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Interview: Jane Krakowski 

Alex Woodward talks with Jane Krakowski

click to enlarge Tony Award winner and 30 Rock star Jane Krakowski performs at NOCCA

Tony Award winner and 30 Rock star Jane Krakowski performs at NOCCA

Jane Krakowski, in the parlance of 30 Rock character Tracy Jordan, is on her way to EGOT status: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, that is. She has Screen Actors Guild awards and Golden Globe nominations and is working on completing the acronym. The star of stage and screen — seen in her Tony Award-winning performance of Broadway's Nine and as haughty TV diva Jenna Maroney on NBC's 30 Rock — showcases her singing career for the Broadway @ NOCCA series Oct. 7, when she has a reunion of sorts with fellow performer and Broadway buff Seth Rudetsky, who turns the show into what Krakowski likens to a "Broadway series of Inside the Actor's Studio."

  "You never know what Seth's going to bring out," Krakowski says. "You tend to get stories people didn't intend to tell — insider stories, last-minute changes of songs. It's more of a freestyle evening."

  The duo will pull songs from Krakowski's career, including arrangements from her debut album The Laziest Gal in Town and, possibly, her show-stopping performance of "A Call from the Vatican" from Nine.

  "We'll have a conversation or two prior to be 'prepared' for the evening," Krakowski says, using "prepared" loosely. "When you work with Seth you have to come in with the set list then expect anything to happen."

  Krakowski was born in New Jersey to theater-loving parents, who instead of hiring babysitters brought their daughter to rehearsals and performances. Krakowski grabbed cheap seats for "every Broadway show" and even caught a rose from stage legend Chita Rivera during a performance of Chicago. "Skip ahead I don't know how many years later, and I'm working with her on a Broadway show in Nine," she says. "It's one of those moments that's like, 'How did this all happen?' Those performances were so influential and so ingrained in my musical theater memory box."

  Krakowski — known for her cabaret charm, humor and sass — says women in Bob Fosse's productions also inspired her. "In movies and musicals, they didn't have to be ingenues," she says. "They had sassy, sexy, strong, women characters."

  During 30 Rock's seven seasons, Krakowski shone as Jenna Maroney — a character that never grew out of being a bratty but good-intentioned musical theater kid — and earned four Emmy nominations for the role. On the series finale earlier this year, Krakowski sang the theme to long-running gag-film The Rural Juror — a simultaneously hilarious and touching ending to the series.

  "It was the best job I think I've had," she says. "I loved playing Jenna. She was outrageous and hilarious to me at all times, and I loved that. What was really special to me was I got to do the last 30 Rock song — I never expected that, nor for it to close the episode. That was really touching to me. I loved that side of Jenna, and how much they've used that in a comedic way through the series. Getting to end the series saying 'These were the best days of my flurm' sort of sums it all up."

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