Cabaret Preview: SUTTON FOSTER (Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Samueli Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on January 5, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles


Sutton Foster, one of Broadway’s most loved and talented leading ladies, will make her Orange County Performing Arts Center debut January 6 – 9 in the star-studded Cabaret Series. I first encountered Miss Foster in the titular role of Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway; she was plucked from the chorus (a la 42nd Street) during out-of-town tryouts and proved that an unknown can indeed open a $10 million show. In fact, Millie turned out to be a rather flat outing for me, largely due to the sugary triteness of the book, lyrics and score. Thank goodness Foster was on board – a triple threat with presence, talent and charisma – to conquer the Great White Way with her Tony-winning performance, and she’s been center stage as Broadway’s darling ever since, creating memorable roles in a string of new musicals including Little Women, Young Frankenstein, and Shrek: The Musical.

My admiration was cemented when Miss Foster played in The Drowsy Chaperone. As Janet Van De Graff, the Big Star who longed for a simpler life, Foster stopped the show with a brassy, bold number in which she belts out that she’s tired of doing brassy, bold numbers. Although her voice does not carry the distinction of, say, Merman, Martin, or Verdon, she deftly blends her disciplined and vivacious voice with comic precision and leading lady lyricism. Plus, did I mention that she has gams that reach the heavens with a litheness and strength reminiscent of Cyd Charisse?

This would be the time to catch Foster before she stars as Reno Sweeney in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes at the Roundabout/Stephen Sondheim Theater opening April 2011.

photos by Laura Marie Duncan

Sutton Foster
Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Cabaret Series
plays January 6 – 9, 2011
for tickets ($74), call 714.556.2787 or visit OCPAC
for more info, visit Sutton Foster

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