JANESVILLE—Comedy and music shows are among the Janesville Performing Arts Center’s most well-attended performances.
So when the community theater had a chance to book two well-known TV comedy stars—Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery—for a night of jokes and cabaret singing, it jumped at the opportunity, JPAC Executive Director Nate Burkart said.
“What’s neat about it is we’re trying to bring things to the area that have never been in this area before,” he said. “I know Janesville is not the size of Minneapolis, Chicago or New York, but it doesn’t mean we can’t look into these communities and see what they’re doing and bring that to Janesville. I believe the people of Janesville deserve to see this kind of stuff.”
Lynch and Flannery will perform their show “Two Lost Souls” as part of JPAC’s annual gala fundraiser. The show begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 4.
Tickets for the show only are $60. Admission for a pre-show dinner and VIP seating is $250.
Lynch is perhaps best known for her role as Sue Sylvester in the musical TV series “Glee.” Flannery gained fame playing the surly Meredith Palmer on “The Office.”
The two comedic actresses have been friends for decades, first performing sketch comedy together in Chicago years ago. “Two Lost Souls” won’t be their first tour together, either—they’ve also shared a stage for “See Jane Sing.”
The duo also released a Christmas album in 2016 called “A Swingin’ Little Christmas.”
Lynch told The Gazette that “Two Lost Souls” is very similar to “See Jane Sing.” Both showcase the women’s musical talents backed up by the Tony Guerrero Quintet.
Their chemistry, honed through years of trust and experience, shines on stage.
“I think our dynamic is really cool together. She’s very loose and sloppy and funny, and I’m more precise. I try to keep her on track,” Lynch said. “It’s kind of a celebration of our relationship.”
Jokes and different comedic bits fill the time between songs. Most of the music comes from Broadway hits ranging from the late 1940s to the 1960s, and the show’s tagline is “Like the Rat Pack with a couple of broads.”
Some of the music is modern, however. Lynch and Flannery will perform Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” for example.
“Two Lost Souls” debuted in September during a 10-night run at the Café Carlyle in New York. After a hiatus, the show hits the road this May—but it only has performances scheduled in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Janesville.
Janesville might seem like an odd fit in a tour schedule that hits New York and the Twin Cities, but Burkart sees JPAC’s small setting as ideal for this type of show.
“We thought it was a really great opportunity. It just seemed like it fit,” he said. “What’s fun about bringing in big names that aren’t necessarily people in a band is they like performing in intimate spaces.”
Burkart has not met Lynch or Flannery in person yet. But others he knows in the theater industry say both women are kind and considerate.
That kindness can be felt by the audience, he said.
“They have a lot of personality,” Burkart said. “They’re not just singing and not talking to you. You’ll feel like you were with them.”