Actor Kate Flannery had dreams of entertaining long before she made it into a career, notably playing Dunder Mifflin Paper Company employee Meredith on “The Office.”
As a child, she had her sights briefly set on children’s public media stardom.
“My earliest connection to sort of figuring out the business was I actually set up an audition for 'Zoom,' the TV show that was shot in Boston,” at GBH studios, she told GBH’s Morning Edition co-host Jeremy Siegel. “I was devastated because you had to live in Boston. I was going to be with my piano teacher's cousin. I mean, I was trying to figure it all out in fourth grade. Yeah, it didn't exactly go that way. But that's okay.”
The GBH audition never came to pass for her, but now, she gets to perform in Boston anyway: Flannery and actress Jane Lynch, formerly of “Glee,” will perform their holiday show “A Swingin' Little Christmas” with producer Tim Davis at City Winery Tuesday and Wednesday.
The show is a musical tribute to the classic Christmas specials of the '50s and '60s.
“Christmas is a perennial, so it's nice to get on the Christmas train because it always comes back every year, if you're lucky,” Flannery said. “And it's just great to be a part of it because I feel like anything that makes anybody feel better, I'm so on board. I think that laughter is the best medicine. And if something makes you feel good, repeat, repeat, rinse, repeat. Keep doing it. Please.”
Flannery said people recognize her most often from “The Office,” the wildly successful 2005-2013 sitcom.
“I get recognized by the back of my head,” she said.
She and Steve Carrell, the Massachusetts-born actor who plays regional manager Michael Scott on the show, knew one another from their days with improv and sketch theater The Second City in Chicago.
“He was very shy,” she said. “He's not one of those guys that holds court before we shoot a scene. Because he's a great actor and he understands what we're doing is more important than any of the personalities involved.”
She called “The Office” “my perfect dream job” — a role that let her act alongside very funny people and flex her physical comedy skills by doing her own stunts.
In the early days of the COVID pandemic, she said, she was heartened to see people watching the show with renewed fervor.
“Somebody wrote something in The New York Times that, you know, basically people went to our office because they couldn't go to their own,” she said. “That was kind of the vibe. So we kind of represented some sense of normal during a time that wasn't normal.”