Celebrated quadruple Emmy winner, actress, singer and comedian Jane Lynch will be appearing live on stage at the Ridgefield Playhouse (80 E Ridge Road, Connecticut), on Saturday, December 2 at 8 p.m. The show, called “A Swinging Little Christmas,” will also feature Kate Flannery (“The Office”) and Tim Davis (“Boy Band”). The three will be singing selections off their release, also titled “A Swingin’ Little Christmas.”
Lynch is praised and admired for her role as Sue Sylvester, the main antagonist throughout Fox’s sensational musical dramedy “Glee”; as host of NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night”; and her recent guest appearance on the new “Will and Grace.” Her film, television and stage credits would require a novel to list; however, highlights include “The Fugitive,” “Best in Show,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Role Models,” Another Cinderella Story,” “Spring Breakdown,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” Her television appearances include “Manhunt: Unabomber,” “The X Files,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Arrested Development,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Weeds,” “Criminal Minds,” “L Word,” “Fraser,” and “Saturday Night Live.” Aside from that, Lynch hosted the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, has received a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame and has written an autobiography, titled “Happy Accidents.”
Lynch also debuted in her own cabaret show, “See Jane Sing,” with Flannery. The duo, along with Tim Davis from ABC’s “Boy Band,” have recorded “A Swingin’ Little Christmas,” which is a nostalgic Christmas album laced with superb harmonies and fun-filled tunes—a perfect way to celebrate Christmas dinner. Also, Lynch recently released a Christmas single and video with the iconic actor and singer Dick Van Dyke, written by Tony Guerrero, titled “We’re Going Caroling.” Lynch will follow her performance at The Ridgefield with two dates in New York, December 3 and 4, at City Winery.
I was honored to speak with the vivacious Lynch in depth regarding her Ridgefield Playhouse engagement, as well as some of her other projects, future plans and what she’s been up to. She was warm, super friendly, authentic and a regular blast!
What can the people at the Ridgefield Playhouse look forward to?
Oh, a “Swingin’ Little Christmas” time, which is the name of our album and the name of the show. We have a wonderful five-piece band. They really swing and jazz out. We have an album called, “A Swingin’ Little Christmas,” and we’ll be performing songs from that album. If people want to bone up on it they should get it ahead of time and sing along with us. Kate Flannery, who is Meredith the drunk on “The Office,” is my cohort in this, as well as Tim Davis, who is the musical arranger of “Glee” and who is also one of the coaches on “Boy Band.” He is a really good friend, handsome, beautiful voice, and the three of us do very tight three-part harmonies. It a lot of fun. Anywhere there is Kate Flannery there is going to be fun. So there’s a lot of fun on stage, and the music in my humble opinion is gorgeous. We have an amazing band, the Tony Guerrero Quintet from Orange County in California. They’ve been playing together for years and are real throwbacks. They wear the skinny ties with the pocket squares, and they’re fun, and handsome, and we are gorgeous, and it’s a beautiful night.
I heard the album actually. It’s a very cool album, full of swing. So Kate Flannery and Tim Davis will be performing with you?
Oh yeah, Kate and Tim.
That is so cool. So you were on the new “Will and Grace.” Do you think your role might become a recurring role?
I don’t think so. I think it was a one-off, but boy what fun that was. I played a gay conversion therapy counselor. Of course I was so gay it made your teeth hurt. My quote-unquote husband was Andrew Rannells, who couldn’t be more gay himself, which is a lot of fun. We got to do some really fun things with them. It was a great, great, great time.
I noticed that you just recorded a Christmas single with Dick van Dyke. How cool was that?
Yes, it was the best. Tony Guerrero, our band leader, wrote a song called “We’re Going Caroling.” Dick agreed to record it, I sang the backup, and so we made a little video. So that is something you can get on iTunes and Amazon as an extra when you buy the album. You can also go on my website, janelynchoffical.com, to see all of this. We have three or four videos of our Christmas songs too. Real simple things, standing in front of a big mic, with great editing, and it’s funny. He’s just a champ. He’s amazing. It was a dream come true for me to stand next to him, singing that song.
I’ve heard you rap, but in the video you’re playing the saxophone. Do you really play the saxophone?
No, and I don’t rap that well either, let’s be honest.
I thought it was great. It made me laugh.
You have done so many projects in your career: You’re an actor, singer, comedian, cabaret performer, four-time Emmy winner, you have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Is there anything that you haven’t done yet that you still wish to accomplish?
No. I have no bucket list. I never did really. I just kind of always took what came my way. I said, “Hmm, I’ll do this.” I really love what I do, and I continue to love it, and if I don’t then I wouldn’t do it. New things keep on coming in, and it’s thrilling. Everyday is thrilling. I’m always doing something new.
As a small child, did you feel that you were destined to be an entertainer?
Yeah, I knew, and with that came a lot of anxiety. “Will I be able to get in there, will I get through?” But yes, that was really all I wanted. It was like a fever, like a compulsion. It was not something I could be talked out of—and believe me, my mother tried.
Is there any advice that you would give to little baby Jane looking back?
Well, don’t try to be a baby Jane; be your own self. I think that’s kind of what I did. People would ask me—I remember being in graduate school for acting—they said, “Do you see any careers out there you’d like to follow the trajectory of?” I felt like I had to have an answer. Now I realize that I never did, and I still don’t, so I would say follow your own trajectory. You kind of have to really want to do it. If that’s not you, find out what else you’re passionate about. You really have to when there are people saying no and shutting the door in your face, and continue to move on, because you have no other choice. Or else you’ll quit and do something else.
Something tells me that you didn’t have that many doors slam.
You know what, I did and I didn’t, and maybe I have rose-colored glasses, but after I look back on it, I didn’t suffer much of the rejection. There was a lot of it, but there was also a lot of, “Hey, come play with us.” So that made up for it and squashed the memories of any feelings of rejection.
I saw an interview that you did with Conan O’Brien where you said that you weren’t that interested in people. I laughed so much.
[laughs] You know, I am in the general sense. I really love people, but we get so wrapped up in minutiae. When I have to go down into someone’s minutiae and their little stories about how they are victimized, or how popular they were in high school, but they’re not now, that kind of thing, I’m not into it. I don’t think that fits in the scene when you’re jumping on the bandwagon of someone else’s misery story, so I stay away from that. For sure.
I totally identify with your feeling on that, being a journalist.
Yeah, I bet. Some people aren’t, and you have to make them look interesting.
I love what I do, but sometimes it’s challenging. Sometimes people go on and on forever and you just want to kill yourself.
Oh my God, I know. Honey, I know. That’s why I don’t go to parties. They say that I’m socially anxious, which is the truth, but for the most part I can’t stand that muddle of conversation, communication. That’s why I’d rather just have… I had my niece and her boyfriend over for dinner last night. It was so much fun. We don’t talk about crappy little things. We laugh, we allow silence to happen, we eat and drink good food and good bubbly water.
My family is a really big fan of yours, because you were in “Wreck-It Ralph.”
Yeah. What’s really funny, if you go on any of my social media today, I posted my niece, my niece’s boyfriend and me wearing my “Wreck-It Ralph” costume, because I actually have a costume. I asked who wore it better.
How funny. That had to be cool doing animation voices. You’ve done a bunch.
I’ve done a lot of animation. Animation on television too in a couple of series. I love it.
That has to be fun. You don’t even have to wear make-up for the camera.
But I do, because I’m that kind of girl. I used to show up in my pajamas, but I cleaned up my act. I used to be kind of a sloppy person, but when I became famous and had my picture taken a lot I figured I better step it up. You know, we’re coming to New York too. We’re going to be at City Winery right after Ridgefield. We will be at City Winery that Sunday and Monday. Let’s get that place full. It’s going to be a great time. Are you familiar with City Winery?
No, I’m not, but I’ll be some familiar.
Good, come and say hello, please.
What else is coming up for you? Any new projects?
I’m pitching a daytime show. A show about good news. It’s a passion project of mine, and Warner Bros. has jumped on board. It will just be a half hour of an audience, me, and Kate Flannery is going to join me as well, and some other friends. It will be mostly about good things that are happening in the world. We’re going to have people in the audience who have done some wonderful things. We’ll have a lot of videos of people doing wonderful things, and it’s just going to be a half an hour of laughs and fun. So we hope that it all gets sold. The world needs it, and I want to do it. It would fill my heart with joy. It’s easy. It’s all over the place. That’s the thing that was slapping me in the face. We only hear the horrible stuff, and there are people all over doing amazing things. Most of them are just the little things people do for each other that are pretty amazing, and animals of course.
For more info:
For tickets to Ridgefield vist theridgefieldplayhouse.boxoffice-tickets.com or call (800) 440-8539.