Posted on 26 March 2015.
By Dustin Shrader
Humble and sweet, as she is comedic and quick-witted, Jane Lynch very well might be the hardest working woman in show business today. After wrapping up Glee’s sixth and final season, everyone’s favorite, my-way-or-the-highway cheerleading coach is embarking on her next adventure—See Jane Sing: An Evening With Jane Lynch. See Jane Sing is Lynch’s national touring, musical comedy, a cabaret show she originally debuted in June 2014 at New York’s legendary venue 54 Below. Immensely enjoying those opening four nights last summer, Ms. Lynch decided to take the act on the road, traveling all around the U.S. with good buddies Kate Flannery (Meredith of The Office) and Tim Davis (Glee’s Vocal Coordinator). In anticipation of bringing her show to Atlanta’s Symphony Hall this Saturday, Jane opened up to Fenuxe about her crowd-pleasing performance, shooting a new pilot for CBS and the possibility of doing a full Broadway run in the future.
Fenuxe: I am excited to see your show! It has received high praise, what can we expect?
Jane Lynch: Well, I’m biased, but it is fantastic. It is about an hour long. It goes by really fast. It is funny. We have crammed a bunch of songs and a bunch of patter. I have a five-piece band, the Tony Guerrero Quintet, my friend Kate Flannery from The Office joins me for the bulk of it and my friend Tim Davis who opens for me, he joins us for some three-part harmonies. It is a bunch of different styles, I have some funny jazz numbers, some Broadway tunes we reimagined and rearranged, even a love song medley I find extremely funny. We smile, have a lot of laughs and so does the audience.
F: How has it been working with Kate and Tim?
JL: Terrific! You know, Kate and I have been weaving in and out of each other’s lives for decades. We’ve been performing and singing, and when I decided to do this cabaret show I gave her a call and said, “I can’t think of anyone, I’d rather have on stage performing with me.” She came out and we worked it up. We have a blast doing it! We started doing it at 54 Below, the cabaret space in New York. They gave me four nights before I even had a show. I kinda had a deadline, but that is how we came up with it. Tim was the vocal arranger on Glee and he is touring with me, he is a wonderful crooner. He is so talented and such a handsome guy, you’re going to love him! He and Tony of the quintet open for me, Kate and I flip in a little later and we have a blast!
F: Was performing in Annie sort of the inspiration to do your own show?
JL: Yeah, it sure was. I hadn’t done theatre in a while since I started out. Then when I moved into television and film, I had no desire to go back to the stage at all. And the offer for Annie came up and I thought, “Who turns down a Broadway musical?” So, I did that and got the bug all over again. I wanted to keep performing. 54 Below gave me those four nights and I am having such a great time. We decided to take it out on the road, doing a smattering of dates all over the country. Now that I am finished with Glee, I’ll be picking up steam and adding more dates in terms of the tour.
F: Taking part in Annie and doing See Jane Sing, have you considered a longer running Broadway show?
JL: That is a great question! You know, I think the world is our oyster. We could keep doing the touring, which is great. But I am also imagining in my head how I can get into something where we stay in one space, make it a little fuller, a little bigger, add a bit more music and an over-arching theme to make the show longer. It is a possibility, because I have a ton of ideas of what I could add to it.
F: Is every show the same or is improvisation involved, as well?
JL: We do improv, actually! My drummer Matt Johnson said last night it is a tight and loose show. My kind of way of working is I plan every single moment I leave no stone unturned. It is a complete entity by the time I am through and put it out on stage. Then and only then do I feel free to goof around. It is very loose but there are definite parameters. With the parameters set, I feel as if it has become my playpen and then I can move around. Last night we had a show here in Alexandria, it was very loose. People asked if it was all improvised and it wasn’t. It is very structured but within that structure, we have a blast.
F: I was thrilled to hear you are coming back to TV with CBS’s Angel From Hell.
JL: Well with the pilot we shoot the show, then the network decides if they will take it to series or not. We just had our first table read yesterday. We start shooting next week and hopefully, it is something CBS will want to take the bait. I’m really excited.
F: Any other big names joining Angel From Hell?
JL: Yeah, Kevin Pollock and Maggie Lawson, who was on Psych will be joining. And Kyle Bornheimer, who you will recognize. The four of us are kind of the regulars in it.
F: If given the green light, will we see it this fall?
JL: I would think so, I am hoping so. That is definitely the intention, so we will see what happens.
F: Are you still going to have time for a third season of Hollywood Game Night?
JL: Yep! In fact, it sounds like I am the busiest person in the world, but last weekend and the weekend before we shot ten Hollywood Game Nights! We are ready to throw those on the air early this summer.
F: Wow, that is intense.
JL: I am exhausted, my friend. But I had a great sleep last night, so I could be ready to talk to you.
F: What has been your favorite role played to date?
JL: Oh gosh, it is always the one I’m doing. I will say though, Sue Sylvester has been a complete joy to play. I did it for over six years. The longest role I have ever played. I loved it from start to finish. The great thing about Sue and the double-edged sword of the character, she is great in small doses. So, I was sprinkled in and out. It was always a good time. These last thirteen episodes, I was in so much of them. It was fun and I had such crazy things to do. I am eternally grateful to all the powers that be over for allowing me to go out with a bang.
F: Out of six seasons, who would be your favorite co-star or guest star? I’m sure Carol Burnett was a pleasure to work with.
JL: Oh, Carol Burnett and Olivia Newton John were so amazing to work with. Matt Morrison is my favorite co-star in the world. I just love him. He is a real joy to hang out with.
F: Well, because you are such a prominent figure I have to ask, I was wondering your thoughts on the whole D&G scandal?
JL: You know what, I have been so busy, so I am unplugged from everything that is going on. But people say stupid things all the time. We all do.
F: Yes, that is true. So, have you always been a singer or did that come about on Glee?
JL: I have always loved singing. I grew up in a musical family. We didn’t sit around and play instruments like the Partridge Family but we did sit around the kitchen table and sing songs. My parents loved harmonizing, but that is about as far as it went. They would also do the church musicals, where ironically everyone got loaded, but that was really my first exposure to singing. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love it.
F: Have you been to Atlanta before?
JL: I have! I shot The Three Stooges there and another film called A.C.O.D.: Adult Children of Divorce. I love it! I love the food. It looks like we are going to have some time too! I have like a day and a half to hang out there. Look for me on the street! We will take a picture! I would love to have people come out to Symphony Hall. I can’t wait to play there. It is going to be a lot of fun.
Jane will be performing See Jane Sing live this Saturday, March 28 at the Atlanta Symphony Hall.