You may know her for scene-stealing roles like Sue Sylvester on Glee and films like Best in Show, but Jane Lynch's career began onstage. And Friday night she brings her comedic, Broadway-inspired tour to Houston at the House of Blues.
See Jane Sing is a “much more realized version” of the live show she performed at New York cabaret club 54 Below after wrapping her stint as Miss Hannigan in Annie on Broadway. "'Cause all Broadway people have acts, and I didn’t have an act. But I went out and got one, and it felt right, it felt like the next thing to do," she says.
During the show, Lynch performs a string of songs that “cover the American songbook all the way from early Irving Berlin to Nicki Minaj.” If that sounds expansive, Lynch is more than aware. She asks the audience at the beginning of the show to join her “on a musical journey through a world of songs that have very little to do with one another.”
Her selections range from the unknown to pop hits — all from various decades and artists. The set even includes a medley of songs that made her cry when she was a child.
Lynch credits her longtime friend Kate Flannery (best known as the hilarious drunk Meredith on The Office), who joins Lynch for most of the show, for being “the creative glue of the night.”
“I’ll be singing a song and I’ll see people laughing their asses off and I know it’s because Kate is doing some buffoonery behind me and she’s just the best,” says Lynch.
Tim Davis (vocal coordinator for Glee) and the Tony Guerrero Quintet accompany Flannery and Lynch onstage. “We have a blast together … We’re a real family. You can see it onstage; it’s kind of a love fest.”
One popular moment of the show is Lynch’s rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.” Indeed, the song has become one of her favorites to perform. “We were just in Seattle in a very small theater … and ‘Anaconda’ was like in everybody’s face and it was too much fun watching them respond to what we were doing.”
She sings a few lines of the song’s chorus while expressing her admiration for Minaj, explaining how she has been a fan of hers since she covered “Super Bass” on Glee. “My first idea was I would just go, ‘My anaconda don't,’ and just do that much and then it would stop there. But, no, we didn't stop there, we did the whole thing. And it's pretty funny, three very white people.”
Her deprecation aside, their cabaret take on the song is worth watching.
Lynch also reveals plans to release a Christmas album this year. “We laid down all the orchestrations a couple weeks ago, and soon we’ll be adding the vocals. It’s got a lot of traditional Christmas songs and then we have a bunch of originals written by Tony Guerrero, our band leader … it’s going to be fantastic,” she says, then adds with a laugh, “I sound like Donald Trump now. It’s going to be amazing.”
For now, Lynch seems focused on the tour and enjoying herself. “[That is] the wonderful thing about the theater, it’s very ephemeral. I mean it comes and it comes … you have to really be planted firmly in the moment and enjoy it. And I’ll tell you, I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
Her three-day run in Texas includes Houston, Dallas on Saturday night and San Antonio on Sunday night, and audiences are in for a treat. “I have not had a bad show," she says. "As far as I’m concerned, every show has been perfect, unique, and wonderful because we’re not judging ourselves, we’re just having fun.”
See Jane Lynch at the Houston of Blues Friday night. Tickets are available here.