BWW Interviews: MEGAN HILTY on Her Recent CD Release, Performing with the Cincinnati Pops and More!

BWW Interviews: MEGAN HILTY on Her Recent CD Release, Performing with the Cincinnati Pops and More!

Megan Hilty will perform with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra January 24-26, 2014. Hilty made her debut with the Cincinnati Pops back in 2009 when she stepped in at a moments notice for an ailing Kristin Chenoweth. Audiences were blown away and her return has been eagerly anticipated ever since.

Hilty currently stars alongside Sean Hayes in NBC's comedy "Sean Saves the World." Hilty most recently starred as the seasoned triple-threat Ivy Lynn in NBC's musical drama "Smash" for two seasons. In March 2013, Hilty released her debut solo album, "It Happens All the Time," through Sony Music in a partnership between Sony Masterworks and Columbia Records. The album includes fresh interpretations of compositions by contemporary songwriters and producers. Hilty recently wrapped production on Summertime Entertainment's animated film "Dorothy of Oz" with Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Dancy and Lea Michele, slated for release in 2014.

Are you excited to return to Cincinnati? The last time you were here was in 2009 with the Cincinnati Pops.

Yea, I'm totally excited. 2009 was my very first symphony experience so I'm excited to come back with a little bit of experience under my belt.

How long will you be in Cincinnati in preparation for the show?

I get in the day before the first show and then we do rehearsal the day of and then we do the 3 shows. That's pretty standard for a symphony show though, because the musicians are so incredible, they don't need much rehearsal time.

What was the process like of creating your recent CD, "It Happens All the Time?"

It was originally going to a bunch of covers. I knew I wanted to do something a little different from what I normally doing which is musical theater. We were going to do songs from a bunch of my favorite movies and then the label kept sending me original songs and some worked so its half covers and half originals. It ended up kind of being like a breakup album. There is a theme to all the songs that made it. It wasn't suppose to be a break up album but it's something that everyone has been through so it's always something to make albums about.

Having mostly done Broadway work, how big of a change is it doing television now?

Its huge. What is great about it is we film in front of a live studio audience for "Sean Saves the World" so its like doing a play but with cameras there. Its a lot of fun.

What's the difference between doing a half comedy like "Sean Saves the World" versus "Smash" which was an hour show with recording time involved?

It's completely different. Smash had the single camera element and the musical numbers element making it way more time consuming. We could end up pulling 16 hour days and shot into the weekend. Sitcoms are Monday-Friday with one long day a week and then the rest in rehearsal where they rewrite the scripts. We have weekends off, nights free (except shooting night), 3 weeks on and 1 week off. It's great because it makes it so I can do concerts like this. I get the best of both worlds.

What's it like being in show with Sean Hayes? Did that relationship build while shooting "Smash" together?

It didn't hurt that we worked together before (laughs). I think people assume that since we worked together on "Smash" that they called me up and were like, "Hey do you want this part?" But they were really like, "Hey do you want to audition for this part just like everyone else?" But part of the audition was a chemistry read so that didn't hurt to have known Sean from before. And Sean is the loveliest man on the planet. He is so funny, charming, and friendly and he cares so much about everyone around him so it's just really great to get to work with him everyday.

What was the turnaround like from audition to getting the part on "Sean Saves the World" being that the role was a recast?

It was very quick. As soon as I heard about this I said to my now husband Brian (Gallagher) that we have to be prepared to move to LA in a couple of weeks. And that is exactly what happen.

How do you feel about doing a show where you aren't singing?

It's wonderful. I always want to keep doing things that are unexpected because I feel like that can limit a person. It's kind of like the idea that went behind making my album; I didn't want to do what was expected. I think the only way you can really grow is if you push yourself and put yourself in uncomfortable positions and doing things that you're not use to, it's exciting.

I recently saw the trailer for "Dorothy of Oz," how was being part an animated movie?

It was great. That is kind of my side job, doing voice over stuff. That particular film, I think, I have worked on for about 5 years. The cast is ridiculous and I was hired to do it before "Smash" so I really was a nobody, not that I'm much of a somebody now but like, I was really less of a somebody (laughs). It was so much fun bragging about doing a film with Hugh Dancy and Lea Michele and all these people, even though I have never met them.

Do you sing in the film?

I do, I sing 3 songs. I sing a trio with Hugh Dancy and Lea Michele. I also have a little solo number.

Any shows on Broadway now or that are opening soon that you are dying to see?

I'm so excited to see "If/Then". I really want to see "Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder."

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Kelly Thompson I have lived in Cincinnati pretty much my entire life. I went to Miami University for my undergraduate degree in History. Then I went to graduate school at East Carolina University. I worked as a graduate student in the Sociology department and graduated with my M.A. in Sociology in 2012. I have since moved back to Cincinnati and I currently work in the Marketing field. I came into the appreciation of theater at maybe a later age than most. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I saw the greatness of live theater. I have not stopped seeing shows since that time and I have seen musicals in New York, North Carolina, Chicago and of course mostly in Cincinnati.

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