Dear Jane Lynch
Nice to see you.
Even better Got to meet you.
You met our niece, she’s eleven.
Wreck It Ralph, she’s in heaven.
‘Old people’ music does not excite her
But her eyes lit up when you sang Cole Porter.
We brought lesbians as well as our niece.
We brought gay men who sat up in the balconies.
We’re so glad you came to Pittsburgh.
I’m unsure what rhymes with Pittsburgh.
Please come back and see us soon.
We’ll take you dancing at The Blue Moon (queer bar)
We’ll eat french fries on our sandwiches.
Trust a sister, it’s delicious.
What a fun night. Thanks to the folks at Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, we had the chance to take several readers (and our 11 year old niece) to see Jane Lynch perform the Great American Songbook with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall. Our niece is an aspiring singer so we hoped she would be intrigued by American musical history.
The Great American Songbook, also known as “American Standards”, is the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century. Although several collections of music have been published under the title, it does not refer to any actual book or specific list of songs, but to a loosely defined set including the most popular and enduring songs from the 1920s to the 1950s that were created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical film. They have been recorded and performed by a large number and wide range of singers, instrumental bands, and jazz musicians.
Jane was all that you would hope – witty, wry and gregarious. She shared lots of anecdotes, engaged in amusing repartee with Brad the Piano Guy and has some pretty impressive music chops. I was expecting more humorous singing, but she belted out some numbers that were seriously solid. She loosely interpreted the Great American Songbook to include Joni Mitchell, James Brown and others in a manner that I think bridged that era into the modern music scene.
This led to an interesting conversation with my niece who also noticed that she sang really well while remembering the the character Sue Sylvester rarely sang on GLEE. At first, that seems like a missed opportunity. On second glance, it makes a lot of sense because Sue was the foil for GLEE so her singing had to be tied to that characterization. It would make zero sense for her to be a character who always sang, but disliked glee club. 11 year olds are pretty darn smart.
One of our readers and guests, Sarah, came to see the orchestra. She commented several times about their flexibility and skillful renditions of arrangements they had just received. Another reader/guest, Megan, had interned with the PSO years ago and talked at length about their professionalism. We all agreed that the PSO is a significant asset for Pittsburgh.
Is Jane coming to your town to perform? Check her website to find out.
The PSO has an amazing schedule with all sorts of guest performers. Check that out here.
I didn’t tell my niece this ahead of time, but we were invited backstage to meet Jane and take a photo with her. We got an autograph and it was a nice moment.
We wrapped up lesbian night on the town by piling five lesbians and one niece into a minivan with an installed car seat for the trip home. We fit because half of us are slim (not my half) and thus, everyone arrived safely home.
I received review tickets from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Opinions, as always, are my own.