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Bunheads wraps up its rookie season with the threat of Michelle leaving Paradise — again.
In the finale, airing Monday on ABC Family, Michelle (Sutton Foster) sneaks away to head to an audition for a Broadway musical, only to have the girls secretly follow. “She still has a pull toward having a career as a dancer. I think she’ll always have it,” Foster tells The Hollywood Reporter. “She feels like she’s missed the boat and didn’t really do all the things she wanted to do as a performer.”
“The girls watch her as she goes on this audition,” she says. “She still wants to see if that life has any merit for her.”
The audition scenes — which were shot over two days — were authentic to how they usually play out in the real world. “It was fun to shoot and anxiety-provoking because I used to go on all those cattle calls when I was first starting out,” Foster says.
With some of the girls from the dance studio watching from afar, some of them may take it upon themselves to go up for roles. “Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins), after watching the audition, begins to actually audition herself for the musical,” Foster says. “It’s interesting to see how it all plays out among the girls about what they want from their own lives.”
Whether Michelle leaves or stays will “always be a struggle in her life; that will always be an open-ended question for her,” Foster says. The finale, as the Broadway veteran puts it, will show Michelle becoming someone who is depended upon. “She’s still trying to find her own sense of self-worth, where she belongs, where she fits in, and the girls are depending on her more and more,” she says.
Though Fanny (Kelly Bishop) and Michelle “will never be besties,” they’re “creat[ing] things together,” Foster says of the unlikely duo, but “they still spar; they still have their moments.” “At the end of the first season, they’re really starting to work together.”
Looking back on the season, Foster highlighted her arc with her brother, Hunter, as standing out.
“Not only did I get to work with my real-life brother, it was awesome to see us onscreen together and having that character come into Michelle’s life was very revealing about her past, where she’s at now and really committing to staying in Paradise,” Foster says. “My brother and I never really performed together, so all the scenes we had, I found myself holding my breath because I couldn’t believe what I was watching.”
Though an official decision on a second season has yet to be made, Foster remains optimistic that Bunheads could live on: “I hope we get to do more and more, for as long as we all want to.”
Bunheads airs its season one finale at 9 p.m. Monday on ABC Family.
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