From lighting up the small screen with her infectious smile and a larger-than-life personality in Younger to headlining Broadway musicals, Sutton Foster is what’s known in musical theater jargon as a triple-threat — she sings, dances and acts, and does all of them exceedingly well.
The Tony-winning actress, who currently stars as Liza in TV Land’s Younger, will headline Westport Country Playhouse’s gala on Saturday, Sept. 8, singing Broadway standards with a trio of musicians. The gala’s proceeds will benefit the non-profit, professional theater, now in its 88th season.
“Sutton effectively stops whatever Broadway show she’s in with her amazing combination of talents in dance, song, and a wicked sense of humor,” said Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director. “I can’t wait to see her on our stage. She’s a dazzling throwback to the great Broadway stars of yesteryear.”
The gala’s theme, Andalusian Nights, connects to the Playhouse’s fall show, Man of La Mancha, which will run Sept. 25-Oct. 13, lending an air of Spanish sophistication to the gala.
Most people who are not regular theatergoers think ticket sales are enough to support a theater’s costs, however Lamos said that isn’t the case.
“Ticket sales for our productions do not sustain us, especially at the affordable prices we offer,” he said. “So it is vitally important that our gala brings in a high six-figure contribution to our yearly budget.”
Planning a successful gala, which includes a silent auction as well as entertainment starts as soon as one ends and takes all year.
“Our passionate gala committee and our staff members outdo themselves at perfectionism, improving the event year after year. I like to think of it as our sixth production of the season, even though it only lasts one magical night,” he said. “The annual gala raises truly needed, necessary and significant funds.”
Foster has starred in multiple Broadway shows, including her Tony-winning performance as Reno Sweeney in the 2011 Broadway revival of “Anything Goes,” which was her second Tony. She won her first Tony in 2002 as Millie Dillmount in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
The gala dinner for patrons and benefactors precedes Sutton’s performance and includes a private cocktail hour, silent auction, and live Spanish guitar music. Following the performance will be an after-party with tapas and a live band. The evening will recognize Eunice and David Bigelow, co-chairmen of the Bigelow Tea Company, headquartered in Fairfield, who will receive the Playhouse’s 2018 Leadership Award for their vision and philanthropy. “They are the rare philanthropists who bring a joyous interest in how Playhouse staff and artists make theater, cultivating a closeness to both the technical and artistic process,” said Lamos.
For more information or tickets, contact Aline O’Connor, associate director of development, at 203-571-1138, or [email protected]