Jess Cagle
August 03, 2017 AT 09:16 AM EDT

It’s been 11 years since Will & Grace went off the air, but they’re back with a highly anticipated reboot of the show beginning Sept. 28 on NBC.

The cast gathered for their first read-through of the new season on Wednesday, and PEOPLE has exclusive photos of the reunion from photographer Robert Trachtenberg (who also shot the Will & Grace cast for the new cover of Entertainment Weekly).

Robert Trachtenberg/NBC
Robert Trachtenberg/NBC
Robert Trachtenberg/NBC
Robert Trachtenberg/NBC

On a Universal Studios soundstage, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes read through the first new episode to the show’s writers and producers, as well as network and studio executives.

The series’ original set is largely in tact though Max Mutchnick (who created the show with David Kohan) told the small audience they gave it “a little facelift” — at which point Hayes, 47, jumped from his seat, ran into Will’s living room, and pretended to reclaim his territory by urinating on it.

Robert Trachtenberg/NBC
Robert Trachtenberg/NBC

We won’t give away too much about the first episode, but it is, not surprisingly, hilarious. Will and Grace are both single again and she’s living in his apartment (neither has kids; the producers decided the flash-forward in the 2006 series finale never happened). Karen is outrageous as ever. So is Jack, who has come up with a new acting method called “Jackting.” And the series is, once again, timely: The first new episode includes more details on Karen’s close friendship with Donald and Melania Trump, which was first revealed in a short viral video with the cast released last year.

Robert Trachtenberg/NBC
Robert Trachtenberg/NBC

After the read-through, the stars and creators joined director James Burrows, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti for a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the soundstage. Garcetti proclaimed August 2 Will & Grace Day in L.A. and the cast spoke about their return to the show. “A lot has happened since we went off the air,” Hayes said. “Trans rights were introduced and canceled, just like a lot of the shows we’ve been on recently.”

Messing, 48, had a message for Garcetti: “I would like to say to the mayor that they’re redoing a waterline on Franklin and it’s added 10 minutes to my commute.”

Will & Grace premieres Thursday, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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