While it’s not exactly the kind of Broadway number she’s known for, the tune’s upbeat sentiments make it a perfect fit for her personality.
“I’m not 100 percent puppy dogs and rainbows, but, in general, I try to maintain that kind of outlook,” she said by phone from New York. “Concert work is awesome, not to be hiding behind any character or costume and just saying, ‘Hey, this is who I am.’ I heard a lot of John Denver from my parents growing up, and something about his voice just evokes nature and I’m very drawn to that. We lost my mother a couple of years ago, and she really loved it, too, so it’s such a gift that I get to sing it for her every night. So that’s the kind of song that captures me in the clearest light.”
Before she takes on the role of taxi dancer Charity Hope Valentine, however, Foster will make her Boston Pops debut May 26 and 27 at Boston’s Symphony Hall in “A Broadway Evening with Sutton Foster.” The performer discussed those concerts, her unbridled passion for the “Gilmore Girls” and more by telephone last week from Los Angeles.
Q: What can audiences expect from your upcoming shows with the Pops?
A: The concerts will be a throwback to the roles and songs I’ve done on Broadway, plus songs I’ve recorded and also some new music. I’ll be doing some song and dance, too. I started doing concerts in 2004 when I began collaborating with Michael Rafter, who is now my music director, on another way to show audiences what I can do when I don’t have on sequins or wigs and when I’m without a character to hide behind. Michael and I have done two albums together and we’re working on a third, so we’ll probably do some cuts from that one in Boston. Read more
During an interview with the Globe, Foster, 41, talked about adjusting from the theater to television, her unusual choice for an audition number when she was trying to get hired early in her career, and what she now looks for in a role, whether onstage or onscreen.
Q. What sides of yourself do you try to showcase in concert appearances that might not be as visible onstage or on TV? Your storytelling side? Your humor?
A. One of the things I love about doing concerts and symphony shows is that it allows me to show audiences who I am as a performer as opposed to behind a character or in the confines of a show. It’s great to be able to stand in front of an audience as I am. It’s like “Hi!” I don’t have a blond wig and I’m not tap dancing.
Award-winning Broadway star Sutton Foster comes to the Civic Center on Saturday evening to present a concert with the Des Moines Symphony but she will also spend some time giving back.
Along with her concert, Foster will put on a master class at the Temple Theater Friday afternoon for students and young professionals in Des Moines metro area. Participants sent in vocal portfolio submissions to be considered and coached by Foster.
On TV Land’s “Younger,” Sutton Foster plays Liza Miller, a recently divorced mom who decides to makeover herself as a millennial at the fair age of 26 to snag a job in publishing. But in real life, the 40-year-old Tony-winning actress isn’t hiding behind anything. With Carnegie Hall under her belt and her show’s second season underway, the star calls us from New York to talk about her upcoming appearance with the Boston Pops, her “Gilmore Girls” role and whether or not she’s ready to break out her dancing shoes. Read more
Boston Pops puts a special focus on the music of Broadway with the debut of Tony-Award winning Broadway star Sutton Foster in an Evening of song and dance May 26 & 27.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW at www.bostonpops.org and 888-266-1200
“My number one piece of advice is to not be an asshole and be kind and respect people around you. You can actually achieve your dreams without being a dick.”
That’s the pointed suggestion that Sutton Foster said she’d give to any young aspiring performers who are coming to see her at the Merriam Theatre in March. The superstar actress, who has multiple Tony Awards to her name and a plethora of screen credits, including her current hit, TV Land’s Younger, is so unbelievably likable that you can’t help but feel that you’re best friends, even after talking to her for a few minutes on the phone.
If two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster sends you a text that reads: “Do you tap dance?,” you can probably bet there’s a good reason she’s suddenly interested in your fancy footwork.
The singer/actress, currently starring on TV Land’s Younger, sent that exact message to her co-star — and on-screen boyfriend — Nico Tortorella, who responded, “Uhm, yes? I have. What do you have in mind?”
Turns out, Foster had the perfect opportunity for the actor/model, who grew up doing musical theater, but had never done it professionally. She needed a partner for a song-and-dance routine in her upcoming series of concerts, and thought he would be perfect.