Interview with Gettin' The Band Back Together star Marilu Henner

Marilu Henner

The Broadway premiere of Gettin' The Band Back Together is almost upon us and during the rehearsal process we caught up with one of the show's stars - none other than 5-time Golden Globe nominee Marilu Henner. Internationally known for her regular TV role as Elaine Nardo on "Taxi" in the late 1970's and early 1980's and a string of successful movies including "L.A. Story" and "Noises Off!", she has also been able to establish herself as an accomplished stage actress. Her previous Broadway credits include Marty in Grease, Donna in Over Here!, Gladys Bumps in Pal Joey, Barbara Kahn in Social Security, Roxie Hart in Chicago, and Lee in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, and she also starred in the leading role of Annie Oakley in the National Tour of Annie Get Your Gun.

After dazzling in sequins as a contestant on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" in 2016, Ms. Henner now returns to the world of musical comedy as Sharon Papadopolous, mother of leading man Mitch, and is ready to rock Broadway's Belasco Theatre.

Check out Marilu's thoughts on the new show, her former 'groupie' character, which rockstars she stalked in real life, and which real-life band she would love to see get back together...


Marilu Henner in Interview
(Photo by Walter McBride)

The Broadway premiere of Gettin’ The Band Back Together is just around the corner. How are you feeling about it?

I’m so excited! I’m just like: “Put me in coach!” I wanna get out there and I wanna do it! I wanna make it better every time we do it and I just want it to be special.

Can you tell us a bit about the show itself and who you play?

Sure. So, it’s about a guy called Mitch Papadopolous who grew up in Sayerville, New Jersey, with his Mom, who kinda had a wild past, following bands around. He was a rocker and he won ‘The Battle of the Bands’ in high school, but he gave it all up to become a stock broker. Now, he’s failed as a stock broker and he’s coming back to his roots and, in order to settle an old bet, he has to get his band back together. One guy is a cop, one guy is a dermatologist, one of them is a school teacher, and one of them has died so they have to replace him with a young kid. I play Sharon Papadopolous, Mitch’s Mom, who is like ‘the cool mom’ and because I have this background in rock, I want the boys to get it together.

And it’s not your first time at this rodeo called Broadway…

No, it’s my seventh time! I did Chicago, Grease, Pal Joey – a bunch of them!

What made you choose this project in particular to make your return?

I think there’s something about the character that spoke to me. I could put on the black spandex and the boots! (Laughs) Ken Davenport is such a genius. He’s so forward-thinking in everything that he does. This is his project and he asked me to be in it and so here I am. He spotted me at a play actually and said: “Oh, that’s our Sharon!” He sent me the material, we had lunch and that was it.


The Cast of Gettin' The Band Back Together
(Photo by Robert Ascroft)

And one of your numbers is “What Would Joe Perry Do?” Is that something you relate to? A real-life motto by any chance?

(Laughs) Well, I think what it’s about is getting back on the saddle again. Just get up there! Plan B! It doesn’t matter what happens to you, you just gotta keep going. It’s funny - people are always asking me because I have two boys – one is 22 and one is 23 – what I want to give my children. And I always say: resilience. Resilience is always the best thing you can give your children. That’s what this song is about. It’s like: “Come on! We’re going to do this thing again! Don’t give up! Follow this dream and even if someone puts you down, it doesn’t matter, you gotta keep going!”

And did your character actually have a love affair with Joe Perry [of Aerosmith]?

Oh yeah! She calls him ‘Little Joey’ but that’s all I’m going to tell you (Laughs). There is a bunch of stuff that happens during the show.

When you were growing up, did you have any fascinations with anyone in particular from the world of rock?

Well, I wasn’t a kid then, but I was actually on “The Tonight Show” with Sting and it was like a 13-year old girl crawled through her TV set because she wanted to meet her idol. I was even smelling him because I knew he was non-dairy! I was taking his sign from the dressing room door and his cup. I mean, the restraining order was only for a year afterwards! (Laughs)

(Laughs) Everyone has moved on now. Everyone is over it…

Everyone has moved on. It’s all OK! (Laughs)

Finally, if there was one band, who is no longer together, and you could reunite them, who would that be and why?

Well, of course, The Beatles. You’d love to see them. John Lennon was the man! And every little kid had The Beatles playing in their family movies. My other pick would’ve been The [Rolling] Stones, because they were another big favorite of mine, but they’re still playing!


(Photo by Walter McBride)

Gettin' The Band Back Together Tickets are available now for performances from July 19, 2018 through to July 14, 2019.