Where do you start when you're describing Sutton Foster? The two-time Tony-winning actress is a musical theatre leading lady of our times. Any theatre fan will recognise her from starring in Broadway musicals such as Thoroughly Modern Millie and Shrek the Musical. She's set to star in a revival of The Music Man opposite Hugh Jackman. But before jumping back on a Broadway stage, Sutton Foster will make her West End debut, reprising the iconic role of Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes.
Foster played Reno Sweeney in a 2011 Broadway revival of Anything Goes, winning the Tony for best actress. The Cole Porter musical follows Reno Sweeney on board the S.S. American, set to songs including "I Get A Kick Out of You" and "You're The Top." A decade later, Foster returns to the leading role, but what does it take to be Reno once more?
We spoke to Sutton Foster about the cathartic rehearsal process of Anything Goes, as well as exploring London life for the first time with her family.
Who do you think would cope better in isolation, yourself or Reno?
Me, definitely. I think Reno needs more attention. She’s definitely an extrovert. She thrives in a room full of people whereas I love my couch.
Based on your time in the UK so far, how do you think British audiences will respond to Anything Goes and do you think British audiences will react differently?
I have no idea how audiences will respond, but I feel like after theatres have been dark for 16 months, I hope and anticipate audiences will be thrilled to be back. The show is a joyous escape, a fizzy glass of champagne. It’s the perfect tonic after a long drought.
How did it feel to walk into an Anything Goes rehearsal room again? What was that experience like, and are there noticeable differences between Broadway and the West End process?
It felt amazing to be back in rehearsal. Not only to be back in the room after so long but to be revisiting this show. Anything Goes was such a special experience for me 10 years ago and I never thought I would get to play the role [of Reno Sweeney] again. There are no notable differences. It’s a room full of unbelievably talented, collaborative, generous human beings. It’s all about creating the best version of this show for an audience. It has the same spirit. As musical theatre performers, it’s a universal sensibility – why we chose this profession.
Anything Goes marks your West End debut. Have you been able to explore much of London? What have been your favourite parts?
Yes. I’m here with my daughter and husband. On my days off, we have a family fun day. My daughter is four-years-old. The things we’ve enjoyed the most are the playgrounds and parks. Our favourite thing as a family has been the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park – we couldn’t get her out of it. We’ve been touring all the great parks. I love looking at all the flowers. We’re having an amazing time. It’s great being able to explore a new city.