By Brian Scott Lipton . . .

One of the entertainment world’s most beloved performers, Jane Lynch has delighted television audiences with her Emmy Award-winning work as Sue Sylvester on Glee, Sophie Lennon on the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and as host of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night. And next year, she returns to her role as Constance in Starz’ comedy Party Down, which will begin filming a new season in January.

Meanwhile, Lynch is no stranger to the stage. In 2009, she joined the cast of the Off-Broadway smash, Love, Loss and What I Wore, and in 2013, Broadway musical fans lined up to see her delicious portrayal of the curmudgeonly Miss Hannigan in the revival of Annie. She now returns to the Main Stem in March 2022 as Mrs. Brice in the long-awaited revival of Funny Girl.

In 2015, Lynch embarked on her own live concert tour, See Jane Sing, with Kate Flannery, Tim Davis and The Tony Guerrero Quintet — all of whom now join her on the latest tour of A Swinging Little Christmas which comes to NJPAC on December 9.

Theater Pizzazz recently spoke to Lynch about this holiday show, her career and, of course, Funny Girl.

Q: What can audiences expect from this show?

JL: It’s really an old fashioned/late 1950s-type show of Christmas music — all the stuff we play over and over each year. It was really influenced by what I listened to growing up, which was Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney and this compilation of Christmas music we’d get every year from the Firestone Tire company, which also included some devotional music and a cappella singing. Everything in the show has been arranged by Tim Davis, who I worked with on Glee, and we also have my friend Kate Flannery and the Tony Guerrero Quintet, who really specialize in this jazzy big-band sound. It’s truly a toe-tapping show and I promise that you won’t think you’ve wasted your time or your money if you come.

Q: Tell me about your friendship/musical partnership with Kate Flannery? I remember loving your Two Lost Souls showat the Café Carlyle.

JL: We first met in Chicago in the late 1980s theater scene, and we really bonded over this kind of music. After we both left Chicago, we kept in touch, and then we ended up doing a lot of charity events together when I was on Glee and she was on The Office. What I love about working with her is that she’s always a wild card. Sometimes, she throws me off and I just love that. I think we’re like a modern-day Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden.

Q: Do you like touring?

JL: With any other show, no. But these are my best friends, so I love being out with them. Well, I stay away from them during the day. But before every show, Kate and I – who share a dressing room — listen to The Carpenters and Burt Bacharach; put on our make-up together; and we do our own little cheer, which always starts with “Merry Xmas Bitches” and incorporates the town or state we’re playing.

Q: So how did you get the role of Mrs. Brice in Funny Girl, and how excited are you about doing it?

JL: My agent planted the seed without telling me. He really didn’t say anything to me until it came to fruition. I then did an audition of sorts, but I think Michael Mayer (the director) and I both pretended it didn’t happen like one. But I did a scene together with Beanie Feldstein (who plays Fanny Brice). She’s great; she really lights up the stage. Of course, I am so excited to come back to Broadway. I never saw the stage version of Funny Girl, but I knew that cast album really well since I listened to it all the time growing up. And I recently watched the movie again, and all I can say is that Barbra Streisand must have really been a revelation! I can’t wait to really immerse myself in the role of Mrs. Brice.

Q: Did you know that being on Glee would ultimately lead to this kind of career?

JL: I knew it was a special part and I knew I had a funny take on it. With comedy, if I do something and it makes me laugh, then I think it will work and make other people laugh. I know people weren’t sure about Glee because musicals don’t always work on television. The show is still such a cultural phenomenon now; I think someone mentions it to me every day. It was a lovely thing to be part of.

Q: So aside from touring with A Swinging Little Christmas, how does Jane Lynch celebrate the holiday season?

JL: First, I have a lot of holiday albums on my computer that I play over and over. And I am going to Chicago for the first time in two years to see my family, and I am also going to direct a commercial while I am there. This pocket of the year is one of my favorite times. But I also love when it’s over and I never start celebrating or decorating too early. You don’t want to peak until late December!

A Swinging Little Christmas will play NJPAC’s Victoria Theatre on Thursday, December 9 at 7:30pm. Visit for tickets.