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Broadway Q&A: Emmy Winner Jane Lynch

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |


“If I am working with a young person, the first thing I like to discover are their hopes and dreams. Not that they even know what they are, but I like to encourage them, and say, ‘You’re okay. You’re good.’”

Jane Lynch recently visited the the Collins & Katz Family YMCA to work with and mentor teens who were putting on a talent show for their family and friends. Last season on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, she played one of New York’s top stand-up comedians, Sophie Lennon, and earned an Emmy nomination for her performance. She returns to the Amazon series for season two. Lynch also hosts Hollywood Game Night, and was recently nominated for an Emmy for outstanding host (Lynch has four Emmys to her name, including two for hosting Hollywood Game Night and one for playing the inimitable Sue Sylvester on Glee). A theater veteran, she earned her acting chops at The Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. She appeared on Broadway back in 2013, playing Miss Hannigan in Annie

Jane Lynch helps young YMCA members rehearse for a talent show (Photo: Courtesy of Y-USA)

Jane Lynch helps young YMCA members rehearse for a talent show (Photo: Courtesy of Y-USA)

Can you recall one of the first times that you performed? 
Jane Lynch
: I did a Christmas program the second or third grade, and played a candle. We all spelled out the word "candle." I was "A," and I remember the poem. “A is for air, so filled with smells of spice. Smells of cake, pudding and pies, everything that is nice.”

Do you see yourself coming back to Broadway?
Jane Lynch
: If Broadway comes-a-knocking, I would probably say "yes." When I did Annie on Broadway, it brought back the reason I love doing live theater. There’s the camaraderie with my fellow actors. I love dedicating my life to that performance that night. That means you sleep late. You protect your voice. I couldn’t wait to go to the theater every night. I would love to do that again.

Was there a moment when you knew you had to be an actress? 
Jane Lynch
: It was something that just was a given. Somewhere deep down inside, I knew this was what I would end up doing. It was such a strong compulsion. In a way, it’s a blessing and a curse. A lot of my friends didn’t know what they wanted to do. I love what I do. When I was a kid and the play I did ended, I would be absolutely depressed, wondering if the curtain would rise again. So for me it was very clear. I think I was shot out of the womb knowing this is what I was going to do. 

You have talked about your local Y, and why it was so meaningful to you. Why did you love it so much? 
Jane Lynch
: I was drawn to the community of people. People were not just there to work out or go to a gym.  They were there to hang out and be a part of the community. It was a basketball court, swimming pool, library. I went to a yoga class there for a couple years. In fact, a lot of the people I met back then in 1992 are still my very close friends.

What was it like working with the teens when you visited the Y? 
Jane Lynch
: I was really honored and thrilled to be there. The kids had such a positive attitude. They had a certain confidence where they knew that whatever they did, it was going to be just fine. They didn’t have any stage fright. They were open to suggestions. As far as I’m concerned, they were there to be told, “You are doing great, I love that you went through the trouble to learn this. How wonderful you’re going to perform it for everybody.” It’s mostly just to love and laugh with them. I’m not a drill sergeant. And the experience goes with the camaraderie that exists at the Y. Everybody comes there to feel good and be who they are.

If I am working with a young person, the first thing I like to discover are their hopes and dreams. Not that they even know what they are, but I like to encourage them, and say, “You’re okay. You’re good.”

With all the reboots that are happening, do you envision a Glee reboot?
Jane Lynch
: Not for me and probably not our cast, unless they come back as somebody else. But I think it’s a terrific idea. It can keep being recycled with new casts and a new high school. It’s a winner of a show, and really helps kids a lot. In fact, kids are now re-experiencing it on Netflix, which is fantastic. Glee is something that could go on and on and on, because the concept is so pure. 

For more of the best of the city, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in November 2018

 

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