Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

A Chat with Megan Mullally
by AMY MATHENY
2003-11-12

This article shared 8008 times since Wed Nov 12, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Photo #2 Megan Mullally and Northlight Artistic Director BJ Jones, a circa 1979 production shot for Bagtime at Wisdom Bridge.

----------------------------------------

For years on Will and Grace, Megan Mullally has made us laugh out loud as Karen Walker, the pill-popping, boozing, callous, shallow, rich bitch we can't help but love. Her performance has earned her Emmy and SAG awards and a place in TV history. But what you might not know, is she is more at home making music than making us laugh. And she is just batty for a ferocious feline icon. Down to earth, gracious, and friendly. Think you know Megan Mullally? Don't be so sure. She couldn't be more different from the woman that comes into our livingrooms each Thursday night.

Amy Matheny: First, I want to wish you a Happy Birthday! ( Nov. 12 )

Megan Mullally: Oh thanks. Wow! How nice. Thanks so much.

AM: Take me back to your audition for Will & Grace years ago. What influences helped you give birth to the character of Karen Walker?

MM: When I first read the pilot script, Karen was primarily just Grace's secretary who was really rich and she was inexplicably working to keep herself 'real.' The character was very different in that original script. I wasn't sure what I could bring to make it new and fresh because Christine Baranski had just played a great rich sardonic character on Cybill. So I tried to put a spin on it. I don't know what kind of spin that was, except that ( Karen ) was just more unpredictable and crazier. And that's what they responded to.

AM: She manifested into an Americanized version of an "Ab Fab" character.

MM: Yeah! It's funny. A couple of people have said that to me. I had not seen that show back then, so I must have been fortuitously channeling those two women. I have since seen it and think they are amazing. I love that show!

AM: It's divine inspiration!

MM: Yeah, they helped me out.

AM: Karen and Jack will go down as one of the most hilarious comedic duos in TV history. What do you remember about your first day of working with Sean Hayes?

MM: I remember the very first time I ever laid eyes on him, which I find happens only with people who end up being very important in my life. He pulled up in his car and he had the biggest, brightest, most contagious smile I had ever seen and I thought, 'My god, he is so adorable! He seems so sweet.' And he apparently thought I was a big BITCH! He didn't really like me at first and I loved him! So there you go! He's so busted! We didn't have any scenes together in the pilot, but ( after that first day ) we totally hit it off and then we were best friends. When the pilot got picked up, we had our first scene together. It was the scene where we touch our stomachs.

AM: Who of the four breaks the easiest when filming a take?

MM: Sean. Then Debra ( Messing ) . Then Eric ( McCormack ) .

AM: So you are the best at keeping a straight face?

MM: No, Eric is the best at not laughing. I'm the second best. Eric is just the best at never going up on lines or breaking.

AM: I know that you are just a simple girl from Oklahoma City. So let's talk about your wardrobe on this show! Karen definitely gets the threads and the bling on the show! How fun is that?

MM: It's great. They ( the costume designer and crew ) just go to Rodeo Drive to Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, all those fancy stores and that's where they buy the clothes. And the clothes are not free so they spend some dollars.

AM: Is the ice real?

MM: No. [ laughing ] No. It's costume jewelry except for the rare occasion that there is something loaned.

AM: Will & Grace has so many enviable guest stars. Who has been your favorite?

MM: I loved Molly Shannon. I think she is so funny. Matt Damon was great.

AM: How was it playing opposite Madonna?

MM: It was interesting. She worked so hard that it was really very touching. She's a perfectionist and there's never been anyone on the show that wanted to rehearse more than Madonna did. She wanted to rehearse her scenes over and over again. She wanted to do the best job she could do and I really admired her for that. She has a strong spiritual commitment and it's real. I really liked her. John Cleese is on the show now. He is playing an eventual love interest of Karen's and he is just soooo amazing.

AM: What an icon to be acting with.

MM: Oh god ... I mean we have been so lucky to work with people like that. Gene Wilder as well. Two of the nicest people you could ever meet. John Cleese is coming back to do a few more episodes and I am very excited about that. Jack Black just shot a scene for an episode and he is so funny. He plays a doctor that gives Karen a physical. That's about all I need to say about that.

AM: Well, speaking of love interests, Congratulations on your recent marriage!

MM: Thank you.

AM: You and your husband Nick both had careers on Chicago stages. Nick worked with Defiant Theatre.

MM: And he is a Joseph Jefferson Award winning actor.

AM: And you worked with Northlight Theatre. What do you remember about Chicago theatre?

MM: I did three shows at Northlight all directed by Michael Maggio ( the former Northlight Artistic Director ) who passed away a few years ago. This was in the early '80s. I loved working there. The first show was What the Butler Saw and John Mahoney was in it.

AM: That was good prepping ground for Will & Grace.

MM: [ laughing ] Yeah! It's sex farce!

AM: ( Playwright ) Joe Orton was a wacky gay guy.

MM: Totally! Chicago is where I learned everything. I did theatre there from 20 until 26 so those were very formative years. That was my training ground.

AM: Do you both get back to Chicago often?

MM: Nick is from a small town outside of Joliet so we get back to see his family. But Chicago is my favorite American city! We've even talked about having an apartment there.

AM: What makes it your favorite city?

MM: I like all the museums. I love the Art Institute. I love all the theatre and the blues clubs and bars and the people are so great. I think Chicago is the perfect blend of a big city with a Midwestern finish on it. Everybody is really nice but it is a sophisticated city. I love the park. I love the zoo. I love the lake. The whole thing.

AM: I think Mayor Daley should ask you to be our new spokesperson.

MM: I know! I know! Where is my offer?

AM: Your CD, Big as a Berry, has a wonderful range of music from Beatles rock to Kurt Weill and traditional ballads like 'Danny Boy.' There also are quite a few country songs. Is that genre a favorite?

MM: I do like a lot of country music. Most of it is older though. New country music just sounds like pop to me. It doesn't seem distinct anymore. Our band is a songwriter's band. When I am picking the songs, they have to meet my rather stringent guidelines. The hard thing, since we do covers, is finding great songs. ( You have to ) find songs that tell a story and capture a moment in time for the person singing. I love my band ( Supreme Music Program ) . We have been together for six years. The core of the band is myself, and Greg Kuehn on keyboards, Joseph Berardi on drums and Stuart Mathis on guitar. And then very often, and at our performance in Chicago, we will be joined by a pedal steel player, Doug Livingston, and a viola player, Piotr Jandula.

AM: What is the difference being with musicians all day as opposed to actors?

MM: Well I have to say, I love my job on Will & Grace and working in television, but I feel most comfortable rehearsing and playing with the band or doing a play at this theatre called the Evidence Room here in LA which is where Nick and I met. With theatre and making music, you are just doing it for its own sake. It's happening in the moment. It's live. It's just very pure. You have a live audience and you are there to create the best experience that you possibly can. There is nothing Hollywood about it. Not that 'Hollywood' is a bad word, but there is nothing 'Hollywood' about the band. It's not commercial. It's just about the songs.

AM: You were on Broadway in Grease with Rosie O'Donnell and starred opposite Matthew Broderick in How to Succeed in Business. Is there a dream role that would get you back to Broadway?

MM: I think about it a lot. I don't know what the dream role is. I would love to do something in New York. There are shows I wanted to do but now I feel I am too old. I love Cabaret but I feel that the ( Sam Mendes ) production was the definitive production. Probably one of the two greatest musical productions I have ever seen. So I wouldn't want to try to top that. I am drawn to Brecht-Weill music but am not familiar with the books to those musicals. So I would have to do my homework.

AM: Is it 'Lonely at the Top?' as your Randy Newman song title on the CD suggests?

MM: Oh no. [ big laugh ] Not for me. I have husbands and poodles. Isn't that a great song? My two favorite contemporary singer/ songwriters without exception are Randy Newman and Tom Waits. On my other CD from a few years ago, which is hard to find since we only printed 2,500 hundred copies, we also did songs from Newman and Waits.

AM: What would people be most surprised that you do in your downtime?

MM: Interesting. Hmmmm ... Well, I love books. And over the summer we got a computer and I had never been online and I found my way to e-bay. And I started collecting first editions of literature and then I started collecting Edward Gory who I have always liked and that somehow wound its way down to comic books. I went into this phase where I was obsessed with old vintage comic books. So then I went into a comic store and started reading this new series of Catwoman comic books. And then I became obsessed with Catwoman. It spread to this new series of Batman that is really dark and the art is amazing and it is really not for kids. That is probably the last thing ( people ) would be expecting me to be doing.

AM: Having an obsession with Catwoman.MM: Yeah. I am really sort of ashamed to admit it. It's not like the Batman of 1973.

AM: And it's not Eartha Kitt.

MM: No. It's not Eartha. And it's NOT the last ( comic ) Catwoman who had really big boobs. It's really modern and smart and dark.

AM: That's probably a safe woman for you to be obsessed with now that you are married. Your husband probably likes that.

MM: That's right. [ A sly laugh ] Exactly.

Don't miss Megan Mullally with her band Supreme Music Program in benefit performances at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, Sat. Nov. . Performances are at 7:30 p.m. and at 9 p.m. ( 9 p.m. performance includes a post-show reception with Megan ) .

For information, call 847-673-6300 or visit www.northlight.org

----------------------------------------

----------------------------------------


This article shared 8008 times since Wed Nov 12, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, '9-1-1' actor, Kayne the Lovechild, STARZ shows, Cynthia Erivo 2024-04-12
- Gay comedian/filmmaker Jerrod Carmichael criticized Dave Chappelle, opening up about the pair's ongoing feud and calling out Chappelle's opinions on the LGBTQ+ community, PinkNews noted, citing an Esquire article. Carmichael ...


Gay News

WORLD Uganda items, HIV report, Mandela, Liechtenstein, foreign minister weds 2024-03-21
- It turned out that U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator Jay Gilliam traveled to Uganda on Feb. 19-27, per The Washington Blade. He visited the capital of Kampala and the nearby city of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer musicians, Marvel situation, Elliot Page, Nicole Kidman 2024-03-21
- Queer musician Joy Oladokun released the single "I Wished on the Moon," from Jack Antonoff's official soundtrack for the new Apple TV+ series The New Look, per a press release. The soundtrack, ...


Gay News

RuPaul finds 'Hidden Meanings' in new memoir 2024-03-18
- RuPaul Andre Charles made a rare Chicago appearance for a book tour on March 12 at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. Presented by National Public Radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM, the talk coincided with ...


Gay News

Oprah, Niecy Nash-Betts honored at GLAAD Media Awards 2024-03-15
- Oprah Winfrey and Niecy Nash-Betts were honored at the 35th Annual GLAAD Media Awards that took place in Los Angeles at The Beverly Hilton on March 14. Winfrey received the Vanguard Award, introduced by iconic Chicago ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jinkx Monsoon, Xavier Dolan, 'Frida,' Lena Waithe, out singer 2024-03-08
- Two-time RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon is headed back to the New York stage, joining off-Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey beginning April 2, according to Playbill. The casting makes Monsoon the first drag ...


Gay News

Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez is set to slay at The Big Gay Cabaret 2024-03-05
- Out and proud performer Jai Rodriguez is set to play at The Big Gay Cabaret this March for three days. Presented by RuPaul Drag Racer Ginger Minj, this monthly series highlights the wide world of cabaret ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer actors, icons duet, Hunter Schafer, Oscars, Elizabeth Taylor 2024-03-01
- Queer actor Kal Penn is set to star in Trust Me, I'm a Doctor—a film that chronicles the final days of actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, whose overdose death in 2007 at age 39 sparked a tabloid ...


Gay News

SAG Awards honor Streisand, few LGBTQ+ actors 2024-02-25
- Queer entertainers made their mark—although not a major one—at the 2024 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, held Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. The event was live-streamed on Netflix for the first time. Indigenous and Two-Spirit actor ...


Gay News

THEATER Dot-Marie Jones talks Goodman production, 'Glee,' 'Bros' 2024-02-12
- Running through Feb. 18 at the the Goodman Theatre, the production Highway Patrol works with a script conceived entirely from Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany's (TV's China Beach) digital archive of hundreds of tweets and direct messages ...


Gay News

GLAAD finds missed chances for LGBTQ+ inclusion in Super Bowl ads 2024-02-12
--From a press release - Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024 — GLAAD is reacting to a lack of LGBTQ storytelling in ads that aired duringSuper Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 and is reminding brands, corporations and advertising agencies why including the LGBTQ ...


Gay News

SAVOR 'The Bear,' new pizza lounge, Chicago Black Restaurant Week 2024-02-11
- "Bear" necessities: The third season of the Chicago-set series The Bear will debut in June, per Variety. FX chairman John Landgraf made the announcement during the network's presentation at the Television Critics Association's winter 2024 press ...


Gay News

Quantum Leap reboot springs into LGBTQ+ representation 2024-02-09
- Through the magic of television, Quantum Leap is once again jumping into the past to bounce back into the future—and in a recent episode, "The Family Trasure," non-binary artist and performer Wilder Yuri and writer Shakina ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Raven-Symone, women's sports, Wayne Brady, Jinkx Monsoon, British Vogue 2024-02-09
- In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Tom Holland, Bowen Yang, Pet Shop Boys, Mariah Carey 2024-02-02
- In the wake of Nigel Lythgoe exiting So You Think You Can Dance, queer personality JoJo Siwa is returning to the series, per Deadline. Siwa, who was a judge on season 17 of the Fox show, will replace Lythgoe, who left ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.