SHARE
Photo Courtesy of Laura-Marie-Duncan
Photo Courtesy of Laura-Marie-Duncan
It’s difficult to imagine that Sutton Foster regularly gets a full night’s sleep. The two-time Tony Award winner not only wrapped the filming of  an entirely new television series, Younger, which debuts this month on TV Land, but she’s currently accepting applications for her “Cute pet contest” in which she’ll choose her favorite pet, draw it for the winner, and sell prints at a gallery where the proceeds will benefit the New York Humane Society. If that weren’t enough, she sits on the faculty of Ball State University in Indiana and this Friday March 13th , she’ll make her solo Carnegie Hall debut with the NY Pops. http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2015/3/13/0800/PM/The-New-York-Pops/
Photo Courtesy of Dan Dutcher PR
Photo Courtesy of Dan Dutcher PR

Here, she’ll reprise some of her showstopping numbers from her award-winning performance in Anything Goes as well as songs from last season’s Violet.   We caught up with her to discuss dogs, dancing, and her solo debut.

RL: You performed at Carnegie Hall before but this is the first time you’re taking center stage as a soloist, right?

SF: Yes. I knew I wanted to bring some friends along though, so I enlisted their help. I’ll be joined by Joshua Henry, who was in Violet with me and Megan McGinnis, who shared the stage with me in Little Women.

RL: Besides singing, can we expect dance moves?

SF:  Yes! I wanted to do a song and dance routine. Joshua Henry and I have a little throwback dance number that I’m very excited about. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve never incorporated dance into my solo performances, so I just knew I  had to do this.  Violet  was very serious and dramatic, but this is pure fun and joy. It’s a  different side for both of us.  We’ve  put together an exciting program and I’m just really excited about it. Literally, yesterday I was making pancakes and I came up with a last minute addition to the show, so there will be a surprise for the audience.

RL: Inspiration through Bisquick?

SF: Yep! Totally.
Foster in the 2014 Broadway production of VIOLET. Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus
Foster in the 2014 Broadway production of VIOLET. Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

RL: I hadn’t realize that you were a visual artist as well–and you have a cute pet contest?

SF: I love to draw and I’ve always loved to draw. Right now, I’m in this transitional period where I had some idle time after taping my show Younger. I have an art show in Provincetown in July. I decided to do a dog series because I love dogs and I’m a huge fan of rescuing them. I was trying to think of ways I could use my art and give back. The proceeds of all the prints will go to the humane society.  I started drawing pictures of all my friends’ dogs and wanted to find a way to reach out to my fan base in a unique way that had nothing to do with singing or dancing, so I came up with the contest.  If I’m idle too long, I have to find an idea. It’s hard for me to sit still, so I just came up with ways to create and be creative and express myself in some way.

RL: Are you a pet owner yourself?

SF: I am, yes.  I have a dog named Mabel who is a yorkie/dachshund mix.  She’s a rescue and just a weird, little, fabulous creature. We got her a year ago and are just obsessed with her.  She is so smart. Plus, she’s only 12 pounds and travels well, too. 

RL:  Your new TV show Younger is premiering on TV Land. You play Liza, a forty year old who pretends to be a twenty something. Liza’s suburban life ends in divorce and she’s trying to make a go of it in the workforce.  How did this project develop for you? 

SF: I wasn’t sure if my ABC Family show Bunheads  was going to be continued so I was at a bit of a stand still in 2013. When we found out it was cancelled, it was a huge disappointment, but then my agent sent me the script for Younger and said that Darren Star (who created Sex and the City)  wanted to meet with me. I immediately thought that it felt right and that it was something I could do. I went in to test for the network  and a few weeks after that, they offered me the job. I wasn’t specifically looking for a TV series, but it just felt like a really good fit, especially since it had  strong female characters. I would come home from taping every day and feel really happy. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company and it was such a pleasurable experience all around.  We hope it does well and that people like it, so we can keep doing it!  The show is smart and pushes the envelope.

RL: Did you find it challenging to play a character in her twenties or did you have to channel your younger self?

SF: I still feel like I’m 15 and I don’t give too much thought about age (Foster turns 40 on March 18th but her natural youthful glow suggests teenage vitality). But something happened during the taping of the show. We were in Brooklyn and I looked around and realized, “Wow! The hipster thing really exists. This is what the young people are doing!” and I felt I like I was totally different generation.  My co-stars are actually in their twenties, so I could look to them as a benchmark for the twenty-something crowd. Also, I’m playing a character who is 40 who is pretending to be 25, so I’m able to channel that. It’s been fun to vicariously  live in another generation, and I’m hoping that it’ll be fun for the audience too, and that they’ll follow my character’s journey.

RL: Between Younger, drawing, preparing for the Carnegie Debut  performing, and maintaining your faculty position at Ball State university, how do you keep it all balanced?

SF: I have an amazing assistant in my life and I love being busy. Without her, I don’t know how I would be able to handle all of this stuff.  As far as Ball University, they are very flexible and its been invaluable. I can work with them when my schedule allows.  I work with their senior musical theater students and  actually  and co-chair with the head of the department. If I’m not able to be there  in person, I’m can Skype or my co-chair can teach.  The seniors are actually here in NYC doing their cabaret show at Joe’s Pub tonight* .  It’s just a wonderful thing that I get to do and it’s an important part of my life.

RL: You must be like a proud parent?

SF: Yes, exactly. They are just incredible with what they’ve done and I just love it, love it, love it! (NOTE: This is not a typo. She said, “love it” three enthusiastic times so there is absolutely no doubt that she enjoys this role.)

RL: Winter has been brutal. How do you keep your voice healthy?

SF: It’s been really hard. I just got over a cold and had the flu in December and  this winter has been really really bad, but it is what it is. Most of the time, I have a humidifier. I’m really diligent about taking a multi-vitamin, I get plenty of sleep, I drink tons of water, I try to stay covered up by wearing  a hat and scarf.  I always carry a bottle of purell. It’s just common sense, simple stuff but you know, you forget!  Next thing you know you’re grabbing the bread basket after having just been on the subway and shoving your hands in your mouth.  So, I’m just trying to stay as healthy as possible and hold on through it all. I try to sleep 8-9 hours a night no matter what. I try to workout 3 times  a week. I take pilates, I do strength training, and  cardio. I just try to keep moving, especially when it’s so cold because it is so hard otherwise.

RL: Well, thank you for taking time to speak with me. I wish you all the best on your new show and your concert on Friday. I’m sure you’ll knock it out the park and we can’t wait to see it.

SF: Thank you so much!

*The cabaret show took place the evening of this interview, which was Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015.
____________________________________________________
Sutton Foster at Carnegie Hall with Special Guests and the NY Pops. Friday March 13th. Single tickets are priced from $34 to $120.  Visit Carnegie Hall Box Office (57th Street and Seventh Avenue) or by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or  www.carnegiehall.org  for more information.
To submit a photo for Sutton’s cute pet contest, post a pic of your pet on instagram or twitter:  #pickmypetpic
Sutton’s new show, Younger, premieres on TV Land later this month and episode 1  is available now on www.amazon.com
For all things Sutton Foster, visit http://suttonfoster.com