Theater News

Jane Lynch Gets Happy

The award-winning actress discusses her new book, Happy Accidents, her Broadway dreams, the Emmy Awards, and Glee.

Jane Lynch
(© Alan Mercer)
Jane Lynch
(© Alan Mercer)

Jane Lynch’s name may now almost be synonymous with Sue Sylvester, the tough-talking coach on FOX’s hit series Glee that earned her an Emmy Award, but the beloved actress boasts a long history with theater, from a high school production of Godspell to starring as Carol Brady in a live-action production of The Brady Bunch to her stint in the Off-Broadway production of Love, Loss and What I Wore.

Last month, Lynch released her memoir Happy Accidents, in which she chronicles her various roles and how they contributed to her journey of becoming comfortable in her own skin. She caught up with TheaterMania recently to answer a few questions about the book, her theatrical endeavors, hosting the 2011 Emmy Awards, and Glee.

THEATERMANIA: On your dedication page in Happy Accidents, you speak of following a hero’s journey. If you had to pick one person, who would you say is your own hero?
JANE LYNCH: Well, that’s been the rub for me! I kept looking for my hero and have learned that no one is coming. My journey and how I undertake it has been up to me!

TM: What is the trick to realizing you’re actually experiencing a “happy accident” in the moment?
JL: Simply assume that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whoever you are with right here and now is exactly as it’s supposed to be. I suggest that there really are no accidents.

TM: That said, which of your own “happy accidents” do you hold most dear?
JL: When I found myself lost and frustrated in a huge hotel lobby and was spotted by my future wife who (for reasons she didn’t really understand at the time) began to follow me.

TM: In the book, you say that your experience with Godspell was a transformational time. Do you have any advice for the cast of the new Broadway production?
JL: Enjoy the moment! Don’t worry about the reviews or fret about what a success or failure means to your future. Stand firmly in the here and now and “love the one you’re with.”

TM: Do you still dream of being on Broadway one day?
JL: My ambition doesn’t burn as hot these days and I don’t have a dream I’m chasing. That said, I’m sure I will be on stage again. It could be on Broadway and it could also be a production of Mame in Palmdale.

TM: What did you learn most from hosting the Emmy Awards last month?

JL: I learned the same lesson I learn over and over about doing anything live. It’s a running freight train you’re jumping onto, and it’s best to stay present and enjoy the ride.

TM: You’re in the middle of the third season of Glee. Which of the teenaged characters do you most relate to?
JL: Tina, because she’s in the background, talented, but loathe to let the spotlight shine on her for too long. I would also say Kurt, because I too had the big gay secret — but I did not possess his courage and sense of entitlement.

TM: If Sue Sylvester and Jane Lynch ever had lunch, what would they talk about?
JL: That would never happen. Sue Sylvester hasn’t had a solid meal since 1984.