Eric McCormack soared to television fame in the role of lawyer Will Truman on the hit sitcom ‘Will & Grace’. The critically-acclaimed prime-time series proved to be groundbreaking during its eight seasons for portraying gay characters in principal roles. It’s a fact in which the local actor takes great pride. “No question,” he says of the show that became a dominant factor among NBC’s ‘Must-See TV’ Thursday night line-up. “I think it was two years ago that Vice-President Joe Biden said that ‘Will & Grace’ is responsible for teaching the average American about gay marriage and introducing that idea to them, so we take tremendous pride about that.”

Originally from Toronto and now spending time in Los Angeles, McCormack has since also adopted Vancouver as his home away from home. What brought him out west originally? “It was to work- but not because I had work,” he adds. “I had nothing. I had done my one episode of ‘Street Legal’ and my one episode of ‘ENG’, and that was kind of it. Toronto was quiet at the time so I flew out here in February of 1992 and it was warm; it was beautiful. It was a freaky February and I just never looked back. I never left. It’s been 24 years”.

Having spent the past several months in Vancouver filming his latest series, ‘Travelers’, which debuts October 16 on Showcase, McCormack hit the stage recently in a pair of performances at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. ‘The Concert I Never Gave…(except for like, 2000 times in my bedroom) is a night of storytelling and music that harkens back to the Emmy Award-winning actor’s youth. “As an actor I think I exercised my craft from a very early age,” says McCormack. “From age six to twelve it was always me pretending I was a spy like any other kid, but from thirteen on, it was pretending I was a rock star. I eventually did go on to become a singer professionally; more musicals kind of thing but my fantasy was to front a rock band and I’ve had opportunities over the years to do it with friends. This was just a concept of all of these stories I love telling from the last fifteen years; ‘Will and Grace’ stories; show business stories and I have these songs that I’m dying to sing and I put it together into an evening with. It’s a chunk of me that I love to give to a city that I love, so I’ve hit my main cities (Los Angeles, Toronto & Vancouver). It has a beginning; middle and an end and satisfies itself when I walk away from doing it, happy that I shared it.”

Proceeds from this performance benefitted Prostate Cancer Canada; a cause McCormack has a personal connection to. “I lost both my parents in the last ten years to cancer so I’ve started to focus more on that and with this show, because you couldn’t really be the kid that I was without having very understanding parents,” he says. “I’ve always done a show for cancer charity and here in Vancouver it’s Prostate Cancer Canada. My father passed away of prostate cancer eight Augusts ago. The show that I do – while it’s not always about them is about knowing that they were always on the other side of the wall wondering if this kid was ever going to amount to anything or just keep pretending he was Alice Cooper.

Despite numerous opportunities to return to the comedic genre, given the legacy that ‘Will & Grace’ has achieved, McCormack acknowledges it’s would be hard to replicate. “Part of the reason I haven’t gone back to it is because we got so spoiled with the writing and the audiences that we had who showed up knowing who they were going to see. Until then I had been a dramatic actor. I had been at Stratford; I had done the ‘Lonesome Dove’ series and I had been the bad guy. To suddenly be on a comedy opened up that side of me. I think it would hard to do a mediocre sitcom.”

With our conversation taking place in the lobby of the CBC Downtown Vancouver studios, I can’t help but bring up an interesting and perhaps ironic fact about Eric McCormack, and more importantly the naming of his son. Fascinated as a child by the Canadian network’s legendary children’s program, ‘Mr. Dressup’ – which aired from 1967 – 1996 – when it came time to name his son, one of the series puppet characters actually served as the impetus. “That’s exactly right,” he says of son FinnIgan. “I was absolutely influenced by Mr. Dressup and he would have probably been the first. The idea of someone that kept a trunk full of costumes and he could become any one at anytime; he could talk to puppets….I spent most of my childhood talking to my hand. Between him and realizing that Mel Blanc was the guy that did all the voices of the Warner Brothers characters; I think those are my earliest memories of going, “Ohhhh – there’s a profession here.” As for the naming process – “We debated a bunch of names,” he says. “I think it was me that said out loud “FinnIgan” and my wife went “Yep” and that was it. In fact, when he was born, I didn’t say “Honey, it’s a boy. I said “Honey, it’s a FinnIgan.”