BWW Interviews: Megan Hilty Talks Austin Concerts, CD, Smash, & More
Megan Hilty's professional career began on the stage - her Broadway debut was Glinda to Idina Menzel's Elphaba in Wicked - and has since transitioned to the small screen on NBC's musical drama Smash to her recently released solo album, It Happens All the Time (available in stores and on iTunes). She'll be returning to the stage at Austin's Zach Theatre on June 18 (shows at 7:00pm and 9:30pm), and she graciously took time to speak with BroadwayWorld to discuss her album, Smash, her upcoming concerts, and what's next for Megan Hilty.
You were in Austin relatively recently - what brought you to Texas?
I was! The producer of my album, It Happens All the Time, lives in Austin and so last summer I came down three or four times for an extended period of time and stayed in a hotel and would go work in the studio all day and go listen to music at night. Well, really, most importantly, I'd go to all the amazing restaurants there. I'm going to have to revisit all of them in the 48 hours that I'm there.
What spurred your decision to release a solo album?
It's something that I always wanted to do but didn't know what my voice was or what my sound would be. I always felt like I didn't have anything to say, so why make an album? And I never wanted to make just an album with all the musical theatre songs I knew - that wasn't appealing to me. We originally started out with a totally different concept - it was going to be all covers of top songs from soundtracks, and then Columbia started sending down all these originals for us to try out and so many of them worked out that we just we abandoned that original concept. It sort of turned into a break-up album, without us ever intending it to.
If someone had asked you 10 years ago where you thought you would be today, would it have been anything like your reality?
No! I would have told you the exact same thing that I would tell you now if you asked me what I'll be doing in 10 years: I want to be working, and that is it. I would have never imagined this, quite frankly, but I'm happy that I'm actually working.
How did starring on Smash change your life?
It changed everything! I dove into a medium that I had only dabbled in before. To be a series regular for two seasons taught me so much about what it takes to be on a TV schedule and work those kind of hours and just work in front of a camera in general. I spent years on a stage, so figuring out how to just modify it for a camera was great.
Will we ever get to see Bombshell in its entirety - a two-hour special, or perhaps even a limited engagement on Broadway?
It's definitely a possibility, but they would have to write it! Right now it's a bunch of amazing songs, but there's no book! Honestly I would love to meet the woman that could sing all those songs in a row, let alone eight shows per week. It would take a lot of work, but it's a great idea for a musical and it's great that people are excited to see something like that.
Definitely. After every episode, I'm left with the thought, "I want to see Bombshell."
Totally. That's one of the things I'm most proud of, about being part of this show. I was a part of something that got people really excited about live theatre. I'm always going to be grateful for that.
What's your next project?
I do voiceover stuff so I have some voiceover projects for cartoons. I just did an audio book for Revenge Wears Prada, the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada, which was a cool job. And concerts! I'm doing all these concerts. And I'm also doing Cole Porter's CAN-CAN [an invitation-only reading taking place in NYC in July] - we're doing a workshop. I guess they've reworked the script, so we're going to try it out for three weeks and see if anybody can do anything with it.
What is your view on social media and its value?
As much as I resisted it in the beginning, it's incredibly necessary. It's a great way to connect to people. It can be very humbling, too, because people can say whatever they want without having to say it to your face, so it's a double-edged sword. But I do think it's very important to have that connection with people.
What can the audience expect at your concert in Austin on June 18?
It's going to be a mix of musical theatre stuff, stuff from my album, and things from Smash. I'm going to try to get my boyfriend [actor/singer Brian Gallagher] to get up and sing a few songs with me. He's an amazing guitar player and singer-songwriter so I'm going to twist his arm and get him to sing with me.
Megan performs twice on Tuesday, June 18 - 7:00pm & 9:30pm - at Austin's Zach Theatre. Tickets for both performances are available at ZachTheatre.org.