PLAYBILL BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Sutton Foster; Catching Up With the Broadway and "Bunheads" Star

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08 Sep 2012

Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster
Photo by ABC Family/Andrew Eccles

We snagged a few minutes with two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster to get a post-mortem on her newly renewed TV series, "Bunheads," and her fall concert schedule.


Sutton Foster has a lot to sing about this summer. Not only has her ABC Family series "Bunheads" — the offbeat dramedy with music and dance — received an order for additional episodes, Foster has concerts lined up in the coming months, before and during her fall shooting schedule.

We caught up with the Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Shrek star by phone from Los Angeles before her Labor Day return to her New York City home where she was prepping for the first of several national (and international) concert bookings, from Omaha to Palm Springs to Japan, and places in between. Check her website for dates and deets

Read the June Stage to Screens interview with Foster, who admitted that she was a longtime fan of Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of "Gilmore Girls" and "Bunheads." 

"Bunheads" beautifully plays to your strengths — your ability to play daffy but play incredibly sincere.
Sutton Foster: Thank you. I was thrilled. I'm thrilled with how everything turned out, and I just love the show, and I'm happy that we get to do more. It was such an incredible experience — incredibly challenging — but I felt like I was having the time of my life. I loved it.

What was chief among the challenges?
SF: Primarily the dialogue — just learning the amount of dialogue. And the hours. I've never experienced that type of exhaustion. I've felt that [physically], but not like that with your brain and learning so much material every day. I was memorizing and then working and then sleeping and then waking up, and working and sleeping…! I would basically spend the weekends working on the script because I had such a big workload. But, yeah, those were primarily the biggest challenges — just exhaustion and brain melt.


Sutton Foster on "Bunheads."
photo by Adam Taylor

Did you shoot one episode per week?
SF: We had seven days an episode.

When you were shooting, were the scripts fairly frozen or would you get new pages every week as well?
SF: There would be some changes… but from the table-read to filming, most of the scripts stayed pretty set. There would be little things, but nothing major, which was great. We weren't thrown any major, last-minute curve balls.

Did you know from the start of the show — from the first few weeks — what the "bible" of the series was? That is, did you have some idea where the plot of the next ten episodes was going? Or were you getting surprised by the script every week?
SF: [Creator] Amy [Sherman-Palladino] kind of told me an overview of what was going to happen. She talked me through it. When we first started, I think only the first couple of episodes were fully written. You know, everything else was written as we went. They knew where we were going, but they allowed themselves a lot of flexibility to change within those first ten episodes. One of our first meetings, once the show got picked up [after the pilot], she kind of talked me through the first ten episodes. She knew that it was going to end with The Nutcracker. She knew that there would be three men that I would meet. And, I was like, "Oh, okay!" [Laughs.] She didn't know exactly how, but she knew little tent poles along the way, of what was going to happen. So I kind of had an idea, but I didn't know the details.


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