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Hamptons Life

Jun 14, 2019 12:15 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Let's Talk Arts: Jill Eikenberry Sings At Bay Street's 'Music Mondays'

Jill Eikenberry and husband Michael Tucker perform in
Jun 17, 2019 12:27 PM

Bay Street Theater’s “Music Mondays” summer concert series returns on July 1 with “Here I Go Again!” a performance by Golden Globe winner Jill Eikenberry and her husband Michael Tucker. Ms. Eikenberry and Mr. Tucker were last seen at Bay Street in “Enter Laughing, the Musical” and they return this time with songs from life and career. The couple also appeared together on NBC’s long-running hit series “LA Law,” and recently, Ms. Eikenberry talked about the upcoming Bay Street show and the joys of working with her husband.

Q: Do you think of yourself primarily as an actress or a singer? Do you enjoy performing as one over the other?

I’m an actress who loves to sing. I mostly choose songs that have wonderful lyrics and good acting opportunities. Singing makes me so happy. There’s nothing like it. But I also love to immerse myself in a character in a play or a movie and live there for awhile. So I can’t really choose one over the other. They both teach me a lot about myself.

Q: How did “Here I Go Again!” come about?

My husband Mike Tucker and I put together a cabaret act together 10 years ago, and performed around the country, but we never did it in New York. It was really something Mike did for me because he was never that into it. Then, in January of 2017 I decided to celebrate my 70th birthday by doing my own cabaret show at Feinstein’s 54/Below in Manhattan. I thought it would be one night only. It was terrifying and totally exhilarating. So when they asked me to do an encore performance a few months later I agreed. Then, this year Feinstein’s asked again and I created a new show to perform there in January and March. Hence the title: “Here I Go Again!” It’s also the first line of “Taking a Chance on Love” which is my first song. And Mike will sing a few tunes with me after all.

Q: Were the songs in the program selected by theme or because they have special personal meaning for you?

Both. My theme is “love” because that’s what I like to sing about and because I think we need as much love as we can get these days. But each of these songs has a personal connection for me. Some are songs that I sang in musicals, some are favorite songs from my life, and some are songs I’ve always wanted to sing. The composers include Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian, Randy Newman, Kurt Weill, Antonio Carlos Jobim and John Kander. And I’ve invited my friend David Rasche to sing two of his original songs in the show. David is a song writer of note (with songs on the radio) and he’s preparing his own show for 54/Below. So this will be a sneak preview.

Q: I love that you and Michael have worked together so much on television, stage and now, here you are again in concert. How unusual is it for theatrical spouses to be able to work together? What’s the secret of your working relationship?

We have a really good marriage. We’ve been together for 46 years and it just keeps getting better. We both do a lot of work on ourselves to keep evolving and getting to know ourselves better as individuals—and that’s really the key. But sometimes—no matter how good the marriage is—couples don’t like working together. We’re lucky that way. We’ve always loved to act and perform together. We feel it makes us braver. And we’re both excited by change. We love to explore new territory.

In the last 20 years Mike has written and published four books. And in recent years he has become a wonderful playwright. His most recent play, “Fern Hill” will have its New York premiere this fall at 59 E 59th Street Theater. I’ll be in it with five amazing actors, (including David Rasche who plays my husband). We couldn’t be more excited! And I feel so smart because at my age the parts keep getting smaller and less interesting. But now my husband is writing me leading roles. And the one in “Fern Hill” is one of the best parts I’ve ever had!

Q: Can you tell me a bit about your connection to the area? Do you have a home here or visit frequently?

We love visiting Sag Harbor and have wonderful friends in the area. Also—we had the time of our lives in Sag Harbor in the summer of 2011 when we did “Enter Laughing, the Musical” at Bay Street Theater. It’s one of the best memories we have of working together. The audiences were fantastic!

“Here I Go Again!” with Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker is Monday, July 1, 8 p.m. at Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor. Joining Ms. Eikenberry and Mr. Tucker on stage will be special guest David Rasche. Tickets are from $69 to $89 at baystreet.org or 631-725-9500.

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