Scott Bakula Reflects on 'Quantum Leap,' Talks 'Only Murders in the Building' Shout-Outs (Exclusive)

Bakula starred as Dr. Sam Beckett on 'Quantum Leap' from 1989 to 1993.

Quantum Leap is coming up on its 35th anniversary since it first hit the airwaves, and Scott Bakula had a unique way to celebrate the milestone.

The 69-year-old actor invited Quantum Leap fans to watch a performance of his off-Broadway musical, The Connector, in New York City, and afterwards he reflected with ET on the TV series' success both during and after it aired. Quantum Leap aired 97 episodes across five seasons from March 1989 until May 1993.

Even after the show's first iteration ended, fans were hooked on the series. So much so, TV Guide ranked Quantum Leap No. 19 in its Top Cult Shows Ever list in 2007. Looking back, Bakula has nothing but fond memories.

"Yeah, that was a big deal. I was in New York doing [the musical] Romance/Romance and I left the show and we had a bunch of Tony nominations. We were very popular and people said, 'What are you doing?' And I said, 'It's time to go.' And I went back a month later, I auditioned for Quantum Leap and then we started shooting it a month after," Bakula recalled. "I used so many elements of the theater during the years of Quantum Leap, every facet of my life. I played the piano. I played a bunch of sports, I played them there. I sang. We did all kinds of things. Danced. We did a little bit of everything. I'm a firm believer that all of our experiences shape our lives, and they all came out in that particular show. And I was lucky for that to happen."

Bakula played physicist Dr. Sam Beckett, who figures out how to travel back in time. The show also starred Dean Stockwell. During those years and beyond, Bakula admired the fervent fan base that supported him and the show, both then and now. It's why he invited those fans to watch him perform his new musical.


"Our show was gonna go off the air, and in the old days there was a writing campaign and they flooded NBC," he said. "The fans cared and they expressed themselves. They'd been around. They followed me around the planet. Sci-fi fans are remarkable. If you give them the right kind of product, they'll stay forever. I've been around them, they've been with me and all over the world. They show up where I am and they come to the theater. They support, and they've made great friendships amongst themselves."

Bakula's popularity -- and intrigue -- has also grown exponentially on a very different show. Steve Martin, Martin Short and Jane Lynch are among those who have uttered his name on Hulu's Only Murders in the Building. They constantly give him a shout-out, but Bakula's got no clue as to why he gets mentioned.

"I don't know, but I'd love to be on that," he said. "I love the show."

For what it's worth, there's a small connection between Bakula and Only Murders in the Building -- he once appeared on the HBO show, Looking. And one of the writers from that show, John Hoffman, co-created Only Murders in the Building.

"I've been honored to be mentioned in such a fun way," Bakula says. "It's always a hoot because I never know when it's coming."


In the meantime, fans can catch Bakula in The Connector, which runs off-Broadway through March 17. The nearly two-hour musical, based on Jonathan Marc Sherman's book of the same name, is set in the late 1990s "amid a rapidly changing media landscape." Bakula portrays a magazine editor, and the musical centers around a rising journalist whose ambition forces him to confront how far he'll go for the ultimate scoop.

For the NCIS: New Orleans star, being back onstage is thrilling.

"It's my first love being being in a theater with a live audience, and then I love to sing so the musical world always holds a great allure to me and to be back in New York," Bakula says. "Many things attracted me to this role and to the show, starting with Jason Robert Brown. I'm a huge fan of his, and pretty much when they said it was his show, I would have done whatever they wanted me to do, pretty much."

He added, "And then Daisy Prince is kind of icing on the cake. I did not know the writer, Jonathan Marc Sherman, and his script is fantastic. It's one of the best books I've ever been involved with in a musical or a play, to be quite honest. It's just so rich and so good. So I jumped at the chance ... I'm thrilled to be here for sure."


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