Small Business Resources, Business Advice and Forms from

Clowning Glory, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally

By Jamie Painter Young
Publication: Back Stage West
Date: Thursday, December 18 2003
For many fans of the NBC sitcom Will & Grace the real stars of the show are not its lead actors, Eric McCormack and Debra Messing?talented, smart, and funny as they are?but its supporting cast members Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally. These two have taken Jack and Karen, who could have been the most

abrasive, self-centered characters Must-See-TV viewers have ever seen, and transformed them into a much loved duo. Their screwball antics have earned Mullally and Hayes two Screen Actors Guild Awards each in the past two years. They also each won an Emmy in 2000 for their work on the series.

Mullally had been pursuing a career in Los Angeles for more than a dozen years before she got the call for Will & Grace. Though she had been cast a number of times as regulars on shows such as The Ellen Burstyn Show, My Life and Times, and Rachel Gunn, R.N. and had guest-starred on many others (Seinfeld, Frasier, Mad About You, Wings, Caroline in the City, and Ned and Stacey, on which she first worked with Messing), it was not until she landed the role of the rich, boozy Karen Walker that the public took notice. Since then, she has appeared in the TV movie Winchell, in which she portrayed the wife of famed journalist Walter Winchell (Stanley Tucci), in the independent film Everything Put Together, and more recently in her one-woman musical, Sweetheart, which recently premiered in Los Angeles.

Hayes had never starred on a TV series before winning the part of Jack McFarland on Will & Grace. His previous experience included a stint at Second City in Chicago, a handful of unforgettable guest-starring TV roles, and, more memorably, the title role in the art-house hit Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss. Hayes received more recent acclaim as Jerry Lewis in the TV movie The Martin & Lewis Story and lent his voice to Mr. Tinkles in the movie Cats and Dogs. He can currently be seen in Pieces of April.

Back Stage West recently caught up with Mullally and Hayes on the set to find out more about their acting roots and their experience with the show. We found that the actors are as in sync with each other as their characters are?and can be just as magnificently bawdy.

Back Stage West: One thing you share, besides being hilarious and hugely talented, is your acting roots in Chicago.

Sean Hayes: Meg much more than me. I didn't do too much, but you go first.

Megan Mullally: No, you go first.

Hayes: I did a play at the Organic Theatre?now it's, unfortunately, closed down?and some stuff out in the burbs at Pheasant Run. So I didn't do too much. I was a musical director, and I was in a couple of shows there.

BSW: Didn't you compose something for Steppenwolf?


In addition, make sure to read these articles: