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With the April 24 opening of Broadway’s Funny Girl and new seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Party Down available to stream, five-time Emmy winner Jane Lynch, 61, is having the time of her life — and no one is more surprised than she is that big opportunities now chase her, instead of vice versa. “My white-hot ambition, [which I had] as recently as five years ago, just doesn’t exist anymore, not at all,” says Lynch. “I’m just letting things roll in. I don’t know if that is a product of age or my particular evolution as a person.” She tells AARP what’s up in her miraculous career year.
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Back to Broadway as Mrs. Rosie Brice
Nearly a decade after her startlingly good Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan in the 2013 revival of Annie, Lynch now takes on Rosie Brice, the mother of heroine Fanny Brice (Beanie Feldstein), in the first-ever revival of the show that made Barbra Streisand famous. Ironically, whenever Lynch got a big career break, her own mom would leave a message on her answering machine, singing Rosie’s big tune in Funny Girl: “I taught her everything she knows!”
“I’ve seen the movie and know the Broadway soundtrack, probably the first piece of music I ever learned,” says Lynch, who saw her first Broadway show as a Cornell MFA student in 1983: Slab Boys, with Sean Penn and pre-fame Val Kilmer and Kevin Bacon. “Boy, they were so good!” Lynch never thought she’d make it to the Great White Way herself — “I certainly didn’t allow myself to have that crazy a fantasy” — but now she’s duplicated their leap from Hollywood to Broadway.
Loving living it up … on less
In Manhattan for Funny Girl, Lynch exults in living out of a suitcase and focusing on the stage. “I love eight shows a week, just devoting your life to that one thing,” she says. “I love hotel living, the spartan nature.” That said, the star confesses she is not a big fan of room service. “I’m still too cheap for that,” she says. “As life has gone on, I want less and less: less objects, less possessions, less people. Nothing makes me happier.”