Behind the Scenes with Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster talks about what Christmas means to her, and describes her experience making the annual holiday musical spectacular, 'Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir'. This one-hour holiday spectacular premieres Monday, December 17, 2018, on PBS.
- I am officially in the Christmas spirit.
It's really been a dream come true,
not only for me but for my family and everybody,
cause every Christmas is sort of different.
This one will be one that'll go down
in the memory book for a long time.
I had seen the space from the audience
actually a couple years ago
and when I first walked in I was like whoa,
they were like you should come sing
with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
and I was like that would be awesome,
and I just thought oh you know
that'll probably never happen.
♪ It's the most wonderful time, of the year ♪
I was invited a couple years ago
to sing with the choir but a professional conflict
came up and I was unable to do it
and I was so upset and so when the opportunity
came again I basically cleared my schedule
so that I could make it happen.
During the processional at the beginning of the concert,
it's actually really awesome because Hugh and I
both get to wear the period costumes
and kind of come out incognito and dance with everybody.
It's actually a perfect way to start the show
because I get to be with everybody else
and not have to just walk out in my sparkly gown all alone.
♪ Christmas, Christmas you have a wondrous power ♪
Oh, this old place.
When I came here, my very first rehearsal
and I walked onto the stage and then you see
the audience from the perspective of the stage,
it's impressive but it's not as scary
as it was being in the audience.
It's wild, there's 21,000 people
and it's hard to sort of fathom it you know.
When you first walk into the space you're like wait what,
and then oddly it changes when there's people
out their because all of those empty seats
sort of are intimidating and then
when the seats are filled, it changes.
For me, it's all about that we all
are celebrating the same thing.
We are celebrating this season
and we are celebrating each other
and we are celebrating love and joy and warmth
and it's just this room full of good will,
and so therefore you sort of forget
that there's 21,000 people and it all becomes very simple.
It was wonderful to be given permission
to just have fun and I think as soon as
I was sort of allowed to do that,
it's really sort of taken off.
Who here remembers eight tracks?
Show of hands.
Let me see, one, two,
this will just take a second.
My favorite eight track was John Denver's greatest hits.
They asked me what I wanted to sing
and the first song that I thought of
was Sunshine on My Shoulders.
I'm a huge John Denver fan.
I grew up listening to him, was one of my moms favorites,
and I knew that I wanted to sing that song here
and also to dedicate to my mom.
And I really wish that she could be here tonight,
but she passed away a few years ago.
So as I sing this next song for you,
I would also very much like to sing it for her.
I talk a lot about my family,
my husband and I adopted a baby girl, Emily,
and I said her name last night in the show
and a huge lump came to my throat
and that just took me completely by surprise
and I was like now is not the time
to have a breakdown on television
and in front of all these people.
And now every day, Emily Dale Griffin
makes our world young and fresh and beautiful,
so I cannot wait to show her A Charlie Brown Christmas
and sing this song along with her.
We always watch Charlie Brown Christmas,
that started when I was a kid
but it's just beautiful cause I think it reminds people
what the true meaning of Christmas is.
Especially cause it deals with how we all
get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas
and then it all comes down to Linus giving the sermon.
♪ Happy holidays to you
It's been amazing and overwhelming to be here
and to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,
I feel like I didn't know what to expect
so I sort of came into this just
heart open and eyes wide and I think the thing
that has surprised me the most is how emotional I felt.
I'm so overwhelmed by the community
and also by my entire family's here, my husband's here,
his mom, her husband's here, my dad,
his lady friend's here, my child is here.
It's just like overwhelming
and I feel it's just been a beautiful experience.