On July 26, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster visited Stephen Colbert on his Late Show. Currently seen as leading lady Liza Miller on TVLand’s Younger, Colbert was surprised to learn how Foster earned her first leading role (and Tony Award) 15 years ago.
As the story goes, Foster was the understudy-turned-star in Thoroughly Modern Millie. “You should really play you in the movie about this,” said Colbert. “This is the kind of thing you dream when you’re a kid of happening.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t like throw marbles or take her down,” said Foster.
“You didn’t ‘Tonya Harding’ her,” joked Colbert.
“It all happened naturally,” said Foster.
While the story of Foster’s Broadway debut is fairly well-known, fewer know about Foster’s appearance on Ed McMahon’s Star Search. (Watch the video above to see the clip of a young Foster in the singing competition.) Foster lost that competition to...Richard H. Blake, currently starring in A Bronx Tale on Broadway. “Every time I see him, I give him squinty eyes,” said Foster.
Taking a break from Broadway for the time being, Foster enjoys her steady TV gig as a 41-year-old who pretends to be a 27-year-old. As for playing a millennial, Foster said, “I’m a young 42, I'm naive, I'm still pretty green about many things. I feel like the idea of youth is how you look at the world with hopeful optimism and try new things.”