Jane Lynch is relishing the sort of Tony Awards night any Broadway newcomer hopes for.
The “Glee” co-star is in the midst of her Great White Way debut as stern Miss Hannigan — who well could have been a relative of Lynch’s Sue Sylvester — in the current revival of the iconic musical “Annie.” Having earned a warm reception from the Tony crowd for her performance of “Little Girls,” Lynch also is happy with the way the rest of her evening went Sunday (June 9).
“It was great,” the Emmy winner tells Zap2it the morning after. “It’s exhilarating and fun to be a part of this community. I went to Sardi’s afterward, and it was just storybook … and I was present enough to really enjoy it. It was nice to have performed in the early part of the evening so that I could just enjoy the rest of it.”
Lynch admits she “really tried not to think about” being on the Radio City Music Hall stage doing her “Annie” number, not only for viewers nationwide who watched on CBS, but also for an audience of professional peers right in front of her.
“I probably would have been rendered paralyzed,” she muses. “When I went out in the audience to watch the rest of the show, I realized who was out there … and I am so glad I didn’t know ahead of time! I purposely set my eyes and my mind to bypass that information before I performed.”
The “Annie” stint continues for Lynch until mid-July, when she’ll report back to duty on FOX’s “Glee” to start filming Season 5. She also turns up on television in another role soon, as host of NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night” when the Sean Hayes-produced trivia contest that pits civilians against celebrities premieres Thursday, July 11.
For the moment, Lynch says doing “Annie” has “reignited my desire to want to do stage. It’s reminded me of why I have been drawn to this way of life. I love doing television and I love doing film, but there’s something about showing up and doing a 2-1/2-hour show and the arc of a character with the give-and-take of a live audience.
“Theater was in my sights early on, when I was first drawn to being an actor,” notes Lynch. “it’s not that I got sidetracked or anything, I just did it a different way. I will still do television and film, but at its most basic, theater is what ignites that fire and that passion like nothing else for me. I’m not ever going to stop doing theater.”