Three-time Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress Jane Lynch (Glee, Best in Show, Hollywood Game Night) joins the St. Louis Symphony for her world premiere performance with the orchestra. She’ll take you on a rollicking musical journey with a large dose of comedy thrown in, performing hits from Broadway and classic favorites including Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, King of the Road, Mambo Italiano, I Feel Good and more. Plus, one quintessential Guatemalan love song. We chatted with Lynch in a rare state—nervous—as she prepares for a new venture with the symphony.
Can you tell me the difference between this show and your show we saw last year when you were in St. Louis?
Well, it’s just me. In the original show that you saw at The Sheldon, there’s really no theme to it except it’s music that means something to me. I’m finding, especially with this one, my dad who passed away in 2003, he was a music lover, and almost all the stuff I chose for this is stuff I learned from him. So that’s kind of fun. I should probably call it “Jane Sings Franks Music.”
Or “Sings Frank’s Favorites.”
Yeah, Frank’s Favorites! I might change the name of the show at some point, because you never know. I named the show before I did it. So maybe I’ll subtitle it Frank’s Favorites.
How is it working with orchestras?
Well I’ll just have you know, I’m premiering this in St. Louis. It’s my first time. We’re in rehearsals now with just the piano. So, the first time I will hear it with an orchestra will be at a rehearsal, which happens hours before the show. I’m embarking on a maiden voyage right before your very eyes, and I’m very excited and nervous at the same time.
Yes. I discovered Joni Mitchell in 2000 when I bought my house in Laurel Canyon, and the spirit of that music grabbed me—you know Laurel Canyon is where she lives. It’s where all of rock and roll was happening in the late 60s, early 70s. And I was taken by her music and this gorgeous canyon. And Brad—the head of orchestra—I told him two of my favorite songs, and he turned it into a “canyon lady suite,: as he calls it. I think Joni would be happy. It’s a beautiful orchestrated version of “Morning Morgantown” and “Ladies of the Canyon,” and then “I Could Drink a Case of You.” I have not been able to get through it without crying. I can’t imagine how I’m going to get through it with the orchestra.
What can audiences in St. Louis expect from the show?
Really, a plethora of music. It’s all over the place. From Joni Mitchell to Chris Porter, and I do what I call my “sad songs medley”—it ends with a lousy rendition of “Nothing Can Be Done.” And I have the balls to do an Ella Fitzgerald version of “You’d Be So Easy to Love.” And yeah, I do a little James Brown. It’s all over the place.
Now you’ve done it all: TV, movies, live theater, game shows, online sketches. What is your favorite medium of choice?
I have to tell you, I never set out to do one thing or another, it’s just what happened and I love it. I have a web series out now called Dropping the Soap on Amazon, but right now I think that I can say that the musical performance shines a little brighter than everything else. Kate Flannery and I do benefits all over L.A. and we’re also doing the Christmas tour with our album called A Swingin’ Little Christmas, which came out this past Christmas. I’m loving the live performance; it’s just a delight.
We did, actually. A girl who was on One Life to Live, and she very much affirmed that soap operas are basically circling the drain right now. So this is a soap opera kind of on its last legs, trying to remain relevant. And I play the executive producer who’s really hired to kind of whip it back into shape and they’re all scared to death of me. I fire people left and right, so everybody’s just afraid of losing their job. And that’s basically what it is; it’s a workplace comedy.
What project would you say you are the most proud of?
Dropping the Soap, because we did it on our own nickel. But if I could give you two answers, this Christmas album, A Swingin’ Little Christmas, we did it on our own nickel as well. We were #8 on Billboard, which is pretty freakin’ great.
What project would you say was the most difficult for you?
You know Party Down that we did on Starz? This was another one of those guerrilla productions. We were basically on our own. We had an amazing crew, and the most beautiful happy accident of casting. We got no notes from executives or the network itself. And it was kind of like guerilla warfare, but in the most beautiful sense. I never felt so much love. Everyday going to work, I couldn’t wait to get there. It was a lovefest. V
by Kevin Schmidt
Now are there any projects upcoming that we should be on the lookout for?
Yeah, I play Janet Reno in a show called Manifesto. Its about the Unabomber. It’s Discovery’s first scripted series.
Oh that’s awesome.
Yeah it’s going to be really cool. It’s going back to the 90’s and Paul Bettany plays the Unabomber, and there are Chris Noth plays the head FBI guy. I’m not sure when that comes out, but I think it’s sometime this year.