If you took the kids to New York to see Shrek, the plump green girl you saw opposite the titular ogre was played by Sutton Foster. The singer just finished a two-year run as the ogre bride Princess Fiona in the Broadway production. You can hear her on a slew of original cast albums, including those for Young Frankenstein, The Drowsy Chaperone and Little Women. Lately she's been exploring talents beyond Broadway. Her solo recording debut, Wish, includes both pop and jazz songs, in addition to Broadway show tunes. And she paints.
This week, Foster plays herself in a one-night stand called an Evening with Sutton Foster, during which she'll sing a little bit of all that. Scene asked her a few questions about singing on Broadway and going solo.
Which was your favorite role?
I would probably say Fiona in Shrek the Musical. It was so much fun to play a bipolar princess in such a fantastical world — with ogres and talking donkeys and dragons and fairy-tale creatures.
Does singing in concert feel like being another character or like yourself?
It feels like I am sharing a more intimate part of myself with an audience. In a show I can hide behind the character, but you are much more exposed being in concert.
Wish includes other people's music. Do you write songs or want to?
I would love to be able to write songs but don't seem to have the talent for it. At this point I'm thrilled to work on existing material
Does your painting feel more personal because it is your own creation, not the interpretation of someone else's?
Singing and painting are both expressions of myself and are both personal. Doesn't matter to me what the source material is or who wrote what. Expressing yourself in any capacity in the arts is personal.
Does that green makeup make you feel like an ogre?
Only when I looked in the mirror! It was more of the padding and the largeness of the costume that made me feel like an ogre.
Sutton Foster performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 6, at the Hanna Theatre (2067 E. 14th St., 216.241.6000, playhousesquarre.org). Tickets: $10-$45.