Megan Mullally, more than just Karen
When a show kicks off with a big, belting rendition of Sondheim calibre, expect the unexpected. This was especially true during actress Megan Mullaly's unique show at The Broad Stage.
Once the opening number was done, Mullally and musician/radio host Seth Rudetsky settled into a talk show-esque setting on Saturday night to dish about the star’s life, making the audience feel like a welcome guest at a casual get together.
Those attending the one night show learned about the Will & Grace scene-stealer, such as her first TV role and how she was up for a lead role in the 1990 film "Dick Tracy," directed by Warren Beatty.
She met with Beatty at his home and left proudly with her “womanhood intact.”
Mullally’s talent with the material is unquestionable, with each song being of record quality. Some would find it hard to believe this was her second performance of the night. Mullally and Rudetsky both performed in a way that expressed deep love and passion for these songs and Broadway in general.
Aside from the performances, Mullally took time to indulge the audience with, at times, knife-edged humor.
When she recounts how her parents kept a collection of Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand records, Mullally quips “apparently my parents were gay.”
The performances Mullally has under her belt include the brassy "Look What Happened to Mabel," "Broadway Baby", and a breathlessly fast-paced and funny "Could I Leave You," the latter two from Sondheim’s musical Follies. Her solo highlight, another from Follies, is a chilling rendition of "I’m Losing My Mind," a touching song about the character Sally Durant's obsessive preoccupation with her idealized lover.
The crowd’s early grumblings due to Mullally's also famous spouse Nick Offerman bailing on his expected appearance, were sated due to the excellence of the show itself.
Offerman, who stars as Ron Swanson on the hit TV show "Parks and Recreation", appeared via a pre-recorded video in what can only be called a meticulously well-timed Q&A; session, with Rudetsky doing live questioning to Offerman’s recorded responses.
Mullally also included Stephanie Hunt from Friday Night Lights and Californication, to form a vocal duo titled "Nancy and Beth."
They performed old soul rhythm & blues songs "Please Mister Jailer" and "One Mint Julep," intertwining their voices in fluid fluctuations.
Though Mullally relegated discussion of her iconic character Karen from "Will & Grace" for last, she beamed over how much she loved doing her character as often as possible. She admitted that the entire main cast of the show were initially reluctant to join production, but when they did, the rest was history.
With her blend of fun and amusing stories about celebrities like Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell and broadway legends Elaine Stritch and Carol Channing, along with well performed Broadway and musical staples, Mullally provided a fun show about show business.
Mullally's performance was part of a series, Broadway At The Broad, the next installment of which will be Mar. 29 starring Adam Pascale of the musical RENT.