The Leading Ladies of Broadway: Sutton Foster

Kelly Ostazeski

Career highlights:

Many know her rags to riches story, or rather – ensemble to Tony Award winning triple threat leading lady. Foster was born on March 18, 1975, in Georgia, and relocated to Michigan, where she attended Troy High School. She took dance classes as a child, and at her first audition scored her first role as the title character in Annie. She was cast in The Will Rogers Follies tour and completed her high school diploma via correspondence. Foster then attended the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in their musical theatre program, but dropped out after a year.

“ Sutton Foster”  by SOwl34 (account not active) is licensed under  CC BY-SA 4.0

Sutton Foster” by SOwl34 (account not active) is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

 Foster made her Broadway debut in 1996 as Sandy in Grease. She then appeared in The Scarlet Pimpernel, as Star-to-Be in Annie, and then as Éponine in Les Misérables. She was then cast in the ensemble in the out of town tryout in the new musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, based on the 1967 film starring Julie Andrews. When the original Millie left the production, Foster was offered the role. The show transferred to Broadway, opening in April of 2002, to rave reviews for her performance. Foster then won the Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and the Best Leading Actress in a Musical Tony Award.

 Her next Broadway role was Jo March in the short running Little Women the Musical, for which she was nominated for another Tony Award. In 2006, she starred as the bride Janet Van De Graaff in Tony Award Winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone, earning another Tony nomination. Next was the role of Inga in Mel Brooks’ musical adaptation of Young Frankenstein. She played Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, and was nominated for yet another Tony.

 Foster released her debut album in 2009, called Wish, and did a concert tour across the country, including a stint at Café Carlyle in New York, where she recorded a live album. She appeared in the Encores! Productions of Anyone Can Whistle and The Wild Party, as well as the off-Broadway play called Trust.

 Her next Broadway role was Reno Sweeney in the 2011 revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. Her powerhouse triple threat performance won her a second Tony Award.

Kelly meeting Sutton Foster in 2007

Kelly meeting Sutton Foster in 2007

 She was cast in the television series Bunheads on ABC Family, but it was cancelled after one season. She returned to Broadway in Violet, earning yet another Tony Award nomination. She currently plays Liza Miller on the TVLand series Younger, which has been renewed for a sixth season. Her most recent stage role was in an off-Broadway revival of Sweet Charity.

 Foster released her second studio album Take Me to the World in 2018. Also in 2018, she reunited with the original Broadway cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie for a one night only 15th anniversary concert benefiting the Actors Fund, and she will perform in My One and Only, a Roundabout Theatre Company benefit next month.


Fun facts:

- Her brother is Tony Award nominated actor Hunter Foster, and her sister-in-law is Broadway actress Jennifer Cody

- She was married to Tony Award winning Christian Borle

- She is good friends with her Little Women sister, Megan McGinnis, who often performs in concerts with Foster, and is featured in a duet on Wish, and on Take Me to the World.

- She received an honorary doctorate at Ball State University, where she also teaches and collaborates with the theatre program

- Other TV appearances include: Johnny and the Sprites, Flight of the Conchords, Law and Order: SVU, Elementary, Royal Pains, and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

- She is married to screenwriter Ted Griffin and together, they adopted a daughter, Emily, in 2017

- Sutton loves dogs!

- She is also an artist and you can find her art for sale on her website

- Foster appears on Broadway cast recordings of Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women, The Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein, Shrek, Anything Goes, and Violet.

- Foster also appears on several compilation albums: The Maury Yeston Songbook, The Broadway Musicals of 1926, Julie Styne in Hollywood, Keys – The Music of Scott Alan, and Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project


Social media:

Verified Facebook Page: Sutton Foster
Twitter: @sfosternyc
Instagram: @suttonlenore
Official Website:


Songs to Listen to:
“Gimme Gimme” – Thoroughly Modern Millie

“Astonishing” – Little Women the Musical

“This is How a Dream Comes True” – Shrek the Musical

“Blow, Gabriel, Blow” – Anything Goes

“Sunshine on My Shoulders” – Sutton’s album Wish
“Give Him the Ooh La La” – Sutton’s album Take Me to the World