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Star gets a break -- the wrong kind

An arm fracture won't keep Tony winner Sutton Foster from appearing in the musical 'Drowsy Chaperone.'

November 04, 2005|Diane Haithman | Times Staff Writer

Breaking news: Sutton Foster -- star of the musical "The Drowsy Chaperone" -- fractured her arm during a rehearsal this week.

But the spunky performer -- who won the Tony Award in 2002 as a dancing Broadway newcomer in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" -- will go on anyway, even though she will be the only one in the cast who is actually in a cast.

"Chaperone" is scheduled to open Nov. 18 at the Ahmanson Theatre.

Of course, no one in the theater world -- where it's bad luck to say "good luck," so they say "break a leg" -- is laughing at Sutton's broken arm. Still, it has not gone unnoticed that Foster's mishap occurred as she and leading man Troy Britton Johnson were rehearsing a number called "I'm an Accident Waiting to Happen."

The number, as Foster described it Thursday, "is basically a song between me and my leading man. We're the bride and groom, and we're not supposed to see each other on the day of the wedding, so he's blindfolded and on roller skates."

Naturally -- what self-respecting groom wouldn't be?

"So that's the accident waiting to happen," Foster says, ruefully. "But unfortunately I'm the one who had the accident."

Foster found the incident particularly humiliating because it occurred not while she was performing any of her fancier tricks, which include -- or, rather, included -- a dive roll through a hoop, cartwheels in place and complicated lifts, all of which will be eliminated.

"I wasn't even dancing -- I was just stepping backward, and my feet went forward, and I fell backward and caught myself with my hands," she said. "And at first I was like, 'How stupid, I fell in front of all these people' -- but then I realized I was hurt." Despite the pain, Foster was still surprised that it was not just a sprain but a broken bone. "I've never broken anything before," she said, "so it's very dramatic and exciting."

This is the second bone-break to occur for Center Theatre Group this season: During the rehearsal period for David Mamet's "Romance" at the Mark Taper Forum -- though not actually in rehearsal -- cast member Ed Begley Jr. took a tumble off a trail bike and broke his pelvis. He went on with the show too.

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