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Hear Jane Talk: Jane Lynch on Cabaret Act See Jane Sing

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No one needs to search for a long time to see Jane Lynch’s many talents on display. You've seen her act, do jokes, improvise, and win Emmys and Globes.

But have you ever, could you ever See Jane Sing?

The brave multi-hyphenate will be venturing into (mostly) uncharted waters when she brings her new cabaret act, See Jane Sing, to Houston for a one-night-only powerhouse performance at the House of Blues. On Friday, June 10, Jane will be belting everything from the hits of Broadway to chart-topping pop standards.

Lynch, who is likely known to most for her six-year portrayal as short-tempered gym teacher Sue Sylvester on Fox’s musical dramedy Glee, even admits that how she came to headline her own night of music is a bit unorthodox. “I was doing [the Tony-nominated revival of] Annie on Broadway about two summers ago, when the people of 54 Below, which is this cabaret space in New York City, offered me four nights to do my own show,” she says, adding with a laugh, “assuming that I already had one, because most Broadway people do!”

While Lynch may have not had a show at the moment, the host of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night was not to be deterred, saying, “I don’t have one yet, but I’ll just create one.” Giving herself a short-term deadline of only “a couple months,” Lynch says she “started coming up with the song list,” which features a diverse array of tunes, including an original ballad written by Transparent creator Jill Soloway called “If Wishes Were Rainbows” to a reimagined version of Nicki Minaj’s pop anthem “Anaconda.”  

Among the varied set list, Lynch is quick to point out her favorite. “Right now, my favorite thing to do in the show is ‘The Medley of Songs That Made Us Cry When We Were Kids.’ We were sitting around one day and I said that Puff The Magic Dragon when I was a kid used to make me cry inconsolably,” the 55-year-old admits. “It was so sad to me that Jackie Papers came no more and Puff went away without his best friend. It made me cry, [and] there was something so primal and deep in that kind of crying. [After I said that], everyone else kind of piped in with the songs that just ripped them apart when they were little. So we put it into a medley! It’s pretty funny and really sweet.”

Lynch says from the act’s “humble beginnings two summers ago,” See Jane Sing has grown. “[Early in the process], I only had a three-piece band. But now, I have this terrific five-piece band backing me up, which is great.” But that’s not all. The former Glee star will be joined by another actress best known for her work on TV. “My best friend, Kate Flannery, will also be joining me for the show!” Flannery, most famous for her dedicated portrayal of promiscuous drunkard Meredith on NBC’s Emmy-winning sitcom The Office, will be playing Lynch’s upstaging second banana, a fictionalized version of herself.

As an improviser, Lynch has worked with two of the most gifted behind-the-camera minds in film comedy: Christopher Guest on his improvised mocumentary films Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration; and Judd Apatow on his gag-heavy raunch-fests 40 Year Old Virgin, Talladega Nights, Role Models and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.  But before Lynch found success on screen, she was a resident member of Chicago’s reliable star-maker Second City. Jane thinks her time as a touring comedy member inspired this late-career return to the stage. “My experience being with Second City, being on the road, has a direct influence on See Jane Sing,” she says. “We’re not doing skits so much [because] it’s a musical show, but we’re certainly [borrowing] the patterns of a sketch revue, and it’s a lot of fun.”

While Lynch is in her element onstage, the Happy Accidents author does want to make one limitation abundantly clear. “Warning: If people are coming to [See Jane Sing] thinking they’re gonna see me doing stand-up, [that’s a] no. People have said that to me — ‘I came to see stand-up, I came to see stand-up” — and I’m like…the show is literally called See Jane Sing. Not See Jane Do Stand-Up,” she deadpans. “You won’t be seeing that anytime soon.”

6 p.m. Friday. Houston of Blues. 1204 Caroline. For information, call 888-402-5837 or visit houseofblues.com/houston. $35-$55.

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