Dan Adler on Sutton Foster at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Austin Symphony Orchestra does not support cologne use. I normally wouldn’t care about anyone’s views on cologne use – I don’t use cologne myself and I don’t plan on using cologne in the future. But I did care last Saturday, as I sat googling proper cologne use, mostly because the elderly man sitting two seats down from me would not have been welcomed in Austin. He was welcome in Baltimore, and tonight the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was hosting Sutton Foster.
Foster’s name should be familiar to most. Her popularity rose in the early 2000s with her Tony Award-winning performances in Thoroughly Modern Millie and the Broadway revival of Anything Goes ten years later. Now, more mature in her career, Foster has ironically grown into younger roles. She stars on the TV Land show Younger, where she plays a 40-year-old housewife pretending to be 26. The show indirectly comments on being young and energetic to remain relevant in pop culture – or at least pokes fun at it.
Unlike Foster’s millennial-posse on TV, the BSO’s fans were more expected: older, but with a few young 20-somethings (including myself). At the performance start, Foster strutted out on stage in a long-blue dress, ready to reprise her performance from Anything Goes. Her initial impression on stage – a little hunched, yet with a wide-grin and heightened innocence – did not display someone in the music and TV industry for 16+ years. Foster still seemed to have a youthful-amazement with the world she had matured in, and she embraced this innocence.
Throughout the evening, Foster welcomed special guests including Younger co-star Nico Tortorella, and Broadway performer, Megan McGinnis. In addition to classic repertoire, such as “If I Were a Bell” from Guys and Dolls, Foster changed up the pace with pop songs from her childhood, such as “Sunshine On My Shoulders” by John Denver. I’ll be honest and say I had to google Denver mid-performance, but regardless of the genre, Foster performed each song immaculately.
The orchestra was on point too, with Jack Everly’s jazzed-up voice guiding the evening. Joined by Foster’s own tour musicians, including a small group ensemble that occasionally broke into its own interludes, the performers often transported the audience from a Broadway theater to a small jazz cafe. Prior to the intermission, the show featured a small tap-dance routine with Foster and Tortorella, causing the audience to respond by dancing in their seats.
Losing myself in thought, I almost tripped walking back to my seat over Cologne, who was oddly guarding the entrance to my row. He smiled politely, and signaled to ask what I was watching on my phone. I replied, and he responded with the usual amazement of technological capabilities, etc. I sat back down, ready for the second half, and thought about my life in 20 years, hoping that it would be a wild ride to get there, and that I wouldn’t be wearing too much cologne.
Dan Adler is a child trapped in a young-adult’s body pretending to be much older than he should be. He enjoys good music and math. You can check out his blog at dadler.co/engineering-beauty.