Laurie Metcalf, Sarah Gilbert on Chicago, Steppenwolf, 'The Connors'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "The Conners" have been one of TV's favorite families ever since the characters were introduced in the "Roseanne" sitcom in 1988.

Sarah Gilbert and Laurie Metcalf are fan favorites of the show, which is set in Illinois. Metcalf launched her career in Chicago as a founding member of Steppenwolf, where she's still part of the ensemble.

She's also a Bears fan, like her character.

"Of course, I still am, so that was fun to play and I hope that Bears, I hope Chicago fans feel like we did them proud," she said.

When the revival of "Roseanne" changed to "The Connors," Gilbert, who is also an executive producer, was key to getting Metcalf on board, even though she didn't know it was a sure thing.

"I didn't know it was going to work, I guess I told Laurie in order to get her," Gilbert said.

"She told me and I signed the contract!" said Metcalf.

"I think we were all scared," said Gilbert. "I felt like it could just work because I knew people loved these characters and I felt like we had something to still say and the fact that the family would be going through a big loss, something people could relate to."

Metcalf has two Tony awards and is heading back to Broadway to star in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" It all started here in Chicago.

"They're so great and so supportive and way back in the day, so forgiving when we were struggling along in the basement of a church and not knowing the hell what we were doing," she said. "And some of those people are still with us and, I don't know, I hope to come back as soon as I can for that reason."

"I'm having fantasies of going and doing a Steppenwolf play with you!" Gilbert added.

"Tracy Letts, Tracy Letts could you write something quick?" Metcalf joked.
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