Kelly Bishop
Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Kelly Bishop, who Gilmore Girls fans remember fondly as Lorelai’s mother Emily, has joined the cast of GG creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s upcoming ABC Family drama Bunheads. Two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster stars as a trained ballerina-turned-Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries a man, moves to his sleepy coastal town, Paradise, Calif., and assumes an uneasy role at her mother-in-law’s dance studio, the Paradise Dance Academy. Bishop will recur as her mother-in-law, Fanny. (FANNY!)

Production on the series will start this spring, after Foster bids bon voyage to her role as Reno Sweeney in Broadway’s Anything Goes. (The date of her final performance has not been announced. Bishop, who won a Tony for A Chorus Line in 1976, coincidentally joined Foster in the production for five months as Evangeline Harcourt last August, and just left the show in January.) ABC Family usually debuts its originals in June, so look for Bunheads to bow this summer. While there will be the occasional dance number at the studio, the show won’t be Glee. It’ll showcase Foster’s acting. As Foster told EW yesterday, “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.”

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