In an alternate universe, Sutton Foster would be on performing alongside Hugh Jackman in previews for the highly anticipated revival of The Music Man on Broadway. Instead, after months of quarantining outside of New York City with her family, Foster just began preproduction rehearsals for the show in person last week. "It was crazy to go from zero to a hundred," Foster tells Woman's Day of being back in the rehearsal studio. "It felt amazing to be back in a creative space, and singing and dancing and in a rehearsal room."
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, and things aren't quite back to "normal" yet, despite steps to move back to work. "Some friends were like, 'how is it?'" Foster says. "And I was like 'Well, it's kind of exactly the same, we just wear masks and we stay far away from each other.' And we don't hug; no one hugs. But we're still creating and developing and that feels amazing."
And though Foster is excited to be back at work — on The Music Man and also on the final season of the TV show Younger, which begins filming Oct. 12 — there are just as many obstacles to navigate upon her return as there were when she abruptly left the city at the beginning of March.
"These last six months have been challenging but have had wonderful silver linings too," Foster says. "A lot of family time and togetherness and cooking and spending time outside and creativity." So as things begin to shift, Foster is grappling with balancing her pre-pandemic, pandemic, and post-pandemic routines. "We've established a routine for the last six months and now I'm like oh my gosh, I'm going back to the chaos of New York."
And in the chaos of the city, there's a lot left to sort out."I'm trying to figure out how to navigate what this next chapter looks like," Foster says. Routines such as cooking her own meals — including a new soup each week as we enter fall, AKA Soup Season — and exercising at home are things she wants to maintain as she moves back into work, though with a new rehearsal and filming schedule she'll have less time for those activities than she did during quarantine. "It's definitely more challenging because I have less time," she says. "But I find that it's important, so I'm going to try to fight for that."
As she goes through a series of changes being back in the city and beginning work in person again, Foster is giving herself grace. If some of her healthy quarantine habits slide, so be it; she's only human. "I need to be gentle on myself," Foster says. "If I can't make soup this week or I'm not gonna be able to exercise today or whatever the case may be." The point is that she's thinking more about how she allocates her time, and how she wants to spend it as her schedule gets busier. "I want to reevaluate my time moving forward and how I spend it and allow for more space," she says. "I feel like I was so over-scheduled before quarantine, and I'd like to have more space, so that's something that's very much on my mind as I move forward."
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