Roundabout Roundup: Week of May 16, 2011

Posted on: May 20th, 2011 by Bradley Sanchez

Sutton Foster: A Big Belter Who Found a True Voice

"As a little girl growing up in Georgia, Sutton Foster used to make up her own opera arias and sing them in the bathtub. Her family had no background in music, acting or theater — her father worked for General Motors. So as a child her instinctive desire to sound operatic was curious.

As Reno, Ms. Foster may not sound classically operatic, but she sure sounds grand and, when called for, loud. “Ms. Foster has the voice of a trumpet and a big, gleaming presence that floods the house,” the New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote, adding that during “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” a showstopper, “You figure that if no horn-tooting archangel appears, it’s only because he’s afraid of the competition.” This production is up for nine Tony Awards, including best actress in a musical for Ms. Foster, her fifth time being nominated in that category." - The New York Times

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Broadway Bookwriter Iris Rainer Dart on Her Intensely Personal The People in the Picture

"I wanted to tell the story of how passing on the best parts of our culture is a gift we can give to our children and our grandchildren. During the many years that I worked on this project, I became a grandmother, twice. My grandson will soon be eight years old and my granddaughter will be six. Maya is a little young to see a show of this nature, but Jonathan came to see it. The day he sat in the orchestra with his aunt, my daughter, I sat in the mezzanine filled with joy, knowing this was something I was passing on to him and for him.

“Bubbie,” he said to me later (a sophisticated theatergoer, this was his sixth Broadway musical), “The People in the Picture rocks!!” Amen.

I was able, through friends, to meet Mike Stoller and Artie Butler, two brilliant tunesmiths, both of whom had written melodic, memorable songs over the years, and they each took to the material immediately. Roundabout Theatre Company, with the brilliant Todd Haimes at the helm, took a risk doing a musical not based on a film, not based on a cartoon character, but original from start to finish. Lucky us!" -

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Anything Goes' Sutton Foster pays a visit to Sesame Street

"It's a question often asked in these parts: Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

Well, the actress Sutton Foster, currently the front-runner for a second Tony award for her terrific performance as Reno Sweeney in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Anything Goes, took something of the long way 'round.

Ms. Foster actually auditioned to be a regular on the program about eight years ago, after she won the Tony for Thoroughly Modern Millie.  She didn't get the part. "I made it down to the final callback, which was with Elmo and another Muppet," Ms. Foster recalled. "I finished my audition and I broke into tears."

Lately, Ms. Foster's fan base must be enlarging far beyond Muppets, mostly because of how she tackles "Anything Goes" full-on. "This is the most dancing I've ever done in a show," she said. She closes the first act with a huge tap number and opens the second act with yet another huge production number; lately she has been drinking coconut water, eating bananas and doing slow strength training a half-hour twice a week on the Upper West Side to keep up. "And the thing I'm realizing is I like the challenge of it. I had put it on the back burner, but working with [director] Kathleen [Marshall], she made me feel like I was a dancer again." - The Wall Street Journal

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Related Categories:
2010-2011 Season, Anything Goes, Roundabout Roundup, The People In The Picture

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