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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt rock out as Nancy and Beth May 7
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-05-07

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Actresses Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt are hitting the road as the band Nancy and Beth. The two met while making the indie film Somebody Up There Likes Me and discovered a music partnership together. The quirky duo now cover everything from jazz to George Jones.

Many may know Mullally from playing Karen Walker on the sitcom Will & Grace, while Hunt has appeared on Friday Night Lights and Californication.

Windy City Times: Did you ever think this duo would be a thing when you first met?

Stephanie Hunt: No, that's the magic of the whole thing. We are just challenging ourselves to see what we can get away with. It started when I played songs for Megan, and Nick needed an opener. Megan suggested me. I asked Megan if she would sing a couple of songs with me. There was a great audience response on our ability to communicate with each other onstage. It became apparent we had a simpatico and liked the same type of music. We got a whole band and started doing whatever we wanted. We still freak out that it's a real thing!

WCT: Where did the names Nancy and Beth come from?

SH: Those names came from the ether. Megan tapped into them. They were on a list that were presented to me. I called back immediately and told her it has to be Nancy and Beth. It's an inside joke that other people don't really get.

WCT: Do you know a Nancy or a Beth?

SH: No, but one of us is Nancy and one of us is Beth. We will never tell. When we are performing we are Megan and Stephanie.

WCT: Will you wear any outfits from the "Please Mr. Jailer" video?

SH: The dresses we made shapes in wouldn't work when we go upside down and spread eagle in the show. Finding costumes that work with the choreography is a little bit trickier for a whole show.

WCT: And then packing them…

SH: Exactly. We haven't worked costume changes into a set of the show.

Megan Mullally: We have Adidas tracksuits in two different colors. We also dress alike for soundcheck and after the show.

SH: We are a one-costume kind of band.

WCT: There's a full band?

SH: Yes. All of the musicians are amazing. They can play every genre and everybody sings. There's a lot of harmony.

WCT: Where did the names Nancy and Beth come from?

SH: Those names came from the ether. Megan tapped into them. They were on a list that were presented to me. I called back immediately and told her it has to be Nancy and Beth. It's an inside joke that other people don't really get.

WCT: Do you know a Nancy or a Beth?

SH: No, but one of us is Nancy and one of us is Beth. We will never tell. When we are performing we are Megan and Stephanie.

WCT: Will you wear any outfits from the "Please Mr. Jailer" video?

SH: The dresses we made shapes in wouldn't work when we go upside down and spread eagle in the show. Finding costumes that work with the choreography is a little bit trickier for a whole show.

WCT: And then packing them…

SH: Exactly. We haven't worked costume changes into a set of the show.

Megan Mullally: We have Adidas tracksuits in two different colors. We also dress alike for soundcheck and after the show.

SH: We are a one-costume kind of band.

WCT: There's a full band?

SH: Yes. All of the musicians are amazing. They can play every genre and everybody sings. There's a lot of harmony.

WCT: Will your roadie Nick Offerman be with you?

MM: He is going to be with us. If we need a cable last minute, he will go get it.

WCT: Does Nick appear onstage?

MM: He certainly does. He fulfills a very integral function of which I won't divulge.

WCT: Describe the show to our readers.

SH: It's fun and filled with joy. It is probably not what you are expecting.

MM: Maybe for the first song people are excited if they are a Will & Grace song, then we get into something completely different. People can then learn what the band is all about.

I had another band before this called Supreme Music Program with the same drummer.

SH: There's not a lot of shows like it. The songs are very choreographed and clean. In between it's like two girls having a tea party onstage saying whatever they will say. There's an entertainment value to it. There's also chairs…

MM: The chairs are important now and part of the choreography. We got cheap chairs in the first place and now they are part of the act. There is a teeny amount of Walmart level padding on them since we do athletic things on them and don't want to be in the hospital.

There is some new choreography with chairs for next year with a Laurie Anderson song that is in the works.

WCT: Are there other cover songs you want to sing but haven't?

MM: There's a song called "Open Up the Doghouse" by Dean Martin and Nat King Cole, but we need a voice changer to sound like guys. We have done songs that were originally done by men and we don't change the gender though.

WCT: What do you have for the gay crowd for the City Winery show?

MM: What don't we have for the gay crowd would be more to the point. Do I hear Doris Day anyone? It's all so up that alley that I don't even know where to start!

WCT: You have performed many musicals over the years. Do you have a favorite?

MM: Mine is Cabaret. I do like some of the weirder ones like Urinetown, then again I love A Little Night Music.

SH: I grew up singing Gypsy and listening to My Fair Lady.

WCT: You are still based in Texas, Stephanie?

SH: Yes. That's where I am from. I lived in LA for six years, but moved back to Texas a few years ago. I do the writing and music thing here.

WCT: How do you get together with Megan?

SH: I go to LA quite a lot to work on things. I will come over and pop in. There is a free-wheeling vibe to it all. We do rehearse in a dance studio to really work it out.

WCT: Megan, have you started filming the next season of Will & Grace?

MM: We start filming in July, just a few days after this tour is over. I'm just so happy that the writing is as good as its ever been. It's vey exciting.

See Nancy and Beth at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., on May 7 with more information and tickets at CityWinery.com with music at NancyandBeth.com .


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