‘See Jane Sing! — an Evening with Jane Lynch’
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March 20 marks the end of “Glee,” a show that in its six-year run became a cultural phenomenon and made Jane Lynch a household name.
Not that Lynch wasn’t already doing well in show biz. After all, she was part of Christopher Guest’s regular troupe in movies such as “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind,” had memorable roles in movies such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and was a regular on the first season of the cult favorite “Party Down”; but it was “Glee’s” breakout character of the conniving, tough, stop-at-nothing-to-succeed cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester that catapulted her to stardom.
Even though she shot the finale a couple weeks ago, Lynch says the realty of the show ending hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
“It’s unreal. I’ve had hiatuses off and been away from it at times, but it hasn’t really hit me yet that this is the end,” Lynch says. “What did hit me was the last three days of shooting were a lot of waterworks for everybody, and we were laughing hilariously, it was such an emotional high.”
Lynch hasn’t had much time to think about it. Following a critically acclaimed run as Miss Hannigan in Broadway’s “Annie” revival, the actress created a cabaret show, “See Jane Sing,” and is currently on tour across the country. She plays the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va., on March 24 and 25.
“It grew out of something I did at 54 Below, a supper club in New York, which offered me four nights for my cabaret show, even though I didn’t have a cabaret show at the time,” she says. “I work best under the gun, so I put a cabaret show together and I loved doing it so much and it went over quite well, I wanted to take it on the road.”
The show features Lynch accompanied by a five-piece band and combines her musical chops and comedic wit and charm. Joining her is Kate Flannery, known widely as Meredith from “The Office.”
“I’m kind of used to being a supportive player, that’s what I do, so I appreciate and am in awe of what she does, because I come from that point of view. She’s basically my foil and sidekick and it’s perfect,” Lynch says. “She and I have known each other for decades and we have been weaving in and out of each other’s lives since about 1989.”
When first putting together a cabaret show, Lynch picked music she loved and counted on advice from friends who told her that a “theme would emerge automatically.”
“I started trusting that and pitched my songs, and no theme emerged,” she says. “I even say in the show, ‘Join me in a musical journey of songs that have very little to do with one another.’ We do a variety of songs of different musical styles, everything from jazzy tunes that I love so much to some Folksmen songs from Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, which are always witty and beautifully arranged.”
The concert will also include original tunes and songs people will recognize from old standards and stuff she used to sing with her family around the kitchen table. Expect songs like “If Wishes Were Rainbows,” “Mr. Monotony” and “Far From the Home I Love.”
“It’s an hour that’s fast and funny and I do what I hope is some hilarious patter, and you won’t believe that the time has gone by, at least we don’t,” Lynch says. “I love the intimacy of the show, and slipping in a joke here and there. I love bringing it down and talking to the people, which adds to the intimacy.”
Once the tour is over, Lynch won’t be idle for long. She’ll be back to work as host of NBC’s popular game show, “Hollywood Game Night,” and she’s set to star in a pilot for CBS called “Angel from Hell,” playing the titular title character, who may or may not be an angel sent down to offer advice.
“She could be an angel or she may just be crazy and that intrigues me,” Lynch says. “The writing is great and there are so many possibilities with this person. One of the premises of the show is that there is a force in the universe that wants us all to be happy, and around the laughs, that’s going to be the undercurrent of the show.”
As for her life away from performing, Lynch’s love life has been well documented, including a four-year marriage to psychologist Lara Embry that ended in divorce last year. Though not keen to discuss it, Lynch isn’t hesitant to be a voice for LGBT rights.
“One of the things about speaking your mind, which I never sat out to do, I just don’t hide, is that I rarely think about things like how I am affecting so many people with what I say,” she says. “If I started thinking about that, I would have to start censoring what I say, and I don’t ever want to speak in sound bites. I love it and I do it as honestly and faithfully as I can.”