The verdict is in: two actors with local ties are advocating for the arts organization’s latest campaign.
You probably remember Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry for their star turns on the long-running legal drama L.A. Law. But the husband and wife duo have racked up dozens of other acting credits since putting away their power suits in 1994.
In fact, Tucker spent years under the bright lights of the Milwaukee Rep. And this year he and Eikenberry return to the city to stump for the United Performing Arts Fund, which launches a major fundraising campaign on March 5, beginning with a speech and Q&A session with the actors that evening.
We spoke with the couple in advance of their Milwaukee appearance to hear their take on why the performing arts matter, and what it’s like to work with your spouse.
How did the two of you meet?
We were both in the resident company of the Arena Stage Theater in Washington, D.C. Jill had just graduated from Yale Drama School and Mike had been at The Milwaukee Rep for the previous three seasons.
What was the audition process for L.A. Law like?
We didn’t audition. Steven Bochco, an old friend of Mike’s from college, wrote the roles for us. It was like a dream.
How’d you feel when you found out you’d both landed major roles in the same show?
At first we weren’t sure. A lot of acting couples don’t like working together and we had never really done it. Bochco first cast us as a couple in an episode of Hill Street Blues, and we realized later that was kind of an audition. The minute we started working we knew we liked it.
What’s it like to work with your spouse?
Michael, what was your most memorable Milwaukee Rep experience?
Waiting For Godot was a highlight. Three Sisters also. They were both at the old Fred Miller theater. And the opening production at the new Arts Center was quite a thrill, as well.
Why should we support local performing arts groups?
Milwaukee is great at supporting the arts. One of the best cities in the country. I think it helps with having pride in the place you live. Like a winning ball team – but better.
What can we expect from your Milwaukee appearance?
We’ll be back on the stage at the Milwaukee Rep as part of UPAF’s campaign launch. The event emcee, Andrea Williams, will conduct about a 20-minute Q&A with us about our careers, Michael’s years working at the Rep and the importance of supporting UPAF.