You may not recognize the name Megan Hilty, but if you’ve ever watched NBC’s “Smash,” you’ll discover a familiar face. Hilty starred as Ivy Lynn in the musical sitcom, singing the hit song “Let Me Be Your Star,” but her career actually started on Broadway with starring roles in “9 to 5: The Musical” and “Wicked.”
With a voice evoking the golden age of jazz and the bombshell looks of Marilyn Monroe, the actress isn’t lacking for performance opportunities. She comes to Phoenix this week, where, accompanied by the Phoenix Symphony, she’ll be performing music from the American songbook, tunes like “Luck be a Lady,” “The Best is Yet to Come” and “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Hilty, who grew up in Bellevue, Wash., styles her music after Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney.
“I’m obsessed with (them),” she says. “What I love about those singers is that it was more about how you delivered a song instead of what crazy high note you can hit. It was all about style — that’s what gets me.”
The blonde starlet also enjoys the music of Dolly Parton, whom she’ll be honoring with a medley during her Phoenix performance. “It’s a crazy medley of different songs I love of hers,” says Hilty, who recently recorded her own full length album, “It Happens All the Time.”
The album, which Hilty says is very personal, doesn’t include the big, flashy songs she is usually associated with, but she says she’s very happy with the end product.
“It was extremely challenging and a lot harder to pull back to make such an intimate sound. I was really, really proud of what we did in the end. It actually played on the radio,” Hilty says. “That was crazy and wonderful.”
Fans will have to buy the album to hear those tunes, as she won’t be performing any music off her album at her performance with the Phoenix Symphony.
“When I work with symphony orchestras, it seems a shame to waste all those musicians on little songs,” she says. She prefers to stick to the tunes people easily recognize, like “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” “Second Hand White Baby Grand,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
If you don’t get a chance to catch Hilty this time, you can look up her music on iTunes or Pandora, but in her mind, nothing quite matches the magic of live music.
“I’ll always love live performance at my core,” Hilty says. “That’s who I am and what I do.”
IF YOU GO
What: Megan Hilty performs with the Phoenix Symphony
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.
Where: Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix
Information: (602) 495-1999 or PhoenixSymphony.org