Sutton Foster has appeared in many Broadway shows, including Young Frankenstein and The Drowsy Chaperone. Sutton was recently selected as one of the Top 40 Musical Theatre Legends and will be bringing a special show to Chicago for the newly opened Broadway Playhouse. Danglin
Jerry Nunn: Hello, Sutton. Where did the name Sutton come from?
Sutton Foster: My mother heard it when she was growing up on a television show, although she can’t remember the name of the show. She said if she ever had a daughter she’d name her Sutton!
JN: What was it like winning the Tony for Thoroughly Modern Millie?
SF: Surreal. I still can’t believe I have a Tony in my house. I grew up watching the Tony Awards … and I used to dream of someday winning a Tony. The fact that it happened … it was a dream come true.
JN: Do you have a dream role in a musical that you have not played yet?
SF: Someday I’d like to play Mama Rose in Gypsy, but that’s way down the line.
JN: What advice do you have for young people breaking into Broadway?
SF: Take opportunities and don’t limit yourself. Every experience can lead to the next… and kindness really goes a long way. No one wants to work with an asshole.
JN: I saw you singing “I Know It’s Today” on the Tony Awards. How was it originating the role of Fiona in Shrek?
SF: Fiona is probably my most favorite role I’ve done on Broadway. Playing a bipolar burping and farting princess is hard to beat.
JN: You taught recently in New York?
SF: I do I teach at [ New York University ] . I’m about to start classes for the fall! I absolutely love it. Being able to work with young people and share my experiences with them is one of my favorite things I get to do. I have always wanted to be a teacher.
JN: What is the show in Chicago going to be like?
SF: About a year and a half ago I released a solo album called Wish. The show in Chicago will be based around that album and will also feature songs from all of the shows I’ve done on Broadway over the years, plus a few surprises…
JN: You are working on a musical version of Bonnie and Clyde?
SF: I am. My brother Hunter Foster, who is also an actor in New York, is also an incredible writer and he wrote the book for this new musical. I’m so proud of him. We are actually doing another reading of it before I come to Chicago.
JN: You are in a show called Trust?
SF: Yes. It’s a really fantastic play by Paul Weitz. It’s about control/power/money/relationships. My character works as a dominatrix, which has been really fun and quite different.
JN: Sounds racy.
SF: It’s been amazing to delve into a world that I really didn’t know anything about. We close on Sept. 12.
JN: Next year you are going to be in Anything Goes?
SF: Yes, we start rehearsals in January and I am super-excited!
JN: You are so busy. Do you want to do more TV roles such as Law & Order: SVU?
SF: I am attracted to projects that excite me. So if something came across my plate that sounds interesting and exciting and it was on TV then I’d love to do it—but my heart really is in the theatre.