April will be a big month for Swoosie Kurtz. On April 10, she costars in HBO's The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Then on April 17, her NBC series, Sisters, returns. ''It's a mini-Swoosie Kurtz festival,'' the Tony- and Emmy-winning actress jokes. ''Maybe they'll show one of my movies on CBS or ABC. That would be a coup.''
Kurtz, 48, pulled off an acting coup last summer by filming both roles at the same time. She shuttled between two sets and two very different characters. ''It was wonderful, risky, and strange,'' she says. ''The characters have different hair and different accents. I mean, (Sisters') Alex lives in a $2 million house and (Positively True's) Marla lives in a trailer!''
There is one common thread between the two characters, however: illness, mental and physical. ''Marla is a disturbed character,'' Kurtz says. ''I'm sure she comes off as funny, but she's really very sad.'' Meanwhile, on Sisters, Kurtz's Alex is battling breast cancer. ''This is a horrible thing for anyone to go through in real life and a great thing to play,'' says Kurtz, who adds that it wasn't easy. ''I cried one entire weekend. Although it's let's-pretend, it's so close to the truth that it has to get to you sooner or later.'' Kurtz's next role isn't any easier: She's a woman who contracts AIDS from a blood transfusion in HBO's And the Band Played On. ''They made me up to look fairly ill,'' she says. ''It's scary to catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror looking like that.''
After Band, Kurtz is hoping to return for a fourth season of Sisters, which has achieved quiet success. Maybe too quiet for Kurtz, who thinks NBC has underpromoted the show. ''I don't know if that's because it's about four strong women,'' Kurtz says. ''Who can explain what goes on in those offices?''