Bunheads Sutton Foster
Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC Family

Two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster will bid bon voyage to Broadway’s Anything Goes this spring (the date of her final performance has not been announced) to start shooting the new ABC Family series Bunheads, exec produced by Gilmore Girls‘ Amy Sherman-Palladino. She’ll star as Michelle, a trained ballet dancer who ended up a Vegas showgirl. After impulsively getting married, she moves to her new husband’s sleepy coastal town — Paradise, Calif. — and begins working at her mother-in-law’s dance studio, the Paradise Dance Academy. “My favorite show of all-time is Gilmore Girls,” Sutton tells EW. “Amy contacted my agents and wanted to take a meeting, and I kind of freaked out. I went like fan girl on her. We met for lunch and talked, and I was so thrilled. Then about two weeks later, she called and offered me this role. I flew out to LA, and met with her and the network, and then we shot the pilot. So it kinda came out of nowhere, but I read the script, and it just seemed like such a perfect fit for me and for what I wanted to do next. The opportunity to get to work with her and to say her words — I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.”

Foster describes the show as a fish-out-of-water story. “My character is kinda lost in her life. Her career is going nowhere, and this is just a brand new opportunity. So it starts off centered around this woman who’s just trying to redefine herself and find out what her purpose in this world is and how she can matter. Hopefully she will find it in this town,” she says. Now, for the big questions: Is Paradise the new Stars Hollow? “It definitely has a small-town feel. The bonus is it’s set near the ocean,” she laughs. “When we shot the pilot, we spent many days on the water, which I was like, ‘This is awesome!’ So it has nods to Stars Hollow but it’s got a California vibe.” Will her dialogue be fast-paced and filled with pop-culture references? “That’s Amy’s style, and this is definitely in that same vein, which is exciting, because that’s what I loved about Gilmore, too. But it has a whole new flair to it as well,” she says. Will we see production numbers in every episode? That one she can’t answer yet. “The show’s centered around dance. There’s one production number in the pilot, but I have no idea how it will parlay into the series. We’ll see,” she says. “I’m really excited to see where it goes. It’s so exciting to have so many shows on-air and coming on-air that are centered around the arts, and dance, and singing. It’s really cool.”

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