The award-winning actress brings her musical show to north central Florida
Quite the understatement would be in claiming Jane Lynch to be a versatile actress. A star on television and the big screen, Lynch has carved a path for herself in the industry mainly through the comedic genre, but also in dramatic roles. Simply noting this, though, does not even begin to account for the multi-faceted nature of Lynch’s talents.
Lesser known to most of the fans who fell under her spell in the role of Sue Sylvester on the television show “Glee,” Lynch’s career has been a tour de force of stage acting, singing, writing books and plays, and hosting TV game shows. A winner of multiple Emmy Awards and Golden Globes, Lynch brings her talents to north central Florida Nov. 29 with “A Swingin’ Little Christmas Tour 2021,” a show that combines a bit of comedic kitsch and sentimentality of the classic Christmas albums of the 1950s and 60s.
In the show, she is accompanied by Kate Flannery, who most remember for her role on TV’s “The Office” as Meredith. Also co-starring is Tim Davis, who arranged all the vocals for the show as he did for six years on Glee. Davis was also recently named music producer for The People’s Choice Awards, The Game Awards and the new feature film musical “Love is Afoot.”
Early in her career, Lynch was seen in minor roles next to Judge Rheinhold in “Vice Versa” and Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive” and it’s been all big-time since. Starring roles in blockbuster comedies alongside the likes of Steve Carrell, Will Ferrell and Christopher Guest, Lynch has most recently made perhaps her biggest mark on the small screen. In addition to her role on Glee, Lynch has also made award-winning appearances on “Two and a Half Men,” “Hollywood Game Night” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
“A Swingin’ Little Christmas Tour 2021” will take place at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Gainesville and will feature the Tony Guerrero Quintet.
Lynch took time recently to discuss the show and her career in Question & Format with Ocala Magazine.
OM: First, please tell me a little bit about the Christmas Tour and what audiences can expect.
JL: Audiences can expect a toe-tapping joyous old time Christmas with all their holiday favorite songs. We love Christmas music of the late 50s and early 60s, the Christmas hits that we listen to up to this very day. That also happens to be our favorite kind of music to perform so all of our Christmas classics are arranged in that Jazzy style.
OM: As an entertainer, you are quite versatile on screen, in the recording studio and with the pen. Which of these do you think most defines Jane Lynch?
JL: One of the great joys of my life is that my career is so diverse! I love it all. However, I do have a special place in my heart for live performance. It’s where I started, it’s what drew me to a life in this business we call show! And performing with Kate Flannery is a delight and has been for decades now. We met each other in the late 80s and we’ve been singing and performing together ever since. We ratcheted it up after both of our shows were canceled and we hit the road together.
OM: On screen, you have worked with a lot of major players in the industry. Which stars did you most enjoy working with?
JL: I love the ensemble comedies like “40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Talladega Nights.,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” etc… I love being a part of a team. I never wanted to be out there by myself. In these types of projects, the best joke always wins and there’s a great equality, a level playing field. No one‘s trying to be the star! Cooperation is key.
OM: We are often told fans should never meet the stars they adore as they will be disappointed. Should Jane Lynch fans follow this advice?
JL: No. They’ll want to meet me. I’m a delight.
“Christmas was a huge thing in my house and the music was front and center. We listen to the same stuff over and over again: Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, some of the devotional music.”
OM: You are so well known as a comedic actress, but have also played dramatic roles. Do you consider yourself a comedian who acts or as an actor who performs comedy – or is there a difference?
JL: I try to stay away from considering myself it’s anything at all!
OM: When did you first realize that you were funny and people were drawn to you for that?
JL: I remember in grade school making the kids laugh. It was intoxicating.
OM: Which of the roles you have played most resembles Jane Lynch off the screen?
JL: I bring myself to everything or else it wouldn’t be genuine. But I will say that Sue Sylvester is just below the skin!
OM: Performing a Christmas show, is it too much to assume Christmas is a special time for you? What is it about Christmas that is so appealing to Jane Lynch?
JL: Christmas was a huge thing in my house and the music was front and center. We listen to the same stuff over and over again: Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, some of the devotional music. It’s that type of music we exemplify in our Christmas show! The Tony Guererro Quintet specializes in that jazzy, big band style and Kate and I are throwbacks for sure!
OM: Everyone has a tale to tell regarding the pandemic and lockdowns. How was your tour and career affected by the pandemic and do you feel things are getting back to normal for you?
JL: We missed our Christmas tour entirely last year because of Covid. That was sad but you know you do what you have to do and take it in stride. We’re thrilled to be back on the road this Christmas. It’s become a holiday tradition for us.
OM: Show mates Kate Flannery and Tim Davis should be well-known to audiences. Tell me about the dynamic you have with those two.
JL: Tim Davis is not only a beautiful singer and a knockout in the tux, he also arranges all of our vocals. He did the same thing for every song on Glee for the six years we were on television. So, we get to do these really tight three-part harmonies that we just love. It is a real joy being on stage with these two. They are such pros and so delightful and entertaining.
OM: When you are not working, what occupies your time in terms of leisure or hobbies?
JL: I love my dog, I love my house, I love to walk for our long stretches. That’s about all I’m interested in!
OM: Your show is coming to Gainesville, Florida – how familiar are you with north central Florida and what has been your experience here?
JL: I don’t know North Central Florida at all! So, looking forward to meeting all of you and enjoying some holiday spirit!