Sutton Foster has all the confidence in the world when she’s belting out show tunes on Broadway — as she did to Tony-winning effect in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes — or teaching young girls to dance, as she does in the new ABC Family hit Bunheads, which airs Mondays at 9pm. But when it comes to meeting fellow actor Paul Rudd, the normally composed star confesses to becoming tongue-tied. She reveals that and more interesting tidbits about herself in this edition of “7 Questions.”
What has been your strangest fan encounter?
I actually had this whole video series that was done in New York, it was called Operation: Sutton. There were these balloon flowers that were left at my stage door in Anything Goes with no note. It just said “For Sutton.” I thought, “Well, this is weird.” So I tweeted about it, I had a picture of the flowers, and asked, “Who are these from?” And someone sent me a video of this guy with the balloon flowers, and he was trying to get me to be his date to the opening of a theater festival in New York. He did, like, eight Operation: Sutton videos, and they got more and more ridiculous as they went. I couldn’t end up being his date because I had a show that night, which, I probably wouldn’t have been anyway. But I ended up sending him some flowers.
You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
I’m a bad-mag girl. It would have to be US Weekly. I’d probably go for Psychology Today and maybe some National Geographic.
Aside from Bunheads, of course, if your TV only carried three shows, which three would you pick?
America’s Next Top Model, Grey’s Anatomy and The Amazing Race.
When was the first time you were starstruck?
I’ve met Paul Rudd a couple times. I can’t speak to him. I become a complete idiot. I’ve been around him in social situations and something happens to me, and I become a complete loser, like I can’t physically speak to him. It’s very strange.
What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
Milk. I always go for 1 percent, because the skim is too watery and the 2 percent is too creamy. Bananas and coffee.
Does “Tony Award-winning actress” impress the folks back in Georgia?
(Laughs) To be honest, when I first started doing theater, my brother and I are the only people in our family who do what we do. I think at first they didn’t quite understand and they were like, “When are you going to get a real job?” So I think once I won the Tony award and I was on television, they were like, “Oh, OK! Maybe this is going to work out.” They got excited by that. But in general, I’m still just the little girl from Georgia and as far as my family and extended family is concerned, they just want to know what kind of food I’m eating, and they’re very proud and very pleased.
Jerry Orbach once remarked how strange it was that more people would see him in an episode of Law & Order than ever saw him on Broadway. How weird is it to think that more people will probably watch you in a regular episode of Bunheads than have ever seen you on Broadway?
It was interesting, I did three episodes of Flight of the Conchords, and I would get recognized more from that than I would from my stage stuff, even in New York. It would be like, “Oh my gosh, you’re Coco from Flight of the Conchords!” I’m sure that will happen more. But I will say I’m very proud that I’ve made my name thus far as a theater actress. What I want to be known as in my life is a good actress. So this broadens the spectrum and maybe it will open up people’s curiosity to what other things I can do onstage. I’m blessed that the show that I’m on right now on television is about dancing, and about the art and things that are a huge part of my life. I’m so excited that there are so many shows like that on television now, like Glee and Smash and other things that are hyping the arts. Maybe it will make more people want to see me live, because I’m coming back. I’m not going to be away forever.
Photo: © 2012 Disney Enterprises, Inc. Credit: Randy Holmes