Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 13 / 29 March 2018

Jane Lynch swings


Kate Flannery, Jane Lynch, and Tim Davis perform "A Swingin' Little Christmas." Photo: Bay Area Cabaret
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She'll always be best-known as Sue Sylvester, the gym teacher you love to hate on the late, lamented "Glee." Sue is a far cry from Jane Lynch, her portrayer. Or is she?

"If you scratch the surface of my person ever-so-slightly, you'll find Sue Sylvester in there," Lynch told the B.A.R. as she was preparing to bring her Christmas cabaret act to town. "I didn't have to dig very deep to find this warrior of a woman with a very tender heart."

Lynch looks back upon the now-cancelled series fondly. "I was probably closest to Matthew Morrison, who I keep in touch with," she said. "He's kind of my role model for the trajectory of my life music career. He's constantly on stage with a band or an orchestra. I'm following in his footsteps and have begun doing symphony shows. He's great for advice."

"I think the genesis of the 'Glee' idea could live on in other television shows," she said. "There's such a need for it right now, a place where kids can go and know that everybody has their back. Where they all come together and raise their voices in song. In terms of a revival for our cast, I doubt that would happen."

Though she's best-known as a comic actress, and has had major roles in the films "Best in Show" and "The 40 Year Old Virgin," Lynch is actually an accomplished singer. When she appears in "A Swingin' Little Christmas" at the Fairmount Hotel's Venetian Room on Dec. 10, she'll be performing with Kate Flannery of "The Office," Tim Davis of "Glee" and the Tony Guerrero Quintet. It's not their first time stepping up to the microphones together.

"We made a Christmas album last year, and we'll be performing all the songs from that album," Lynch said. "It's very much an homage to the Big Band music of the 50s and early 60s. We do several well-known carols arranged by Tony Guererro, our bandleader. They all have a very jazzy Big Band feel. The show also features some Tony Guererro originals that sound like they were recorded 60 years ago. He's a real throwback, and so is this show. When you have Kate Flannery on stage, there's always going to be ridiculousness and a lot of fun!

"I've known Kate for decades, we met in Chicago and have been performing together ever since," she said. "Tim Davis was the vocal arranger on 'Glee.' He's a real throwback, just like the band and Kate. They both look like Big Band singers from the 50s.

An out lesbian, Lynch and gay actor Andrew Rannells ("The New Normal") recently appeared on a hilarious episode of the recently revived "Will & Grace." They played a married couple running a "pray the gay away" camp, from which Jack (Sean Hayes) rescues his young grandson. "Andrew and I were both so gay it made your teeth hurt!"

Lynch credits comic legend Carol Burnett as a major influence on her own life and career. "I absolutely adored the Carol Burnett Show," she said. "I couldn't wait for Saturday night. They looked like they were all having so much fun. It was a true ensemble."

Burnett and her cast inspired Lynch to invite her friends to join her onstage. "I've never want to be up there all by myself," she said. "That's why I surround myself with such great people like Kate and Tim and the Tony Guererro Quintet."


Jane Lynch: A Swingin' Little Christmas, Sun., Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., the Venetian Room at the Fairmount Hotel, 950 Mason St., SF.


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