Previewing the BUNHEADS Winter season with Sutton Foster

SUTTON FOSTERBUNHEADS is back with all new episodes next week, starting with their Winter Premiere on Monday, January 7 (look for Courtney K’s QuickTake next week).  When we left Paradise at the end of the Nutcracker in July fiasco, Michelle was hightailing it out of dodge, shunned by the town, and embarrassed that she had ruined so much for Fanny.  When the show returns, all is not well for our favorite dancers.  I spent some time chatting BUNHEADS with series star Sutton Foster (Michelle) about where we start these new episodes, what’s to come, working with her brother, and why this is a show people should fall in love with!

I’m so excited to get back to the town of Paradise!  Aren’t you?
We’ve been back in production and it’s awesome.  I love it!

At the end of the episodes, we kind of saw an explosion, I would say, of the relationships that had started – how much time has passed since we left the show and where we’re coming back to it?
I would say several months.  Michelle leaves town, leaves Paradise, because she just screwed up yet again.  It’s definitely after the summer, so the school season is starting back up.  Sasha’s back from Geoffrey, and Michelle is living in Vegas on a girlfriend’s couch.  She’s working in Henderson, NV, as a magician’s assistant and it’s pretty sad.  Everyone’s at a bit of a stand still.  Life has just stopped.  Fanny’s not teaching at the dance studio, the girls are kind of all over the place, and Michelle is kind of back to square one.

SUTTON FOSTER, HOWARD S. MILLERWhat I loved seeing the relationship that Michelle formed with the girls, and with Fanny.  How quickly do we get to see Michelle come back to Paradise, and how does that develop over these next few episodes?
I love the way that Amy has written Michelle’s return to Paradise.  Michelle has to come back, but how she gets back is really wonderful.  I think Michelle becomes more committed.  I think in the first 10 episodes, she always had a foot out the door.  She was very reluctant to have this world.  Very, kind of like, ahhh, I don’t know if this is for me, or if I should stay, always had a foot out the door.  And now, she’s become a bit more committed about really changing her life.  And her relationships with the girls and with Fanny grow.  It’s exciting.

I read that Hunter [Foster, Sutton’s brother] is going to be on the show, playing Michelle’s brother – what has it been like working with him, having him as a sounding board both on and off screen?
It’s been amazing!  It was the first time that we’d ever really worked together as actors.  We’ve had really wonderful careers, and just been on our own, and so to work with him in this way has been so awesome.  It’s been great for Michelle to have her brother figure come on the show because it just reveals so much into why Michelle is the way she is.  Scotty, her brother’s character is named Scotty, and he is just about as big a hot mess as Michelle is, so it’s kind of fun to see sort of two peas in a pod, going about, trying to find their way.  It’s a window into Michelle’s world.

It feels like the show has established itself, and now we’re getting to the point where we’re able to explore the family and extended stories of the characters.
Yes, definitely.  Things are just getting cracked more and more open.

SUTTON FOSTER, KAITLYN JENKINS, JULIA GOLDANI TELLESWhy do you think that this is a show that people should get involved in?
I think it’s unlike anything else that’s on TV.  I think it’s smart, I think it’s funny, I think it’s sweet.  I was talking to my brother about it because he was coming on the show.  He was like, there’s nothing vulgar on the show, it’s funny and witty and smart, and it’s about family, and it’s about creating a new, it’s so funny because it’s the tagline for ABC Family, “A New Kind of Family,” but it actually is that [laughs].  It’s like family is what you make of it, as opposed to it being like, blood.  It’s about the arts and about dance and music.  I don’t know – it’s authentic!  I think that’s one of the things I’m’ most proud of – we’re all actually dancers.  We all do our own dancing, and whenever we do a number, it’s shot live.  Every time I’ve sung on the show, I’ve sung live.  It’s not dubbed, it’s not pre-recorded.  I think that’s special, you know?  It’s authentic and real; it’s a fantastical little world that you can escape into.

You mention the dancing, and one of my favorite things about the show is how when I tune in, I’m learning about dancing through watching it, rather than feeling like I’m being forced to learn, or I’m just being taught.  I’m not a dancer, but I’m enjoying something new.
That’s cool – I feel that way, too. It’s a glimpse into this world!  The show is about this dance school, but it’s not necessarily about ballet.  It’s about the people in the world.  It’s about the characters and they just happen to dance, and I think that’s kind of neat.

What can you tease about what music or dance numbers we might see in this Winter season?
There is definitely a lot more dance in this back half of the season. Marguerite Derricks,  our choreographer, is just genius, and there are some really impressive, really cool numbers that have been shot so far.  There is a really cool moment between my brother and I, I can tease that.  As always, Amy picks all of the music for the dance music.  She always picks like really cool stuff, so there are some really cool tunes and music on the show, like “I wish I could find that!”  There is a brand new dancer introduced to the world – Jeanine Mason has joined the company, the cast, as a character named Cosette, and she’s a phenomenal dancer, and she does some really cool stuff, so yeah, I think the viewers will be excited!

BUNHEADS airs Monday nights at 9/8c on ABC Family.  For more information, head to their ABC Family site!