BWW Interviews: Broadway Star Sutton Foster on Utah, Her Upcoming Concerts at BYU, and More!
Two-time Tony Award winner (and six-time nominee) Sutton Foster is coming to Utah! Direct from her critically acclaimed turn in VIOLET on Broadway, she will be gracing the stage of Brigham Young University's de Jong Concert Hall as part of its BRAVO! professional performing arts series, on Friday and Saturday, September 5 and 6, 2014. For more information and to buy tickets, visit arts.byu.edu.
The genuine, personable Broadway star generously spoke with BroadwayWorld about her upcoming concerts.
She said that personal ties she has here in the state make her especially excited to visit. "I have some very dear friends who live in Utah," she said. "They have made me a part of their family."
She added, "I've never been to the BYU campus, but it is home to so many people who I have worked with through the years. I can't wait to work with the students. Every single time I've been in Salt Lake City or Provo, the people are so kind and so welcoming and lovely. As soon as I received the invitation to sing at BYU, I jumped on it."
Foster is currently working with her musical director and long-time collaborator Michael Rafter to craft a set list unique to BYU. She said they will be using her usual concert outline as a starting point but are also combing through new material that they may want to use in an upcoming album. "I enjoy singing songs I've sung in shows," she said, "but I most love finding little trunk songs that speak to us."
She also revealed that her friend and LITTLE WOMEN costar Megan McGinnis will be joining her onstage to duet with her in a special appearance.
Since 2002, Foster has originated a number of leading roles in major new musicals that are in a constant rotation in local theatres in Utah and throughout the world. In addition to LITTLE WOMEN, these include THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, SHREK THE MUSICAL, and more. When asked what it's like to go from workshopping a new musical to seeing its life after Broadway, Foster said that it's a surreal experience.
"I still feel like I'm that 15-year-old girl who watches the Tony Awards on TV and listens to cast recordings on the floor of my bedroom, memorizing them," she said.
She added that at the VIOLET stage door she would often meet people with posters of their high school productions for her to sign, saying they had just played Millie or one of her other characters.
"My brain just explodes," she said. "I remember the very first reading of SHREK that was just the first act and hearing 'I Know It's Today' for the first time. And now having it done everywhere, and all the little girls who sing it--it's very cool. I'm still figuring out so much of my life, but it's pretty amazing. I feel so, so lucky."
It is Utah audiences who are lucky to have an artist of Sutton Foster's caliber sharing her talent with us in two solo concerts. She is eagerly anticipating her time here as much as we are.
"I can't wait," she said sincerely. "I'm so excited!"
SUTTON FOSTER is an award-winning actor, singer and dancer who has performed in eleven Broadway shows--most recently the revival of ViOLET--and originated roles in the Broadway productions of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, LITTLE WOMEN, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, SHREK THE MUSICAL, and her Tony Award-winning performances in ANYTHING GOES and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.
She was first seen on television on STAR SEARCH at age 15, and has more recently starred in Amy Sherman Palladino's BUNHEADS and appeared in JOHNNY AND THE SPRITES, FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS, SESAME STREET, LAW AND ORDER SVU, PSYCH, and ROYAL PAINS.
As a solo artist, Sutton has performed all over the country as well as internationally with her musical director Michael Rafter, featuring songs from her debut solo CD, Wish, as well as her follow up CD, An Evening With Sutton Foster: Live at the Café Carlyle. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Feinstein's, Lincoln Center's American Songbook series, Joe's Pub, and many others.
In 2011 she received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Ball State University where she is also on faculty as a teacher and advisor to the Department of Theatre and Dance
MICHAEL RAFTER (Musical Director) Sutton Foster and Michael Rafter collaborated on Foster's first solo CD, Wish, which was released in February 2009. They performed it live as part of the Lincoln Center American Songbook series. Their second CD, An Evening With Sutton Foster, Live at the Café Carlyle, was released in March 2011. Michael also co-produced Norm Lewis's solo CD, This Is The Life, and the original cast recording of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's Broadway musical, CAROLINE, OR CHANGE.
Michael conducted GYPSY on Broadway starring Tyne Daly as well as the TV movie starring Bette Midler, the latter of which earned him an Emmy award for his music direction. He has supervised the Broadway and/or national touring companies of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, SUNSET BOULEVARD, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, and THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY. On Broadway, Michael has served as music director/conductor of THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE KING AND I, and GYPSY. Michael also created the arrangements for the Broadway productions of SWING! and SWEET CHARITY. He was one of the two pianists in the duo that played the Broadway revival of THE MOST HAPPY FELLA. Off Broadway credits include MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG and VIOLET.
Photo Credit: Sutton Foster