The Incomparable Jane Krakowski
By Chris Astrala
Jane Krakowski gives new meaning to the term “Triple Threat.” She has excelled as an actor, a dancer and a singer. And oh boy can she sing! These talents earned her a much-deserved Tony award for the Broadway musical Nine.
From Broadway to London, from the silver screen to television, Jane has performed with the best and along the way she has added many accolades to her list of accomplishments including the coveted Laurence Olivier award for her performance in Guys and Dolls opposite Ewan McGregor. Many know her best from TV as Elaine Vassal on Ally McBeal (Golden Globe nominee) and more recently as Jenna Maroney on the critically acclaimed 30 Rock.
I had the extreme pleasure of talking with Jane, and realized that although she is best known for her comedic roles she obviously takes one thing very serious, giving a great performance… no matter what.
Question: First of all thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. So let’s dive right in. Many know you as the sometimes-eccentric Jenna Maroney from 30 Rock, but I have to say I have a soft spot in my heart for Elaine Vassal from Ally McBeal. Which character do you identify with the most and why?
Jane: First, Happy New Year! I am so happy to get to talk with you and thanks for writing the article! I loved being a part of both shows. I suppose I identified with the character on 30 Rock a bit more – only because she, too, is an actress. I like to believe the similarities end there. (laugh)
Question: Who was your favorite guest co-star on 30 Rock?
Jane: There were so many! We were lucky to have so many amazing guest stars on 30 Rock. One of my early favorites was Paul Reubens. He was just hilarious and created such a unique and memorable character. It was one of the first episodes when the show went to that full farcical level. While we were filming that episode Tina (Tina Fey) humorously gave it the title “goodbye America” because she thought once that one aired we would be cancelled. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Fun little trivia re: that episode (actually called “Black Tie”) – Will Forte played a small part as Prince Gerhardt’s messenger, Tomas, and then later went on to be another one of my favorite co-stars as Jenna’s Shaman: Paul L’Astnamé . I also really loved when all the musical stars came for the “Kidney Now” episode. It was such an incredible day on set. All of the cast and crew and family and friends came down to be in the “audience of TGS” and getting to riff with Mary J Blige was just unbelievable to me. What an amazing lady!
Question: What do you miss most about 30 Rock?
Jane: Spending everyday with some of the nicest, funniest and most clever people I will ever know and work with, and getting to play such an exaggerated character as Jenna. It was so fun to play someone who had no grasp on reality. It gave both the writers and me the freedom to go as far as we could. We would start with too much and then still add more.
Question: Now that 30 Rock has ended what does the future hold for you?
Jane: Opening a mall near you!
Question: You did a guest spot on Modern Family; how was sparring with Sofia Vergara like and will that be a recurring role?
Jane: I love the show Modern Family so it was a real treat for me to be on it. They have the nicest cast and crew and they make an incredible show. It was so fun to get to go to their set and play with them all for an episode. It would be my pleasure to go back anytime!
Question: Next month you will be in Palm Springs performing at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. Will this be your first visit to Palm Springs and what are you looking forward to the most?
Jane: I am so happy to be able to come and perform next month at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. The fight is not over, we will always need to spread awareness and I will continue to want to do anything I can and lend my voice to help this most important cause.
IF YOU GO
20th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards
February 8 2014 / 5:30pm
Palm Springs Convention Center
Tickets: www.desertaidsproject.com or 760-323-2118.
In addition to Jane Krakowski, a star-studded line-up for this year’s Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards will be on hand to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the awards. Scheduled to appear:
Nita Whitaker LaFontaine
Ray Leeper and the “So You Think You Can Dance” All-Stars