Jane Krakowski’s bigger role in “30 Rock”

Shh, don’t tell scribegrrrl, but Tina Fey isn’t the only woman on 30 Rock. And this season, that woman — Jane Krakowski — will be hard to miss.

Krakowski, in an interview with TV Guide, reports that her 30 Rock character, Jenna Maroney, returns to “The Girlie Show” 40 pounds heavier as a result of spending the summer doing “Mystic Pizza: The Musical.” Seems she had to eat four slices of pizza on stage during each performance, so she packed on the pounds. But, in the kind of twist we’ve come to expect from 30 Rock, that, um, development does not subject Jenna to the usual fat jokes we’d hear in lesser shows. In fact, Krakowski says, the weight gain is, well, a plus.

“It’s hard to explain but she becomes quite famous for being one of those ‘bigger girls’ on TV and being proud of her curves, and because of that she becomes happier, her self-confidence goes up and she ends up losing a lot of the weight naturally — which is detrimental to her career!”

Judging by this screen cap from last season, I think Jenna could use a few pounds. Where’s her stomach?

Krakowski first came to my attention when she appeared as Elaine Vassal on Ally McBeal, a role that won her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She told Lisa Carton that Ally was a turning point for her career as far as on-screen roles go. One of those roles was lesbian reporter Emily Klein in Pretty Persuasion. Despite the movie’s pesky perpetuation of the evil bisexual stereotype, Krakowski’s performance was, shall we say, memorable.

However, she still is most gratified by performing onstage, particularly in musical theater, even though fewer people see her work there. Apparently, somebody’s watching, since she won a Tony in 2003 for Nine. (With Mary Stuart Masterson. In stilettos.) I still could kick myself (see previous parenthesis) for not seeing Nine when I was in NYC a few years ago, but I can easily visualize its showstopping moment. Krakowski, as Carla the Goddess, swoops down from above, draped in soft white, to seduce Guido (Antonio Banderas) in what was described as “a most amazing display of allure and acrobatic skill.” That’s my kind of goddess.

We’ll get to see some of Krakowski’s musical theater talent on 30 Rock in snippets from Jenna’s “Mystic Pizza” performance, including a ballad about a life-changing experience with anchovies. Come to think of it, I had a life-changing experience with anchovies once. It involved tequila shots and garlic butter. Singing is not what I did afterward.

The new season of 30 Rock starts Oct. 4, with Jerry Seinfeld guest starring. And yes, Tina will be there. Will you be watching?

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