The last time a Broadway star performed a concert at Penn State, she went on to win a Tony Award for outstanding actress in a musical a few months later. That was Audra McDonald, and the Tony-winning performance was in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.
On Saturday night, another acclaimed Broadway actress performs at Eisenhower Auditorium. A few days later she begins rehearsals for the title role in a much-anticipated musical—Violet—that's scheduled to open on Broadway in April. Will Sutton Foster follow McDonald's path to a Tony win for best actress? Time will tell.
In the meantime, Foster makes her Eisenhower debut in a Valentine's weekend concert in which she'll perform show, pop and jazz songs with Michael Rafter, her music director and pianist, plus guitarist Stephen Benson and bassist Leo Huppert.
The celebrated actress, singer and dancer won Tonys for outstanding actress in the musicals Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She also originated roles in the Broadway productions of The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Women, Young Frankenstein and Shrek the Musical.
Broadway actress Megan McGinnis joins Foster for a few songs during the concert. McGinnis, whose most recent Broadway performance was as Éponine in the revival of Les Misérables, was in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Little Women with Foster. McGinnis also played Belle for a year in the original Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast.
Tickets are still available for the 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 concert.
Hear my interview with Foster. The webcast includes an excerpt from her first solo CD, Wish.
Read my feature article about the Broadway star.
As a concert artist, Foster has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's American Songbook series, Feinstein's, Joe's Pub and many other venues.
She also starred in the ABC Family series Bunheads. Her TV guest appearances include Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Flight of the Concords, Psych, The Late Show with David Letterman and Sesame Street.
Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a touring artist, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the concert and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints often fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.