A new interview with Sutton Foster about Bunheads on ABC Family.

sutton foster bunheads

Two-time Tony award winner Sutton Foster is leaving Broadway’s Anything Goes and jumping aboard the new ABC Family series, Bunheads. In this show, executive produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), she plays a character who went from ballet to Las Vegas. But a quickie marriage (Vegas is known for them!) has her relocating to a small town, Paradise California. There, she works at her mother-in-law’s dance studio which is called the Paradise Dance Academy. You’ll want to visit it, trust us.

Small Screen Scoop
had a chance to talk with Sutton Foster about her new on-screen role.

Hesitant to give away too many Bunheads spoilers she allowed, “I don’t think theater fans will be disappointed.”

And what is a bunhead? “A bunhead is someone who spends a lot of their life with their hair in a bun, meaning it would be someone who has dedicated their life and their time to the art of ballet. Ballet is an incredibly difficult, beautiful art form that takes a lot of training, a lot of time, and a lot of hard work. And so when someone is deemed a bunhead, that’s what it means. I live near Alvin Ailey Dance Studio and I’ll see a bunch of girls walking down the street with their hair in their buns, and I’m like, “Oh, they’re ballet dancers.” It’s like a symbol. You can go, “Ah,” and say, “I know what they are.” That’s a bunhead.”

We also had to ask about Bunheads fashion! Foster stressed we’d see a lot of loose-fitting, comfy items on Michelle. “The thing about a dancer’s life is usually it’s about comfort, and because as dancers you’re wearing tights and you’re in like tight costumes or your feet are shoved into weird shoes—so when I was talking with Brenda—who’s our wardrobe supervisor—and we were like, ‘Michelle should be comfortable.’ But yet, she’s a Vegas girl. She’s living in Vegas, and so those gold earrings (in the pilot – we loved up on them) were Vegas. So she always had a little bit of Vegas with her. But I wear a lot of flowy, comfortable tops, cute jeans. I rock a lot of TOMS. She’s pretty natural and laid back, very easy-going, but really natural.” Hey, it’s easy to rock natural. We can get behind that!

(Editor’s note: Bunheads Costume Designer = Brenda Maben, we think. Can anyone confirm?)

Already a Gilmore Girls before becoming attached to Bunheads, Sutton said, “I own all the DVDS.” And Gilmore Girls alum Kelly Bishop plays Michelle’s mother-in-law on Bunheads. Of Bishop: “Off set, she’s very motherly.” But we don’t think her character will be too motherly on-screen!

But Bishop is probably already familiar with all the pop culture references that Amy Sherman-Palladino includes in her writing. We asked Foster if she’s had to google things yet. “Yes! What’s so great is that a lot of them I’ll get, and then there’s some I’m like, “I don’t know what that means.” And when I read the script for the first time, I just—anything I don’t know, I just look up, and then I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. Okay.’ A lot of them I know, but some of them are just so crazy. But then once you read it, you’re like, ‘Oh, got it. Got it.’ But yeah, I think she’s just a genius.”

And it was actually Christian Borle (her ex-husband) gave her advice on making the transition to the small screen. “He was saying that you just gotta keep moving forward because there’s so much material. As soon as you finish a scene you have to let it go.” And it works. “In many ways it’s a blessing, because you can’t get in your own way.”

Foster called theater her “home” but she took up Bunheads because she wanted a new challenge. How does she like it? “I’m loving it. I’m having the time of my life.”

Sutton Foster Quick List:

  • She said she’s become addicted to Coke Zero.
  • After NY, she’s now in L.A. And she has a nice bubble. “I kinda love my car.”
  • She takes ballet every day right now.
  • Her best friend lives in L.A.
  • She hikes. She’s interested in doing yoga. And especially sitting and resting her brain.
  • She used to watch Fraggle Rock and The Carol Burnett Show.
  • Belle is her favorite Disney Princess.
  • “I would have been videoing myself every day,” she said of YouTube – had it been available when she was a kid.

Photo: ABC Family