It’s easy to fall in love with Megan Hilty. She’s beautiful, kind, funny and has a voice that will leave you in awe.
The radiant actress made her Broadway debut in “Wicked” in 2005 as an understudy for Glinda and still remembers the first time she donned the Good Witch apparel in front of a crowd. It wasn’t long before she was doing the role full time.
In 2009, Hilty landed her second big Broadway show, playing Doralee Rhodes in “9 to 5: The Musical.”
Although a rising star on the Great White Way, Hilty rose to even more prominence with a starring role on the NBC musical dramedy, “Smash.” As Ivy Lynn, Hilty brought Marilyn Monroe to life and week after week gave millions of viewers a chance to hear her vocals shine.
“It was a dream job because it was everything I ever wanted to do in one job,” Hilty says. “Yeah, there were really long and really hard days, but I was surrounded by the most talented people in the world and I loved every minute of it.”
For many fans, “Smash” sadly ended after only two years but Hilty quickly landed a new TV role, playing opposite Sean Hayes in “Sean Saves the World.” That show didn’t last the season, but it showed another side of her acting ability—comedy—and her fans loved it.
“I just love working and there’s kind of no thing as an actor that just does one thing anymore so I just want to do everything,” she says. “I’m excited by different roles and different projects.”
In September, Hilty took on her most exciting role to date—that of mom to little Viola Philomena.
“It’s been great. It’s brand new and I love it,” she says. Surprisingly, Hilty’s lullabies aren’t getting the same reaction that her fans give her. “Right now, she responds better to my husband’s singing than to me. I think because I sang so much to her when I was pregnant that she’s probably sick of me by now.”
On Saturday, Dec. 13, the blonde bombshell will present “Megan Hilty’s A Kennedy Center Christmas,” her first-ever holiday concert.
“It’s a lot of holiday songs but I’ll throw some of my standard stuff as well—there will be stuff from ‘Smash’ and Broadway stuff as well,” she says. “My husband [Brian Gallagher], music director [Matt Cusson] and I have talked about doing a holiday concert for a long time and this is really a dream project for all three of us.”
Of course, Hilty is no stranger to the Kennedy Center—she’s performed several critically acclaimed shows over the past few years and this time will be in the intimate Terrace Theatre.
“It’s such an incredible space and the audiences there are so amazing and responsive and I’m so happy I’m doing this first holiday show at the Kennedy Center,” Hilty says. “I’m trying to cross off all of [Kennedy Center’s] theaters on my list. I’ll have one left after this one.”
Chances are, the concert will be recorded and may lead to either a live Christmas album or brought to the studio for more work—either way, Hilty says to expect a holiday album on the shelves next winter.
“We’ve come up with a bunch of fun holiday medleys and new arrangements, and they’re really fun for us and I hope other people enjoy them,” she says.
Hilty says she and Gallagher are somewhat “obsessed” with Christmas and consider the beginning of the holiday season Nov. 2—their wedding anniversary.
“I love getting together with family and friends, all the great decorations, and the Starbucks holiday cups,” she says. “We’re going to start a bunch of traditions this year with my daughter and figure out what our little family is going to do every year.”
Originally from Seattle, it was an 8th grade trip to New York City that ignited her interest in Broadway.
“We saw ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and it was amazing,” she says. “My mom started taking us to the theater very young and took us to a lot of national tours that came through. I remember seeing ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and feeling this is what I want to do.”
So, when she was able to ride Glinda’s bubble of stardom and sing songs like “Popular” and “One Short Day,” she had achieved her goal.
“I was pinching myself every day,” she says. “It’s one thing to work in this business, but it’s another thing to be really proud of the message you’re a part of and for my first thing to be ‘Wicked,’ it was literally a dream come true.”
Hilty hints that there may be some exciting news on the horizon for “Smash” fans.
“There is talk of there being a big concert next summer,” she says. “The fan base has just been growing and growing and growing since it went off the air and I think they want to put something out there. They asked if I would be available and interested in doing it, and my answer was quickly, ‘yes!’ I think there could be something coming.”
Plenty of offers are rolling in, but Hilty isn’t quite sure what her next role will be. For now, she’s content with concentrating on being a mom, doing some cartoon voice over work, and delivering a top-notch holiday concert experience.
“I’m just so excited for this show and thankful for all the people who came to see me very recently there, but are still coming to see this Christmas show,” she says. “It’s going to be fun and different and just a great time.”
For more information on the concert or to purchase tickets, visit kenedy-center.org.