Who is who? Nancy & Beth -- featuring Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt -- to perform at Birchmere

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Entertainment,Robert Fulton

When asked who is who in her new band Nancy & Beth, Megan Mullally has a simple answer.

"Isn't it obvious?"

Nancy & Beth is the new music venture from Mullally and fellow actress Stephanie Hunt. The band performs Friday at the Birchmere.

Mullally is probably best know for playing the character Karen Walker on "Will & Grace" from 1998 to 2006, for which she received a pair of Emmy Awards. However, she's always been musically inclined and is a member of the band Supreme Music Program.

Onstage
Nancy & Beth
» Where: The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
» When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
» Info: $29.50; 703-549-7500; birchmere.com

Nancy & Beth started on a whim. Mullally met Hunt while in Austin working on the independent film "Somebody Up There Likes Me," which is produced by and stars Mullally's husband, Nick Offerman of "Parks and Recreation" fame. Hunt and Mullally hit it off and bonded over music.

"They can so clearly see whatever this connection that she and I have," Mullally said of people's reaction when they see Nancy & Beth. "This sort of ephemeral affinity we have for each other really translates." Mullally spoke by phone earlier this week from Los Angeles after wrapping up some shooting for the show "Happy Endings," on which she regularly appears.

The name Nancy & Beth is made up. Mullally isn't Nancy and Hunt isn't Beth, and Hunt isn't Nancy and Mullally isn't Beth. Together, though, they're Nancy & Beth.

"I wasn't looking for a new band at all," Mullally said. "I think meeting Stephanie and being friends with her, I would say that we inspire each other for lack of a better term."

Nancy & Beth's music is mostly covers, lighted-hearted and up-tempo, with a bit of a retro feel. The music is very danceable.

One challenge for Nancy & Beth is that the group's backing musicians are based in Austin and New York. Combine that with Mullally's and Hunt's busy schedules, and rehearsals are hard to come by.

"It can get tricky, but there's a lot of enthusiasm," said Mullally, 54.

Hunt is a young actress whose credits include "Californication" and "Friday Night Lights." She'll next appear on ABC's "How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)," which debuts April 3.

"I think the juxtaposition is something that's interesting to people," Mullally said. "She's 30 years younger than I am. People kind of tussle over that."

In addition to her work on "Happy Endings," Mullally stars on Adult Swim's "Children's Hospital," appears on "Park & Rec" and has some other projects cooking.

Mullally added that each Nancy & Beth show varies.

"Its different every time," Mullally said. "There's nothing set in stone. It's kind of loose. I think that's another thing that people respond to."

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