Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel Palladino, had so much fun working with Sutton Foster on their beloved ABC Family ballet dramedy “Bunheads” that they made their first foray into Broadway thanks to the Tony winner (and current nominee) and her new musical, “Violet.”
“We bonded with the delightful Ms. Sutton Foster during ‘Bunheads’ and now we’ll be stalking her for the rest of her life,” Sherman-Palladino jokes to Zap2it while discussing “Violet,” which is nominated for Best Revival of Musical — along with Foster’s Best Actress in a Musical (as the title character), co-star Joshua Henry’s Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical for Leigh Silverman.
Adds Sherman-Palladino, “Sutton is a gift from the heavens. She’s incredible and we just adore her, and as sad as we were to see ‘Bunheads’ go out, it was quite a fun show to do. It brought us close to her [in] a lasting friendship for all times. When that ship sinks, we all go down with the ship together. So, you know, I’m not going to say it was worth it ’cause I wish the show was still going on, but at least we got that thing out of it.”
After Foster invited the couple to a rehearsal of her one-night-only concert performance of the lesser-known off-Broadway musical, they decided they wanted to be the ones to help bring the production to Broadway.
“We saw this unbelievable rehearsal of this show that we didn’t know anything about,” Sherman-Palladino says. “The Roundabout [Theatre Company] really wanted to do ‘Violet,’ but they needed some outside people because they were not budgeted for a big musical. They needed someone to come in and sort of jumpstart things and luckily we were there to help jumpstart it. We’ve been there the whole way, through a lot of the rehearsals, the CD recordings, the previews and now we’ve been helping them plan the Tony presentation.”
“Violet” stars Foster as a young woman embarking on a bus trip to see a televangelist whom she hopes will heal her facial disfigurement in the 1960s South. The music is country and folk-tinged, which certainly fits into today’s pop music landscape. The new production, with input of the original creative team, condenses the show into a tight, intimate one-act production.
Sherman-Palladino says although the show is less flashy than some productions — including its Tony competitors — it will appeal to a broad audience.
“I believe it’s the kind of show that even people who think about musicals are all about jumping around and about writing a song — some people just don’t like that — those people would like ‘Violet.’ it’s a human show. It’s not about breaking into song, and jumping around. The music is so wonderful; it’s something that I think would appeal to a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily go see a Broadway show.”
The 68th Tony Awards air Sunday (June 8) at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.