When you think of Megan Mullally, you probably go right to her portrayal of the ferocious, rich, cocktail swilling socialite, Karen Walker, on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom, Will & Grace (1998 to 2006). She received seven consecutive Emmy nominations for that series, winning twice in 2000 and 2006, giving her more nominations and more wins than any of the actors on the show. She also received seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, winning three times in 2001, 2002, and 2003, and was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards for the same role. But, you probably don’t think of her as a singer.
She has been making music for a while. Mullally made her Broadway Musical debut as Marty in the 1994 revival of Grease, and she played Rosemary in the hit 1995 revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying opposite Matthew Broderick. She starred as Elizabeth in Mel Brooks’ Broadway musical version of Young Frankenstein (2007). She can be heard on the cast albums of all three productions.
Mullally is also a member of the band Supreme Music Program, who released three albums: The Sweetheart Break-In (1999), Big As A Berry (2002) and Free Again (2007). This band is terrific, with Mullally’s lush vocals and their crazy post-modern cabaret sound featuring a mix of Blues, Pop, Country, Folk, Rock, and Classical Music. I own all three on CD and they get plenty of play at my house.
Mullally met Stephanie Hunt in 2011 while they were filming Somebody Up There Likes Me in Texas. Despite their 30-year age difference, the two actors found that they shared a love of different genres of music and the same sly sense of humor. After goofing around on the set, they formed the duo Nancy And Beth, who cover contemporary and classic songs like Rufus Wainwright’s Vibrate, the Mills Brothers’ Cab Driver, Louis Jordan’s Jack, You’re Dead, and George Jones’ weeper He Stopped Loving Her Today. Their repertoire smartly shifts from reverent to wry wit. Their close harmonies provide a perfect blend.
Their self-titled debut album has just been released and I am totally digging their sound.
“The album is very celebratory of music and all the songs are completely different, different genres. And that has never gone away. That’s something we do and one of the biggest parts of our band, is that we celebrate all different types of music. And I think that it’s just become more refined because now we’re celebrating it with dance moves and hats and canes.”
“The weird “showbiz!” element is totally there and we love it. But it’s also within the context of this daring, not formal band. Like the band is very deconstructed. It’s not a comedy band by any stretch but Stephanie and I are both funny people and we pick songs that we love but then the way that I choreograph them, there’s often a witty element to the choreography. It just adds this crazy element to the band where I think people just sit in the audience thinking, what’s that all about? We are taking that idea of that old-fashioned entertainment that was so popular back in the day with musicals like Singin’ In The Rain, and we’re bringing it to this band with just a little bit more modern sensibility, and there’s kind of a wink involved. “We’re not taking ourselves completely seriously.”
We are all so excited for the new 12-episode ninth season of Will & Grace with Mullally and original stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, and Sean Hayes picking up their characters’ stories a decade after they left us in 2006. Will & Grace creators/executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will shepherd the new episodes, along with director/executive producer James Burrows.
Nancy And Beth are currently on tour. They play Chicago on June 16 and Boston on June 23.
Here is there new video. Can you dig it?