‘An Evening of Jane Lynch’ will feature her favorite songs
Actress and comedian Jane Lynch appears to be everywhere.
On TV, she’s known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Sue Sylvester in "Glee," and her roles as Dr. Linda Freeman in "Two and a Half Men," Joyce Wischnia in "The L Word" and her voice acting on "Phineas and Ferb," "The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange" and "Handy Manny."
Film appearances include Judd Apatow’s "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," Christopher Guest’s "A Mighty Wind" and "For Your Consideration" and a cameo in Brad Siberling’s "Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events" and her voice-over roles in the animated films "Wreck It Ralph" and "Birds of Paradise." to name a few.
On New Year’s Eve, Lynch will be in Park City to perform what the New York Times called her "Anti-Cabaret" show at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.
"I didn’t set out to do an anti-cabaret show, but that’s exactly what the Times called it," Lynch told The Park Record during an interview from the Big Apple. "So, indeed, I am."
What Lynch actually did was create a night of music that was originally supposed to run for four nights at the Broadway Supper Club, 54 Below.
"They offered me the [run] based on nothing, other than the fact that I had done Broadway the summer before," said Lynch, who played Miss Hannigan in "Annie." "I took the challenge and created this show in the four or five months between the phone call and the dates.
"I wanted to meet the challenge and ended up having a blast," she said, "So, now it looks like I’m going to do this all over the country. We have 15 dates so far and we’ll kick off the tour in Park City."
The show, which is officially called "An Evening With Jane Lynch," will feature an array of her favorite numbers.
"One of the things that I say at the top of the show is ‘Join me on a musical journey through a world of songs that have nothing to do with one another,’" Lynch said with a giggle. "The songs just happen to be ones I like and ones that I think I can sing well, and they are a mishmash of different styles."
The singer will cover an Irving Berlin rarity called "Mr. Monotony" and a jazz number called "Slappin’ the Cakes on Me" by Dave Frishberg.
"Dave writes humorous songs and this one is about a fake, Roaring ’20s phrase that doesn’t exist," Lynch explained.
One of the other highlights will be a romantic-song medley.
"I just put this together and plan to debut this in Park City,’ Lynch said.
She will start by talking about how the American ideal setup of romance is really killing society.
"Then I’ll sing a bunch of ridiculous love songs that I grew up with, starting with ‘Let It Please Be Him’ that was recorded by Vikki Carr," Lynch laughed.
That song, by the way, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard U.S. Pop Charts in 1967.
Tipping her hat to the 2003 Christopher Guest mockumentary, "A Mighty Wind," which is about a multiple folk-group reunion benefit concert, Lynch will sing two of the songs that appeared in the film.
The songs were written by Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean, who played the fictitious group called the Folksmen.
"I am such a fan of these guys, because they actually wrote some beautiful music," Lynch said. "However, the songs are kind of ridiculous because of the themes and such."
One is called "Blood on the Coals," which is about a train wreck in a coal mine, and the other is titled "The Skeletons of Quinto" and celebrates the Spanish Civil War.
"You can see that the show is really all over the place," Lynch said laughing.
The singer will be joined by a group led by Todd Ellison on piano, vocalist and actress Kate Flannery on vocals, Mary Ann McSweeney on bass and Sean McDaniel on drums.
"Kate and I do a piece called ‘Far from the Home I Love,’ which is from the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ but we do it like the Barry Sisters," Lynch said. "[Merna and Claire Barry] were a Yiddish singing duo and we bump it up with the klezmers and bring in some Catskills humor."
The group will also be joined by Tim Davis, the music director for "Glee."
"Tim is an incredible singer and a very handsome guy who looks terrific in a midnight-blue suit," Lynch said. "He is a cool character with a great sense of humor, who arranged all of our vocals."
Davis will also serve as the evening’s open act, according to Lynch.
"He will sing a bunch of standards that were sung by Frank Sinatra," she said.
The hardest part about putting the show together was dealing with insecurities, according to Lynch.
"I struggled with whether or not I had the confidence to do this," she said.
She also discovered something about herself.
"I have never been a procrastinator in all my life," Lynch confessed. "While I didn’t procrastinate on the music, I procrastinated putting the damn show together, to the point that I didn’t know what I was going to say until I went out there."
Still, Lynch did write a script the night before the show opened.
"I printed it out and put it in my management’s office just so I could say, ‘It is here. This is what I want to say and I hope I remember it,’" she said with another laugh. "I did and found I was very happy with it."
Lynch said it felt good to perform live again.
"I am a stage person and I was shot out of my mother’s womb to do this," she said. "I love being on stage. I’m never happier and haven’t been this happy for a long time.
"I’ve been doing television and film for the past 25 years, which gives you and idea of how old I am, because I did theater for 15 years before that," she said. "So getting back on stage has just been a joy."
She also enjoys performing with her band.
"Working with Kate Flannery, who is Meredith on ‘The Office’ has been great," Lynch said. "I’ve know her sing my Chicago days in 1987. She looks so great and has a wonderful voice. It’s a joy to lock eyes with her on stage."
She also enjoys working with Davis.
"Tim has really become my new best friend and the musicians are amazing people," she said. "They are masters at what they do and come in with a great attitude. None of us are making a million bucks with this, but we’re doing it because we love it."
Comedian, actress and singer Jane Lynch will perform at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at 7:30 p.m. The Park City Institute will present the performance. Tickets range from $40 to $165 and are available by visiting http://www.ecclescenter.org .
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