Best Bets • 06.10.13

Saturday 06.11


Jane Lynch performs a gleeful concert at HOB

As hard-edged coach Sue Sylvester on Glee, Jane Lynch disparaged those who chose musical theater over sports. But as a real-life singer, Lynch loves to hum a tune or two, which she does at See Jane Sing, her concert tour that arrives this weekend at the House of Blues.

House of Blues
2200 N. Lamar St.
7 p.m.

Tuesday 06.14 — Sunday 06.26


Hits of both kinds in the gangster musical ‘Bullets Over Broadway’

Woody Allen’s 1994 film Bullets Over Broadway is a quintessential backstage comedy — a smartypants playwright who gets involved with a high-maintenance star and a theater-obsessed mobster in the 1930s. Two decades later, Allen turned it into a jukebox musical, featuring classic songs from the era. It arrives this week at Fair Park Music Hall for a two-week run, courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals.

Music Hall at Fair Park
901 First Ave.

Friday 06.17 — Saturday 06.18


Bruce Wood Dance returns with Six

It’s difficult to believe that choreographer Bruce Wood died two years ago… and equally amazing that his company, Bruce Wood Dance Project, has not just survived but flourished in that time. More evidence of its abiding success is Six, the company’s sixth season opener, which returns for two performances only. It features a Dallas premiere of one of Wood’s own masterworks, two other pieces also make their world premieres. Don’t miss it.

City Performance Hall
2520 Flora St.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fond of Jane

Emmy Award-winning ‘Glee’ star Jane Lynch shows off her own vocal chops at Dallas’ House of Blues with her concert See Jane Sing

You better believe Jane Lynch can sing, and even if you don’t, “I think by the time you buy the ticket and come to the show, you hope I can sing! You’ve got your fingers crossed!” the Glee alum — cracking her signature booming laugh — says of her touring act See Jane Sing, which arrives in Dallas at the House of Blues on June 11.

Lynch is best known as iconic cheer coach Sue Sylvester, who tormented McKinley High for six seasons of Fox’s musical-dramedy behemoth Glee, which brimmed with all sorts of songs — just not many sung by Lynch herself. There was, of course, the playful homage to Madonna, when Lynch donned black lace for a frame-by-frame remake of the Queen’s video “Vogue.” But on Glee, the 55-year-old Emmy winner was better known for her tyrannical outbursts and hair taunts (poor Mr. Schuester) than she was for breaking into song.

Now, Lynch is making up for lost time as she headlines See Jane Sing, the entertainer’s touring cabaret that merges comedy with music and also features Kate Flannery of The Office and Tim Davis, the music director of Glee. After resolving a shoddy phone connection (“Where are you? Iraq covering the war?”), Lynch spoke at length about how her cabaret is not a “live sex show” like Liza’s, the one man she’d go straight for (and the one woman she’d stay gay for), and what’s so funny about three white people performing Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.”

— Chris Azzopardi


Dallas Voice: Do you read reviews?  Jane Lynch: Ummm, good question! I have for this show, yes. The reason being is because I’m confident [laughs]. I don’t think anybody could say anything about it, me or anybody in it that would actually stick. I don’t think they could say anything bad because I’m very confident in it; it’s such a blast that it stands alone as an experience for me without having anybody telling me it’s good or bad.

The reason I ask is because I read a New York Times review from 2014.  It was awesome, wasn’t it?

It was! They noted the show’s “sexual subtext.” I haven’t seen the show yet, but I’m curious about this “sexual subtext.”  Yeah, I am too! I’m curious about it, too! I think what they might have been talking about is: Cheyenne Jackson, a wonderfully talented man who also happens to be gay, did “Something Stupid” that night with me. It was a special thing and he came up and we sang the song “Something Stupid,” and he talked about this weird kind of sexual tension between the two of us, because I think he’s so attractive and so handsome and I get very confused about my sexuality when I’m in the presence of Cheyenne Jackson.

When I’m watching Cheyenne Jackson I know that I am 100 percent homosexual, no question about it.  Isn’t that wonderful? I feel that way about Susan Sarandon, though she probably wouldn’t, you know, receive my affection… well, she’d receive it, but she might not return it.

What was your introduction to cabaret?  Well, let’s see, I’ve been in theater for a long time. I go see people perform, whether it’s at a hole in the wall or it’s a chick with a guitar. I usually don’t like big rock concerts — I don’t seek those out — so the combination of doing a comedy show with music has always been something I loved. I used to do sketch comedy a lot before I started doing television and film, and we always found a way to put a song in there. I did a “one person” show and I put the quotes there because there were three other people in there; it was all my material, but I had other people in it and we had six or seven songs in it and I love that. I don’t play a character so much, but Kate is my inappropriate drunken sidekick and we have a particular thing that I think is very entertaining and a lot of fun. She’s the glue of the evening for me and I’m so lucky to have her.

So your introduction to cabaret was not Liza’s Cabaret?  Oh, that — well, that’s a whole different thing. That was almost like a live sex show in Nazi Germany! It’s funny, I think we call [this show] a cabaret and it’s kind of stuck with the show because we did it at 54 Below [in New York]. It’s where one person stands there with their band and people come to eat and listen, so when I say cabaret, it’s a live performance comedy concert.

Were you a funny kid?  Yeah, I was a funny kid and that was one thing I always knew I had. You know how you’re insecure as a kid? I was like, “Well, I know I’m funny.”

So you used that to your advantage?  Yeah, I guess so. You know, sometimes I felt like I was just trying to survive, as I think a lot of kids feel, having the big gay secret and all that stuff. I feel like when you’re a kid — for a lot of kids anyway — it’s about trying to survive and stay under the radar of humiliation so people don’t sniff you out.

Did humor help you survive, then, as a kid?  Oh yeah, absolutely.

JaneLynch1How did you know you were funny and when did you realize you could make a living being funny?  I never set out to do that. I love mining things for the comedy and, of course, that attracts people who love doing that as well. I had this one hilarious friend in high school, Christopher, who’s still a friend, and we did nothing but laugh together. The silliness of the social hierarchies — we would watch those and we laughed about those. We laughed about everything; nothing was too sacred. And we were Catholic kids, too! We laughed about the priests and the congregation. So, if you’re allowing your passion to lead you, you end up making money at it, which is a great thing! But I didn’t set out to do it. I really just set out to laugh.

For a while there, you were performing in church basements.  Yeah — a lot of them! The churches would rent out their basement just to make some money and they didn’t care what kind of show you were doing. They didn’t show up; you just paid the 50 bucks and you set up the lights and that’s what ya did.

Is it true that, when you ended up at Second City, you were one of only two women picked to join the troupe?  Well, that wasn’t unique. There were only two women in every company. Now, it’s three. So it wasn’t a unique thing. Every company had two women and four guys and now it’s three and three. It wasn’t like I was only one of two women in the entire history of Second City. I know in some press release it says that, or something online says “she was chosen,” but no, it’s not a big deal. All the girls were one of two women. Now they’re one of three women.

Did it feel unfair to you that the men and women weren’t equal in number?  Nah, I didn’t have eyes for that stuff. I really didn’t. I didn’t see that stuff. I wasn’t available to feeling less than in that way. It just didn’t happen for me.

Assuming you’re taking a bus on tour, what kind of music do you listen to on the road?  Oh no, we’re not on a bus, man. Dude, we are flying. We do this first class — that’s why I’m not making any money on this tour! We fly. I said, “I’m not gonna do it if I have to sit in a bus,” so we fly and we all fly together, although Kate and I do fly first class and I make a joke about it in the show — another reason why I’m not making any money on this tour. But we all fly together and we hang out. We all eat together, laugh together, so I’m not listening to music or anything. I’m not a listener to music — I don’t listen to it very much. But Kate does, and Kate and I have very much the same taste. So, when we’re getting ready — we have a dressing room together — she plays Burt Bacharach songs. She has a terrific library of Burt Bacharach songs, not just by Burt Bacharach, but by all sorts of groups like The Carpenters and we sing at the top of our lungs and that’s our little pre-show warmup.

Screen shot 2016-06-02 at 9.46.12 AMHow did Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” end up on the setlist?  I had a burst of inspiration! I thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we did this?” First of all, I think it’s one of the most amazing, hilarious and artful videos I have ever seen. It is so funny. She is sooo self-deprecating, and she’s so kind of pinned this character — this rich girl who’s from the hood who has no class who all of a sudden is hanging out with drug dealers and having access to Balmain and nice clothes and a nice car. She just nails it. So, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fucking hilarious if me, Kate and Tim” — I mean we look like the Heritage Singers out there! We’re so white, so immaculately white, and all three of us cannot dance at all but have all the confidence in the world in our moves.

Looking back on Glee: The show changed a lot of queer kids’ lives, and if I had been younger, it really would’ve influenced me in a major way.   Right; me, too!

If a show like Glee had been on when you were a young gay person, how might your life have been different?  Ahh, it would’ve showed me that I wasn’t alone, and oh, just to know that you’re not alone. I really thought I had a mental disease that I was never gonna be able to get over, that I was cursed with it, that it was my fault.

Catholic guilt?  Yes, yeah! And I don’t know where I got this, because my parents weren’t Catholic in that way. We went to church but they weren’t like, “This is bad; this is good.” They just weren’t that way. They were very relaxed, not very good Catholics except that they went to church every Sunday. In saying that they weren’t very good Catholics — they were really good people! [Laughs]

I get it. They weren’t devout.  Exactly. So, I don’t know where I got that it was so horrible, maybe just by the fact that it was whispered about, if it was spoken about at all. And I didn’t see one person in my trajectory of life that had it! I was completely alone in it, so for me to have a Glee, and I’m sure I speak perhaps for you and a lot of other gay people growing up in the ’70s and the ’80s, a Glee would’ve been so wonderful — oh, how great that would’ve been.

Did you feel that, when Glee ended in 2015, it was time?  Yeah, sure. Absolutely. You know, these things can’t go on forever. We have this thing in American television that you have to be on for 10 years or something, and I think the British have it right. The British do 13 episodes and then take a holiday.

Does the cast keep in touch? Are you and Matthew Morrison still close?  I do talk to Matthew, yeah. And my niece was assistant to one of our executive producers and she’s friends with all those folks, so I see them and they come over to my house and we make dinner and sit out on the porch.

I was gonna say, “What’s a post-Glee party at Jane’s house like?”  [Laughs] Well, they don’t talk about Glee, that’s for sure! They’ve all kind of moved on, but they’re very good friends. It was a bonding experience for them — for all of them.

You have Mascots coming up for Netflix, and it’s directed by Christopher Guest, who also did Best in Show with you. What was it like teaming with Jennifer Coolidge again after playing her butch lesbian personal dog handler in Best in Show?  Well, I didn’t work with her; I haven’t even seen her. I worked with Ed Begley Jr., Mike Hitchcock and Parker Posey, so I didn’t even get to see her. I can’t wait to see her at the premiere.

What do you remember from working with Jennifer on Best in Show?  It was a first-time experience for both of us, and we were both very nervous. We were shooting it in Vancouver and we got very close. The days we weren’t working we would take walks through Stanley Park, and she is one of those people who can make me laugh so hard that I can’t catch my breath. She renders my mind inert. I can’t do anything but hold whatever spot I’m at and just double over and try to catch my breath.

Has there ever been a role you regretted not taking?  I can’t think of one. I’m so in the moment, man. I don’t think about that stuff. I can’t even remember turning something down and I can’t even remember — I don’t remember most things.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 3, 2016.


—  Dallasvoice

Royale (with cheese)

Latrice-by-Erika-Wagner‘Drag Race’ fan favorite Latrice Royale joins her fellow queens for Divas of Drag, a nationwide tour that proves drag is bigger than Latrice herself

As anyone who has ever seen her perform could tell you, Latrice Royale is larger than life — in a multitude of ways.

Although she began performing drag in the ’90s, it wasn’t until 2012 when she chose, on a whim, to audition for Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race that she became a star. Her deep baritone, huge frame and saucy attitude kept her in contention through the Top 4, alongside Phi Phi O’Hara, eventual winner Sharon Needles and Chad Michaels, who himself went on the win the first-ever All Star edition. When Royale was cut from the competition, Entertainment Weekly called the elimination “shocking.” (Royale was later voted Miss Congeniality by the show’s fans.)

Fans also know that life hasn’t always been easy for Royale, who spent time in prison for possession of marijuana and prescription painkillers. But she managed to survive the experience. “My size helped. The other prisoners didn’t mess with me. They knew who I was on the outside and gagged at my splits. The worst part of prison life was losing my mother,” she says. “It was the most alone I ever felt.”

She sings about the tragic loss in “I Need You Now,” a gospel song by Smokie Norful, on her new full-length album Here’s to Life. “It was the hardest song to record. It really speaks to how alone I felt at that moment, grieving in isolation,” she says.

The album reveals another surprising fact of Royale: She can sing, not just lip-synch. Unfortunately, unless you buy her album you’ll just have to take her word for it when she’s in Dallas Thursday at the House of Blues as part of Live Nation’s Divas of Drag Tour, which reunites her with fellow Racers including Alyssa Edwards, Kennedy Davenport and more.

“Because we all travel so much, we are bound to bump into each other, so I’ve grown to love a lot of these women,” she says. “As we were putting this together with Mimi, we were brainstorming on who we wanted to work with. It’s been amazingly fun, and a learning process — I’ve never done anything like this before.”

The resulting show is “a mixure of duets, groups live singing and powerhouse drag numbers with a lot of eclecticism,” Royale says. “You have Milk, who is very avant garde, and then you have the likes of Yara Sofia who dances, and Jujubee who is beautiful and gives you goddess — everybody gets something out of this show.”

And there’s what Latrice herself has to offer: A towering disco ball of sassy femininity with a basso-profundo voice. She often jokes how her deep baritone voice sounds like Barry White in drag, which she embraces on her album. “I’m not trying to sing like a woman,” she says. “My goal is to be authentic to myself, my voice and my experience.”

Screen shot 2016-04-07 at 11.37.46 AMHer style is so distinctive among the cast, it’s something she almost can’t get away from. While some queens can go incognito by dressing in boy-drag, Latrice admits, “I can’t hide this no matter what!” She loves the chance to interact with her fans, though.

“When you’re trying to eat [at a restaurant], it’s a little awkward sometimes, but still I’m gracious because you don’t know what kind of day that person has had — so why not? We’re all going to have bad days, but a rule for me is to always be gracious when they recognize you … cuz if they don’t recognize then you’re not doing something right!”

Latrice concedes that the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race has created some tension in the drag community between pageant queens, club queens and those in the middle who simply want to be on the show, but in general, the impact has been incredibly positive — not just for Royale, but for the culture at large.

“It has really elevated the art as a whole and put us in a place where we are exposed to the world,” she says. “Before, it wasn’t so easy. The show has afforded us the opportunity to travel the world  — it’s what you do with that opportunity that matters. But now people have something to aspire to that is greater than what we’ve had before.”

Arnold Wayne Jones
with additional reporting from Shane Gallagher

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Sam Smith performs at House of Blues (Get ready for Erasure)


Openly gay performer Sam Smith packed the house at House of Blues in Dallas on Thursday night, and Dallas Voice ad rep/photographer to the stars Chad Mantooth was on hand to get these fabulous shots.

Erasure brings their Violet Flame Tour to House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., in Dallas next Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 14-15. Tickets range from $39.50-$85.



—  Tammye Nash

Cyndi Lauper, who’ll be at HOB on Wed., talks ‘Kinky Boots,’ gay rights

Cyndi2Even before this year’s Tonys, the legendary Cyndi Lauper was already considered a champion: A champion of the Grammys. A champion of the pop charts. A champion of gay rights.

But as a teary-eyed Lauper accepted her Tony statuette for composing the music for the smash Kinky Boots (it also was named best musical of the year, and four other Tonys), the coming-of-age sensation about a drag queen and a shoemaker as unlikely business partners, she was recognized for something she had never been before: The girl who just wanted to have fun, with her apple-red hair and heavy Queens accent, is now a champion of Broadway.

Between gigs on her She’s So Unusual Tour, which opens at the House of Blues in Dallas on Wednesday, Lauper gave our Chris Azzopardi a ring recently to chat about her emotional night at the awards ceremony, freaking out rock stars with her “wildly nutty” persona and the reason she’s always stood up for her gay fans. Read the full interview below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

AIDS Walk South Dallas plans kickoff party

2012 South Dallas AIDS Walk

AIDS Walk South Dallas holds its kickoff party on Friday, Oct. 12, in the Foundation Room at House of Blues, Community Unity Respect Education, Inc. co-founder Roseann Rosetti said.

This will be the first opportunity for walkers to register. Sponsors and vendors may also sign up, and the group is looking for volunteers.

The walk has been reorganized with C.U.R.E., a Plano-based AIDS organization, as the event organizer. Auntjuan Wiley continues as the event coordinator.

AIDS Walk South Dallas is trying to bounce back from a scandal that tarnished the event last year. The Anthony Chisom Foundation, which organized the 2012 walk, had its nonprofit status revoked and failed to release an accounting from the event or provide funds to beneficiaries.

This year, C.U.R.E. will not benefit from money collected but will grant money to AIDS organizations working in South Dallas after the walk.

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available at the House of Blues kickoff party. A $20 donation automatically enters participants into a drawing for three hours of general housecleaning courtesy of Quantas Commercial Services.

AIDS Walk South Dallas takes place March 16 from St. Philip’s School and Community Center, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in South Dallas near Fair Park.

Kick off Party: House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., Oct. 12. 5-8 p.m.

UPDATE: Wiley sent the following message on Oct. 19:

Due to the overwhelming response, capacity and Texas/OU Weekend, the House of Blues has requested that we reschedule the AIDS Walk South Dallas launch party. The rescheduled date will be confirmed today but it looks like it will be next Friday, Oct. 19. They are also requesting that we come up with a RSVP process to guarantee adequate space. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

— David Taffet

—  David Taffet

Trans singer Laura Jane Grace will front Against Me! Wednesday night at HOB

Last month, Rolling Stone Magazine broke the news of Against Me!’s lead singer Tom “Tommy” Gabel as beginning his transition from male to female. As described in the article, the punk rock singer had been privately dealing with gender dysphoria since childhood. Eventually becoming Laura Jane Grace, pictured, she describes her decision as necessary and a relief to the unhappiness she has felt for a long time.

The news was a bit of a shock coming from a rough and tumble punk rock world where aggressive banter and overbearing masculinity is celebrated. However, there have been many subtle, and some obvious, hints throughout Against Me!’s music. In the band’s 2007 album New Wave, the track “The Ocean” reads: If I could have chosen I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura / I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her / One day I’d find an honest man to make my husband.

—  admin

Human Rights Campaign teams with the band fun. at tonight’s House of Blues concert

If you already have your ticket to tonight’s fun. concert at House of Blues, then you’re ahead of the game. The Human Rights Campaign has teamed with the band to spread a message of equality. You know, the usual.

Read the post after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Brandi Carlile at House of Blues

Lady unplugged

Brandi Carlile must really love this town and rightfully so. She’s been here consistently the last two years and sold out the Granada Theater in 2011. She scales back a bit this time performing with an acoustic trio and likely her signature acapella tune. She’s one of the few who can pull that gimmick off with so much magic.

DEETS: With Lucy Wainwright Roche. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. 8 p.m. $27.50–$39.50.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 02.03.12

AmmunitionFriday 02.03

Fill up on eye candy
Viva Dallas Burlesque delves into the absurd with Gadgets and Gobstoppers: The Twisted World of Wonka. Burlesque beauties go from steamy to steampunk teaming up with local band Marquis of Vaudeville. Expect a cavity as they transform the theater into a candy confection of dance and music and a whole lotta sexy.

Lakewood Theater
1825 Abrams Road.
8 p.m. $20.


Tuesday 02.07

Lady unplugged
Brandi Carlile must really love this town and rightfully so. She’s been here consistently the last two years and sold out the Granada Theater in 2011. She scales back a bit this time performing with an acoustic trio and likely her signature acapella tune. She’s one of the few who can pull that gimmick off with so much magic.

With Lucy Wainwright Roche
House of Blues
2200 N. Lamar St.
8 p.m. $27.50–$39.50.


Tuesday 02.07

Sounds like couture
Fashioned Forward is a musical exploration into the designs behind legend Jean Paul Gaultier. Spanning from classical to pop, performers turn fashion into song with works by Gershwin to Madonna using Gaultier as inspiration.

Horchow Auditorium
1717 N. Harwood Road (in the DMA).
7:30 p.m. $37.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas