Bunheads' Sutton Foster on Michelle's Return to Paradise, Even More Dancing and... Hubbell?

SUTTON FOSTER, HOWARD S. MILLERPut on your dancing shoes, because ABC Family’s Bunheads returns Monday, Jan. 7, at 9/8c. But will everyone in Paradise be able to get their boogie back after Michelle’s sudden exit?

Below, star Sutton Foster previews her former showgirl’s “sad” situation, whether her dead hubby (played by Alan Ruck) will be back and a song-and-dance scene that contains one of her favorite moments yet.

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TVLINE | Michelle had a pretty dramatic exit out of Paradise. Where does the new season find her?
She’s left Paradise. She’s in Vegas, sleeping on her friend’s couch and working as a magician’s assistant in Henderson, Nev., at a casino. It’s pretty sad. [Laughs] But things back in Paradise are about the same. The studio shut down after the whole macing fiasco, and the girls are scattered all about. Everyone’s just kind of at a standstill. And then through a series of events, we begin to find our way back to each other.

TVLINE | How are the girls coping in her absence? They really came to rely on Michelle.
Oh, I know! They’re doing OK. Michelle is a huge influence on them. Michelle came into the [picture] and stirred everything up. Everyone’s a bit lost. Michelle really screwed up… Hopefully, they will all be back together, and Michelle can be with the girls again. Everyone’s just at a standstill. No one’s really moving anywhere. Everyone’s just kind of stopped.

TVLINE | Does Michelle have her work cut out for her when she gets back to Paradise?
A bit. I don’t want to reveal anything because I love the way [creator] Amy [Sherman–Palladino] has written this. What’s wonderful is people see more in [Michelle] than she sees in herself. People see the good in her, see that she is capable of so much more. That’s what helps Michelle – the people see greatness in her, and Michelle can’t see that. I think that’s what ultimately brings her back.

TVLINE | It seemed like they were scaling back the relationship between Michelle and Fanny in the later episodes. Does that continue? Or will that dynamic be explored more?
That’s a big part of the show, obviously. A lot of that was probably just introducing the girls’ storylines and really broadening the show as a whole. But Fanny and Michelle are very much a part of the back half of the season.

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TVLINE | I was also surprised that it took Michelle as long as it did to start working at the ballet studio, so there wasn’t quite as much dance as I was expecting in the beginning. Does the fact that Michelle’s in a different place and job mean we won’t be seeing as much dancing?
No. Actually, there’s more dance in the back half [of the season] than there was in the first half. There’s quite a bit of dance going on. Michelle coming into Paradise and becoming part of the dance studio, if it happened right away, it’s almost too easy. This is major, finding a whole new life and unraveling that plot. Amy and the writers wanted things to unravel very organically. That took time… Michelle is becoming more committed to her life in Paradise in the back half of the season. There’s a lot of dance. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

TVLINE | On a related note, my favorite scenes were Michelle’s recurring dream/dance sequences. Is that a tool that’s going to carry over into the new episodes?
There hasn’t been one yet. There may be. I’m not sure. It’s a great tool to see Michelle’s continued pull towards a professional career and also an opportunity to sing and dance. I have a feeling that there will be more of that down the road, but I don’t know for sure.

TVLINE | Does that mean you haven’t sung and danced this season yet?!
[Laughs] I’ve definitely sung, and I’ve definitely danced… I’m not going to give anything away – just that it’s one of my favorite moments that we’ve shot so far.

TVLINE | Those dream sequences were a great opportunity to see Hubbell again. Will he be back?
I can’t say yes or no.

TVLINE | Is Michelle moving on romantically? They threw a couple love interests at her. Is anyone sticking?
I definitely think there’s some flirting and fun going around… Before Michelle can really find love, she’s got to figure herself out first. That’s what I hope for. I’d like for her to find some stuff out on her own, and then maybe love will come. So we’ll see. I don’t know what her romantic future is. I’ve been looking at Amy, going, “Is there anybody on the horizon? Is there anything going on?” But right now, she’s really just trying to find a foothold of her own that doesn’t involve a man or a guy being the answer. I think that’s kind of cool.

TVLINE | There is that hot bartender…
I know, right?! [Laughs] Godot is definitely still hanging around.

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