Fans were delighted during the season 6 premiere of “Younger” earlier this month when the show delivered an instantly-iconic musical moment featuring its musically talented cast.
In an effort to clear the air with Diana (Miriam Shor), Liza (Sutton Foster) and Kelsey (Hilary Duff) met her at the famed show tunes bar in the West Village, Marie’s Crisis, where they subsequently all sang Dolly Parton’s workplace hit, “9 to 5.”
During a recent sit-down with AOL’s Gibson Johns, Foster opened up about the scene’s natural incorporation into the episode’s plot, which is why the Tony-winning performer thinks it ended up working so well.
“It’s been so wonderful, because people have responded so positively to it, but I think for us it really organic for our characters because it was totally plot-oriented bringing these three women together, so it was a fun way for them to infuse music into the show with a sense of humor, but also a purpose,” she explained. “For me, I never want to feel like my character was just breaking into song.”
Foster also said that it was the lengthiness of the scene’s shoot that actually ended up working in its favor.
“We were in there for quite a long time, so we got sillier and sillier as it was going on,” she told us. “Marie’s Crisis is really small — it’s the size of this conference room — so we were in there for probably about six hours, and it was freezing outside. We were trapped in there and all the cameras were handheld. It was so fun.”
As for the song choice, the actress thought that there was no other hit that could’ve worked for the scene.
“[Creator] Darren [Starr] said that there was another song that they were talking about doing first, but ‘9 to 5’ was just a perfect fit with three women bonding together,” she explained. “It was completely work-oriented. Any other song wouldn’t have worked.”
Another reason why the film was such a success is that it was completely indicative of the show that “Younger” has become: Thematically, it has become a show about female friendship in the workplace, which has truly elevated it throughout its run on TV Land.
“Originally, the show started off with the conceit of a 40 year old pretending to be in her 20s to be relevant in the workplace, and it’s evolved beyond that. Now it’s about women and how women survive as professionals and how they support each other,” Foster said of the show’s journey. “This season, we have these two characters: Quinn Laura Benanti’s character, who has one idea of how women can get ahead and it’s basically being out for yourself and not about camaraderie and then there’s Kelsey’s idea, which is about friendship. But, now, Kelsey was being put in this position of power with the glass cliff: Is she being set up to fail? The conversations that we’re having on the show are expanding, and I think that’s why it’s continuing to live on. I always say the show’s about love, but every form of love. The female friendships and how they are navigating their lives on their own and with each other is the true heart of the show.”
Those themes of friendships are ones that Foster has also placed emphasis on while raising her 2-year-old daughter, Emily. The actress said that she watches “Sesame Street” with her in order to expose her to the importance of friends, community and family.
“What I enjoy about ‘Sesame Street’ is that when I watch it now with Emily, that I feel like I enjoy it as an adult and there are still lessons that I need to hear about community and family and friendship. We read a lot of the books, and she’s learning about that idea of friendship.”
Foster herself has done two projects with iconic characters from the children’s show, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. In addition to singing with Elmo on the show in 2011, the actress also starred in a recent anniversary video with Cookie Monster in collaboration with Lactaid. Seeing her mom hang out with some of her favorite characters isn’t something that Foster thinks her daughter has truly wrapped her mind around yet.
“She just knows that Mommy sings with Elmo, and she knows it’s me and knows Cookie Monster, but I don’t think she realizes,” she laughed. “She comes to visit me on set, but she doesn’t have any idea what I do. She just thinks I have some pretty cool friends.”
Watch Sutton Foster and Cookie Monster’s Lactaid spot below: