Q&A: Sutton Foster on The New York Pops and Her New TV Show “Younger” | NBC New York

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Q&A: Sutton Foster on The New York Pops and Her New TV Show “Younger”

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    Gary Gershoff | Getty Images
    Sutton Foster talks to NBC New York about her upcoming concert with The New York Pops and her upcoming TV Land series "Younger"

    Sutton Foster is making her solo debut at Carnegie Hall on Friday, March 13, alongside The New York Pops orchestra as part of their 31st season.

    The two-time Tony winner has had a long career on Broadway, with 11 Broadway credits to her name, including “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Anything Goes” and last season’s “Violet.” Foster will reprise many of her signature songs from those shows, as well as perform her original takes on musical standards.

    The trip to the Pops stage comes weeks before Foster makes a regular return to the small screen, in TV Land’s new series “Younger.” The comedy follows a single 40-year-old mother (Foster) who breaks into the working world — only after posing as a 26-year-old. Hilary Duff and Debi Mazar co-star in the show, which premieres March 31.

    We sat down with Foster to get the scoop on both new shows:

    NBC4NY: What’s the process been like building The New York Pops show?
    SUTTON FOSTER: A lot of fun! I’ve created different types of cabaret shows before. But creating the symphony show with [musical directors] Steven Reineke and Michael Rafter, we were able to pull from a lot of what we worked on through the years and expand on the material to make them fully orchestrated. So now to hear arrangements with 75 pieces? It just boggles my mind.

    NBC4NY: You’ll be performing songs you’ve made famous over the years on Broadway. Has it been fun to revisit those roles?
    FOSTER: These songs have always held a really special place in my heart. It’s fun to sing them again — especially without the wigs and the costumes! In so many ways, these shows have never left me. It’s crazy to think so many high schools are doing “Millie” and “Little Women” and “Shrek” and “Anything Goes” and now “Violet.” All these young Renos and Millies and Fionas and Violets. It’s incredible.

    NBC4NY: And they all look up to you. Is that hard sometimes?
    FOSTER: I try to be a decent role model for young people. But I’m still the dorky awkward kid who is trying to figure things out. And I make wrong turns all the time. I think it’s important for young people to see that you can work really hard, still get what you want, and be kind to people and be nice and be respectful. Success in my career hasn’t changed me at all. I’ve tried very hard to maintain a sense of normality or humility. I’m still a fumbling idiot trying to figure stuff out!

    NBC4NY: You were last on Broadway with “Violet,” which was a very different role for you. Looking back on it now, did it feel very different at the time?
    FOSTER: It was a totally scary departure. In “Anything Goes,” Reno had pushed me to an extreme I hadn’t gone to before. I knew whatever role I tackled next had to be a big left turn. I really credit Leigh Silverman, our director, who pushed me and unveiled sides of me I didn’t know I had. She allowed me to be naked and vulnerable and ugly and messy. It was a very cool process, and personally healing for me for many reasons.”

    NBC4NY: Your “Violet” co-star, Joshua Henry, is joining you at The New York Pops. Are you as obsessed with him as we are?
    FOSTER: When I first saw Joshua perform, I saw him do “The Wiz” at City Center Encores! back in 2009. He played the Tin Man. I was way up in the balcony, and he came on, and I just remember thinking ‘Who is that? I’ve never seen this guy!” I stalked him on Facebook afterwards. I had to tell him how great he was. I said, "You don’t know me but I saw you in the show and you’re just fantastic" and blah blah blah. I’m so in awe of him.

    NBC4NY: He’ll be performing “Let It Sing.” What was it like watching him do that eight times a week?
    FOSTER: I just got to sit there and bask in his radiance. He’s truly radiant from the inside out — an incredible talent, but an amazing human being. To be able to be witness to what he can do was really such an honor. When I started planning the Pops show, I knew I wanted to bring Joshua. We have one big surprise at the end we do together at the end of the first act, and he just knocks it out of the park.

    NBC4NY: What drew you to TV Land’s “Younger”?
    FOSTER: It’s great to have a show where the four main characters are all career-driven, independent women who are all taking lives in our own hands. When I first read it, I could tell it was a character I understood and knew. And it felt like an opportunity to revisit my youth. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m excited for people to start seeing it.

    NBC4NY: We haven’t lost you to TV, have we?
    FOSTER: No, you haven’t! How is that possible? I would really like to be able to do it all if I can. It’s just a matter of scheduling and being able to figure it out. But the concerts have been a good touchstone because I’ve been able to remind people "Hey, I’m still here! I’m not going anywhere!"

    “The New York Pops Presents One Night Only: Sutton Foster” on March13 at Carnegie Hall Tickets: $34-$120. Call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800. Visit www.carnegiehall.org for more information. 

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