NASHVILLE — For Melissa Peterman, life after Reba is something to sing about. Hopefully, it’ll be somebody else doing the singing.
“You know, a lot of people tell me that I have the kind of voice that the first time you hear it, you’re going to go, ‘Arghhh!’ and if I continue to sing at you, it starts to get under your skin,” Peterman said.
“It’s like eczema. You know, it’s just going to stay for a while until you get some sort of cream.”
Given that, it’s somewhat of a surprise that life, of late, is a song for the comic character actress, 38, who for six seasons on the Reba sitcom stole scenes as the pea-brained but huge-hearted Barbra Jean, the Reba McEntire character’s ex-husband’s new wife.
Early this summer, Peterman debuted as host of CMT’s remember-the-lyrics game show, The Singing Bee, which emerged as such a hit for the country cable network that it now airs about a dozen times weekly, and was just renewed for a second season.
“Everything I’ve done has led up to this point: the nights I’ve went out and done karaoke poorly, the nights I’ve pretended to know lyrics to songs,” explained the Minneapolis-born Peterman, who made her screen debut as “Hooker No. 2” in the Coen brothers’ 1996 Oscar-nominated Fargo.
“I should have been No. 1 — clearly, I had more experience,” Peterman joked.
“I know that a lot of people watch that role in film classes,” she continued. “And I’m pretty sure that in a lot of colleges, maybe community colleges, that (Hooker No. 2) is discussed a lot. It was some of my finest work, not to mention my best hair. I don’t know if you have seen that, because that is some good hair in that movie.”
This weekend, Peterman brings that sense of humour to her gig at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, as master of ceremonies for Sing-A-Long Sound of Music, where some 18,000 attendees will belt out Rodgers and Hammerstein favourites as they watch Julie Andrews and company in the 1965 Oscar winner.
“So, you see, I do have a voice that could sell out (the) Hollywood Bowl!” Peterman said, with tongue firmly in cheek. “And there is not a lot of people that can say that, except everyone else who sang there and sold out. But I’m the only one who doesn’t have a record deal.”
What she’d really like is another whack at a major network series.
Since Reba left prime time in early 2007, Peterman has done a lot of sitcom work that was relatively little-seen, including two failed pilots.
“If I could get some investors or my dad would write me a check, maybe I could make a show,” Peterman said, laughing. “Call. Maybe we will have a little telethon, and I could sing — or stop singing.”
On the Net: