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The Tabernacle Choir Blog

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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Sutton Foster

Although it’s not quite Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is just around the corner. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been working on Christmas music for weeks, and the physical preparations for the annual Christmas concert have been going on for months. The annual concert by the Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square this year will feature Sutton Foster and Hugh Bonneville as guest artists.

Singer, actress, and dancer Sutton Foster has starred in 11 Broadway productions and is a two-time Tony Award winner for her roles in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She also originated roles in The Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein, and Shrek the Musical. She currently stars as the lead character Liza in the critically acclaimed TV Land television series Younger, which will begin its fifth season in 2018.

With the Christmas concert only a few weeks away, let’s take some time to get to know Sutton Foster. Here are 10 things you may not know about her:

She Missed Her Senior Year of High School 

During her senior year, Foster was on the Will Rogers Follies National Tour, so she couldn’t attend school. She completed her credits via correspondence classes and was able to graduate with her class. 

She Knows How to Win

Foster has been nominated for awards 48 times for her work on Broadway and four times for her television performances. Being nominated for an award is an honor all on its own, but Foster has won 16 times for her Broadway roles for Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women, Young Frankenstein, Shrek the Musical, and Anything Goes. She also won a Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Actor in a Breakthrough Role for the television show Bunheads.  

She Competed on Star Search

Before American Idol, The Voice, and America’s Got Talent there was Star Search. At the age of 15, Foster appeared on the show and lost to Richard H. Blake, a fellow Broadway performer. Other stars who have appeared on the show are Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, LeAnn Rimes, Alanis Morissette, and Usher.

She Auditioned for the Mickey Mouse Club

Also when she was 15, Foster auditioned for the Mickey Mouse Club, a popular variety show on cable TV’s Disney Channel modeled after the original TV version years before. Although Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears (those names again), and Ryan Gosling made the show, Foster did not. But she is in good company, as there are many other singing and acting powerhouses who did not make the cast, including big names like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jessica Simpson, Kirsten Dunst, and Ryan Phillippe. 

She Has Released Two Solo Albums (and Another Is on the Way)

Besides being featured on the soundtracks for many Broadway shows, Foster has recorded two solo albums entitled Wish and An Evening with Sutton Foster (Live at Café Carlisle). (You can buy both at her Salt Lake City CD signing following the December 15 concert.) On November 3, 2017, she tweeted, “Heading into the studio next week to record a new album.” Here’s a selection from her live album, An Evening with Sutton Foster: “Down with Love.” 

She Played a Struggling Actress in Gilmore Girls

Although Foster was not in the original series, which ran for seven seasons from 2000 to 2007, she was a huge fan of the original show. So, when she was asked to appear in the 2016 revival of the show on Netflix, she jumped at the chance. She told Vulture.com, “I’m a super fan from the couch suddenly invited to the set. It was definitely surreal.”

She Received an Honorary Doctorate

She received an honorary doctorate degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and gave the spring commencement address there in May 2012. Foster has taught various master classes and hosted workshops for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Ball State periodically since 2006.

She Is a Teacher at New York University

In addition to her work at Ball State, she also teaches at NYU. In an interview Foster was asked what made her want to be a teacher and she replied, “Ever since I was a kid I had two major passions, and they were performing and teaching. I always wanted to be a teacher, and my dream was to be a working actor in New York and also teach in New York, and NYU is just the perfect place for me since it allowed me to stay in the city.”

Her Voice Is Familiar to Children

In addition to the television and Broadway shows that Foster is involved in, she has also appeared on the children’s shows Sesame Street, Doc McStuffins, and Johnny and the Sprites.

She Adopted a Child in 2017

In an appearance on Harry, hosted by Harry Connick Jr., Foster discussed the decision she and her husband, Ted Griffin, made to adopt a child. “My husband and I adopted her; she was born in March,” says Foster. “She’s amazing. It’s changed our life forever. So we are learning as we’re going. But we have a lot of help and amazing friends. … It’s a massive learning curve, but she teaches you a lot.”

Foster’s appearance in the Christmas concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square will be in the Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, December 14–16, 2017. Tickets have all been distributed, but standby seating is frequently available.