The last time Jane Lynch, the character actress perhaps best known for her work for television (“Glee,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and film (“Best in Show”), was in 2013, when she played Miss Hannigan in a revival of “Annie.”
Now she’s back, starring in the “Funny Girl” revival, alongside Beanie Feldstein. “I’ve always enjoyed being part of a theater group,” said Ms. Lynch. “That’s how I like to live, focus on one thing and let it be all-encompassing.”
Newly married to Jennifer Cheyne, 60, a screenwriter, Mrs. Lynch, 61, lives mostly in Santa Barbara, California. Her stay in New York is temporary; she is headquartered in Midtown until her dedication to the show ends in late September. She enjoyed the change of pace, she said.
“New York has a heartbeat that beats and is alive and buzzing 24/7,” she said. “Los Angeles rolls up their streets at 8 p.m.”
GOOD MORNING I am a monk. I don’t need much space. The first three months of rehearsals I was in the Mandarin Oriental, which was fun. A few weeks ago I packed my two bags and moved into a two bedroom apartment that the production found for me which is great because when company comes they have a place to stay. I usually get up at 6am no matter what time I go to bed, but I’m exhausted from doing two shows the night before so I might sleep until 7 or 8am.
SCREEN THINGS I recently became very militant, deleting 15 years of emails and putting a filter on my email, so now I get very few – from my agent, Jennifer and my sister and brother. I usually read it in bed. Now that I’m in the apartment, I force myself to do it in the living room. I watch YouTube videos on my phone about UFOs, lectures on Jungian psychology, and Jeffrey Mishlove’s “New Thinking Allowed”. He’s like an intellectual, spiritual Mr. Rogers. My stomach doesn’t like coffee, so I take two Perrier caffeinated energy drinks.
CENTRAL PARK WALK I go for a walk around 11 am. Sometimes I stop at Ground Central and order an oat milk latte. I walk to Columbus Circle and go to the dog park to get my puppy fixed. I like dogs and dog people. We usually have three or four dogs in the house at a time. At the moment we only have Mildred, a Belgian Shepherd. I stay talking to people for about an hour, then walk through the park and get lost until I can find a building I recognize.
PROTEIN HIT By the time I’m out of the park, I’m hungry. I was vegan but didn’t think I could give up sushi, which I love. I go to Maki Maki and order three spicy salmon rolls, which I eat there. Then I go to the theatre.
THE NEW PROTOCOL At 2 pm I enter through the stage door. If my name is cleared of yesterday’s Covid test, it will be in the book, which I sign and enter the building. Then I log in to my phone via a QR code. My dressing room is one flight up and I’m doing a Covid test there where I spit into a bottle and put it in a bag with my name on it and hang it on the wall outside my door.
THE CHANGING ROOM All I brought from home was a framed, professional photo of my parents, taken in 1959 at the Plaza Hotel at breakfast before going to “My Fair Lady”. I’m in my mother’s tummy. I’m not sentimental, but I liked that they go to a Broadway show and I do a Broadway show.
TO PREPARE Barry Hoff, my dresser, who was my dresser for ‘Annie’, usually irons my wardrobe when I get there. I steam my face, which steams my throat. Then I listen to the greatest hits of Manhattan Transfer and I sing ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’. I sing that two or three times in soprano, even though I don’t sing soprano on the show. That’s my vocal warm-up. It loosens my voice and my breathing into a cadence.
NO MORE FEAR I wash and moisturize my face and do my own makeup. At 2:40 am my wig and cap arrive. I’m in my basic clothes and costume and microphone pack. I used to get anxious about the show and said, “Jane, you know this show and you enjoy it.” About two weeks ago the anxiety went away.
RITUALS At 2:55 am “places” is called. I grab two mini peanut butter cups from the control guy, which is probably a bad thing to eat before taking the stage, but they don’t bother me, and go up the spiral staircase with two other actors. When the overture begins, we do circle exercises with our arms and take off our masks just before going on stage. I’ll be in the zone for the next hour and a half.
PAUSE I’m already in my room, in a bathrobe, because I’m kinda ready for the break. I’ll sit there until Barry tells us to get dressed for the second act. I take two more peanut butter cups from the controller.
CERTAIN STOPS I’m in the first three scenes, including my “Sadie, Sadie” and “Who taught her everything she knows?” numbers. I’m not always on stage, but I’m enough on stage, unlike Beanie. She’s on the train all the time; I get off at certain stops.
CURTAIN CALL When we bow, it’s beautiful, because that’s when we can see the audience’s eyes because they’re masked. They are so much a part of the experience. We’ve all done something together. I love that.
SECURE EXIT Sundays feel different because it’s the end of our week. It’s my favorite show because I feel like I’ve done eight shows and I have the next day off. I change out of everything as quickly as possible and slip out through another stage door. I don’t like crowds of people, I like one-on-one. And I’m trying to stay super safe because if you get Covid you’ll be out for 10 days.
GRAIN FOR DINNER Sometimes I stop at the Westerly on the way home and buy an Ocho dark chocolate peanut butter bar. At the apartment I take off my make-up and put on pajamas. I might have a bowl of raisin bran with almond milk.
CLEAN SURFACES I go back to YouTube, on my phone, not on the computer. I try to stay away from news and Twitter. I had a terrible Twitter habit that I broke in January. I was too obsessed. I tweeted three or four times a day; now i watch it once a day and tweet about the show. I’m not DMing anymore – it’s in my profile. I am much happier. I like clean surfaces; that includes my brain and my closet.
SILK LINEN, CITY VIEWS I sleep at 9am which is my normal bedtime. I put silicone plasters on my forehead and around my eyes. And I have silk pillowcases from home. I have a beautiful view of the city. As I lay in bed I watch it until I get sleepy.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Jane Lynch on Twitter @janemarielynch and on Instagram @janelynchofficial.