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Exclusive Q&A with Jane Lynch

Actress and comedian Jane Lynch brings her cabaret show to Nashville's TPAC Polk Theater.

Written By:  Micah Bradley

Photographers:  Supplied

Actress and comedian Jane Lynch started her career in Chicago at The Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre before national audiences came to know her as iconic television character, Sue Sylvester, on Glee. Lynch made her Broadway debut in the 2013 production of Annie as Miss Hannigan and soon thereafter decided to embark on her own musical comedy tour, “See Jane Sing” in which she mixes her signature quick wit with beloved Broadway songs.

Lynch is also the host of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night and author of an autobiography Happy Accidents which topped several national best-sellers lists, including the New York Times and LA Times. We caught up with Lynch to find out more about her upcoming TPAC performance.

Nashville Lifestyles (NL): What can people expect from your show See Jane Sing?

Jane Lynch (JL): We have a terrific five-piece band, first of all. It’s an amazing group of musicians, and we cover songs from Irving Berlin, to Nicki Minaj, to a medley of songs that made us cry when we were kids. We’re all over the American songbook reinventing different styles, and it’s a lot of fun. Kate Flannery joins me, she was Meredith the drunk in The Office, and she is what makes the whole thing so damn funny, because she is such a blast, and she also has a really big, beautiful voice.

The two of us have some shenanigans together, and she’s the best sidekick a girl could ask for. She’s stealing focus from me 99% of the time, and she’s hilarious. We’re also joined by this guy, Tim Davis, who was the vocal arranger on Glee, and he has a wonderful voice. And he joins us for some great three part harmonies. He also sings a couple of songs up top—the band and he open for our act—and it’s a lot of fun. People are always tapping their toes and they end up with smiles on their faces throughout the whole thing.

NL: How did you choose the songs that are included in the show?

JL: There is no conscious process for that. I just allowed myself to do music. This was on advice from people who do this sort of thing. I talked to Kristen Chenowith, I talked to Matthew Morrison. I said, “How do you choose?” And they said, “Pick stuff you love, and a theme will arrive.” So what I say at the beginning of the show is, “Join me on a musical journey through a group of songs that have very little to do with one another.” Because no theme arose, except that they’re songs that we love. I guess the glue holding the whole night together is our interaction with each other.

NL: How is it different performing for the stage versus performing for camera?

JL: It’s the give and take of the audiences, they’re fifty percent of the experience. When you have a camera… it’s a different thing, you can be very meticulous, and you can go back and do it again, you can explore different ways of doing the moment, when you’re onstage, you’re in the moment and it’s gone. It’s ephemeral. You’re in it, and it’s gone.

The great thing about camera is you can be so precise, and at the same time, allowing the creativity to flow, you can say, “I want to do that again.” And the director might say, “ok, moving on,” and you go, “wait a minute, let’s do it again” since you get an idea. I love that about film and TV.

NL: What was different about doing Hollywood Game Night than other projects you’ve done in the past?

JL: It’s more of a mental thing. While I allow it to flow creatively, I’m in control of it and moving along, so there’s a part of me that has to be very much in my left brain and be logical with knowing the time constraints and all that. By the end of doing two shows on a Saturday, I want to sleep for a week.

NL: What are you working on right now beside your cabaret show? Do you have any upcoming projects that we should know about?

JL: The cabaret show is all-consuming for me right now creatively and energetically. We’ve got 22 gigs in 29 days, and I have no room, nor do I have any desire, for my head to be anywhere else. But I will say, I already shot this movie, and it’s coming out in September. It’s a new Christopher Guest movie, and it’s called Mascots. It’s the world of nonprofessional mascots, and how they get together at the end of each year, and they all perform as their mascot. It’s a competition. It’s going to be on Netflix, and it’s also going to have a theater release in September.

NL: Have you ever been to Nashville before?

JL: I haven’t, and I’m so excited. I don’t have any friends there, but everybody in the band does, so its going to be a coming home for a lot of people, for Kate and for Tim, so we’re really excited. Of course, to be in that town, I just can’t wait. I can’t wait to eat. I can’t wait to walk up and down the street. I’ve been looking it up online, and just salivating to come to Nashville. I’m so excited.

Lynch performs "See Jane Sing" at TPAC's James K. Polk Theater, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Nashville. For tickets and information visit tpac.org.


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