Broadway Winter 2013/Spring 2014 Guide
by Whitney Spaner, 12/10/2013
Sutton Foster. Photo: Laura Marie Duncan
After heading up ABC Family's quirky ballet school series Bunheads, Sutton Foster is pirouetting back to Broadway to play the title character in the revival of Violet, written by her longtime collaborator Jeanine Tesori, who scored Foster's previous star vehicles: Thoroughly Modern Millie and the musical version of Shrek. Though Violet was first performed in 1997 at Playwrights Horizons, it didn't make the leap to Broadway; but a one-night-only concert event this past summer at City Center's Encores! Off Center showcase—with Foster as Violet—has left audiences wanting more. Set in 1964 against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the gospel-tinged musical, which is based on Doris Betts' short story "The Ugly Pilgrim," tells the story of Violet, a hyper-religious young woman with a severe facial deformity. Convinced that her favorite televangelist can heal the abnormality, she takes a bus from her hometown in North Carolina to visit him in Oklahoma. On the bus, she befriends two soldiers, one of whom is an African-American named Flick. They bond over their mutual experience of being judged by their appearance, and lessons are learned, not the least of which is "beauty is only skin deep."
American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. Previews start March 28; opens April 20.