RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Liza is 40 years old, newly single, and she needs to find a job. But the last time she had one, there was no such thing as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. And she's struggling to find her footing. That is the premise of a new TV Land show called "Younger." It was created by Darren Star of "Sex And The City" fame. Liza is convinced no one wants to hire someone who's been out of the working world for that long, so she gets a few highlights, works hashtag into her vocabulary and pulls off a pretty good 26-year-old.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "YOUNGER")
MIRIAM SHOR: (As Diana Trout) I'm not here to give you guidelines or hold your hand or God forbid ever read that novel you've been working on since college.
SUTTON FOSTER: (As Liza Miller) I understand. I'm a very hard worker. I will figure out how to make your life easier and how never to annoy you.
SHOR: (As Diana Trout) Tell me, Leslie, what would you say makes you special.
FOSTER: (As Liza Miller) I'm a grown-up. I don't think I'm special.
MARTIN: That was Liza applying for a job as an assistant to a fancy New York publisher who clearly cannot even get her name right. Tony Award winner Sutton Foster stars in the show as Liza. She joins us from our studios in New York. Welcome to the program.
FOSTER: Thank you.
MARTIN: So much of this show is about Liza figuring out this new world. Is there any part of that story line that's true to your own life?
FOSTER: Of course. I just turned 40. My birthday was on March 18. And when I started filming the show, I literally would have days, like, oh, this is what the young people are doing. Like I have no concept. You know, and I was grateful to have Hilary Duff, who's in her twenties, and Nico, who plays my love interest on the show. They're both in their twenties. So I would sort of stare at both of them, like what are they up to? And what, you know, what are they doing?
MARTIN: Can you talk a little bit about your character's relationship with Kelsey, who is played by Hilary Duff?
FOSTER: Well, what I think is really cool about "Younger" is that as opposed to relationships, or female relationships, being conniving or backstabbing or whatever, they're actually real friendships and women who are rooting for each other and who support one another. And I think that's really nice to see, especially on TV. And, you know, I think Hilary's character, Kelsey, takes Liza under her wing and isn't threatened by Liza. She's, like, I got your back, girl.
MARTIN: What does TV let you do that the theater perhaps doesn't allow?
FOSTER: All I've ever really done was theater. I've been working in the theater professionally for over 20 years which is insane. But I wasn't necessarily actively looking to do TV primarily because I was scared. But I did a show called "Bun Heads" which was on ABC Family. And when that came along it, like, rocked my world. It changed my entire perspective and idea about being on TV and working on a set and being able to go on a journey with a character. That's really exciting because when you do theater, you know, you tell the same story every day. But with a television show, I have no idea where a character is going to go. And it's really exciting.
MARTIN: Do you miss the audience? Do get an energy from an audience that you don't get in TV?
FOSTER: I'm, like, why isn't anyone applauding?
MARTIN: (Laughter) That was brilliant.
FOSTER: I need constant gratification all the time. But there is, like, you have that instant response when you're onstage of laughter - especially with comedy. I think that that's, like, the trickiest thing because so much of what I've learned to be a comedian is that interaction with an audience. So you can learn if a joke lands if an audience responds. And then the next night you can, like, try it a little bit different and maybe find new ways of, like, figuring out something. But you don't have that opportunity on TV. And you pray to God that you're funny and that things are landing. And most of the time, the timing is in the editing room, like how they cut together a scene. So you have to kind of just let go and pray that your editors have got your back.
MARTIN: You've played too big leading ladies on Broadway in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Anything Goes." Are you just looking for a good, juicy role or are there specific characteristics that you're looking for in the roles that you take on at this point in your career?
FOSTER: I'm always looking for, like, that left turn, like, the surprise, the thing that's risky or scary. You know, usually when something is really, really scary, and I don't want to do it, it means that that's probably the thing I should do. Reno Sweeney in "Anything Goes" was that type of role. I had a moment right after I got cast where I was, like, I can't do this. I don't want to do it. And I started to panic. And I almost backed out of it. She was just a scary character. She was ballsy and brave and fabulous and knew how to walk into a room and be the center of attention. And I was like, oh, I don't know who this girl...
MARTIN: You're telling me you're not those things?
FOSTER: No. I'm the girl that walks into a room, and I'm in the corner with a plate of shrimp, you know, trying to hide. So I was, like, I needed to learn how to walk into a room with, like, gusto.
MARTIN: How do you walk into rooms now?
FOSTER: (Laughter). I still walk into the room and head to the corner with the shrimp.
MARTIN: (Laughter) But if pushed you could be...
FOSTER: But if pushed, yes.
MARTIN: You could walk into the room differently. Well, it's been so fun talking with you. Sutton Foster is the star of the new TV show "Younger." It premieres Tuesday on TV Land. Thanks so much for talking with us.
FOSTER: Thank you.
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