NEW YORK (AP) — You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat waiters. So it’s refreshing to see Megan Hilty smile and warmly greet each of the men busily setting up dinner service at the Cafe Carlyle.
“Hi, good to see you,” she says, again and again to the white-coated staff. They smile back, beaming.
Hilty, the Broadway star and new mom, is sleep-deprived but happy to be doing a set of concerts at the famous club, where she made her debut last summer.
In the year since, she and her musician husband, Brian Gallagher, welcomed their first child, a daughter, Viola. Gallagher will be on guitar as part of Hilty’s four-piece band during her 15-song set at the Carlyle.
The Associated Press asked Hilty about motherhood, returning to Broadway and the endurance of “Smash.”
AP: This is a small space and you’ve got a strong voice. Will you rattle the silverware?
Hilty: Maybe. I might. I’m not going to lie. But I love how intimate this room is so I love those smaller moments. I try to save them so they’re actually special.
AP: You’ll be singing some “Smash” songs like “Let’s Be Bad” and “Moving the Line.” Anything else?
Hilty: I’m doing “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” with my husband.
AP: Is it weird working with the man you love?
Hilty: Not at all. We do it all the time. We tour all around. We’re very good partners. We work really, really well together.
AP: When you disagree, who wins?
Hilty: It’s a good mix. It’s a healthy balance. It isn’t like one of us dominates. He brings up a lot of good points that I just don’t think about. And I’d like to think I contribute some really great things to him, too.
AP: How did you meet him?
Hilty: We met on my birthday three years ago. At a gym, of all places. I was leaving a class and he was going to the next class. A mutual friend of ours introduced us. That was kind of it.
AP: Things went fast after that?
Hilty: It happened very quickly and unexpectedly. Neither of us was looking for it. A year and a half later we got married and, very shortly after that, we got pregnant. And now we have an 8-month-old daughter.
AP: Has motherhood changed the way you approach a song?
Hilty: It’s changed everything. I sing two songs in my show that I’ve sung a million times but now they actually make sense. Not that they didn’t make sense before, but now they actually have a much deeper meaning.
AP: Which songs?
Hilty: The first song is “A Place Called Home.” The first time I sang it was at a Christmas concert at the Kennedy Center. I started talking about it and immediately I started crying. I never heave through a song, but I couldn’t stop. That poor audience.
AP: What’s the second song?
Hilty: “Count Your Blessing.” It still means the same thing but, to me, it’s much deeper.
AP: What’s next? I’ve heard a TV pilot?
Hilty: The pilot’s not happening. But that means I’ll be doing something here on stage. I can’t talk about it but it’s Broadway. I’m very excited.
AP: Have you been waiting for the right thing to come back onstage with?
Hilty: On a lot of different levels. It has to be the right thing material-wise and it has to be good enough and special enough that I’m going to spend this much time away from my daughter now.
AP: It’s a good time to be on Broadway. Do you take any pride in that? “Smash” and “Glee” helped make theater cool.
Hilty: I will say that I am still so proud to have been a part of something that introduced theater to so many people who weren’t exposed to it before. We took Broadway and put it in peoples’ living rooms once a week for two seasons. People still come up to me in the street and say, ‘I never went to theater before I saw “Smash.'” That’s the greatest compliment.
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