Glee's Jane Lynch and The Office's Kate Flannery Bring Two Lost Souls to the Carlyle
Two great comic actors take the stage for an evening of songs from the Mad Men era.
When it comes to her cabaret career, Glee star Jane Lynch's motto seems to be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Lynch's latest concert with longtime performing partner Kate Flannery kicked off at the Café Carlyle on September 11. Backed by a jazz quartet led by Tony Guerrero, the set list for the evening, titled Two Lost Souls, is dotted with numbers that make you crave martinis, and a perfect fit for the upscale room. Unfortunately, if you've seen one of their past shows, either at Feinstein's/54 Below in 2014 or Joe's Pub in 2015, this one proves a little too familiar.
OK, it's not exactly like their past efforts. Judging by the note cards on the piano, and the script that Lynch comically showed off to the audience, this is a new concert designed for the Carlyle, even though a lot of the songs aren't new to their repertoire.
Still, the Barry Sisters' bossa nova take on "Far From the Home I Love" from Fiddler on the Roof has never sounded better in Lynch and Flannery's history of performing it, and there's always beautiful tenderness to their version of "The Party's Over" from Bells Are Ringing. And no matter how many times I've heard her patter about "Generalissimo James Franco," it's a geeky delight to hear Lynch croon "Skeletons of Quinto" and "Blood on the Coal," two songs written by the fictional band the Folksmen for the film A Mighty Wind, in which Lynch costarred.
If Two Lost Souls is notable for anything, it's that Flannery, best known for her scene-stealing, nine-season stint as Meredith the drunk on The Office, has a more substantial role than she had in past concerts. Lynch actually seems pleased to cede the spotlight so Flannery can shine, and she certainly does, in impeccable comedic renditions of "Shy" from Once Upon a Mattress, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" from Disney's Cinderella, and the Christmas song "Good King Wenceslas." Flannery actually comes off as the stronger of the two, more comfortable with the off-the-cuff nature of cabaret.
Lynch doesn't really have that natural looseness. You can see the wheels always turning as she approaches each section. But she's a pro, and always enjoyable to watch. Her twerk-filled rendition of Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" proves why and how she's gotten where she is. Familiar as this show seemed, you'll never see anything like it.