‘Will & Grace’ goes back in time with holiday episode’s production design
Mullally’s Karen Walker is Karolyn O’Sullivan, an Irish immigrant with a multitude of children who lives in the tenement. Jack McFarland, played by Hayes, takes on the role of John Patrick McGee, a sailor who arrives at the building in search of a place to stay.
Meanwhile, Will Truman, portrayed by McCormack, turns out to be O’Sullivan’s wealthy slumlord, Billem Van Billiams, who is married to Fanny, the 1912 counterpart to Grace Adler, played by Messing.
So, in a way, it’s sort of like the “Will & Grace” characters portrayed by each actor are actually portraying another character.
Along with the silly, cliche early 19th century names, the production relied heavily on two period sets, created by the show’s production designer, Glenda Rovello.
The first, the tenement house, is a rundown “greige” room that serves as a combination living area, dining room, living area and baby nursery.
A closet is tucked under the staircase that runs up the left side of the room, while additional entry points are between two rows of windows in the center of the room and the entrance from the building’s hallway to the far right.
Overall the look is, as described by wannabe “inside of homes decorator” Fanny Van Billiams, “chic-y shab.”