Around the same the time Megan Mullally was settling into her breakout role as Karen Walker on “Will & Grace,” she also was building a band called the Supreme Music Program. The fruits of those labors will be on display at five performances in The City this weekend.
The Oklahoma City native serves as the band’s de facto artistic director, and though she didn’t write the show’s songs, she says they represent a close expression of who she is as an artist.
It’s not cabaret.
“I talk some between songs and there are some laughs, but it’s all very off-the-cuff,” Mullally says. “I don’t have set patter. It’s not a glitzy show. I don’t wear a spangly dress or anything. It’s just about music and storytelling.”
Her musical curation includes Randy Newman, Tom Waits and “a band called The Decemberists who I really like,” she says. “We do a very deconstructed version of ‘Ave Maria,’ so we throw Schubert into that, or Schumann … I get confused. It changes from show to show.”
In addition to Mullally, the band includes musicians Joe Berardi, Piotr Jandula, Greg Kuehn, Doug Livingston, Stuart Mathis and Larry Williams. They have recorded three CDs to date and a fourth is on the way.
So while there will be lots of different kinds of music, what there won’t be is an evening with Karen Walker.
“I try to disabuse people of that notion,” Mullally says, almost awkwardly. “Karen will not be appearing.”
It’s no surprise fans hope for a reunion with the beloved character. Mullally racked up four consecutive Golden Globe nominations, seven consecutive Screen Actors Guild nominations and seven consecutive Emmy nominations with wins for the first and last.
She’s not actively trying to distance herself from the role and admits missing the character.
“After that length of time and having such a great character, you kind of feel like it’s a friend of yours,” she says.
She was even considering a “Karen: The Musical” project with Casey Nicholaw and Jeff Marx of “Book of Mormon,” though the rights to the character were withdrawn by the “Will & Grace” producers.
“Sometimes people do come expecting Karen sitting on a pink pouf, drinking martinis. At first, I think, they’re bitterly disappointed,” Mullally says, “but usually by the end they’re very affected by what it is that we actually do. Ultimately it’s about the music and the musicianship.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco
When: 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $45 to $47.50
Contact: (800) 380-3095, www.therrazzroom.com