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©AP / Jane Lynch
© AP / Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch to star on Broadway in 'Annie'
By MARK KENNEDY, AP Drama Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jane Lynch has a reason to be gleeful. She's about to make her Broadway debut.

The "Glee" star said Wednesday that she'll be replacing Tony Award-winning actress Katie Finneran as the evil orphanage matron, Miss Hannigan, in the current revival of "Annie."

"I'm so thrilled I can't see straight," the actress said by phone from her home in Los Angeles. "It's a preposterous fantasy come true."

Lynch, a veteran of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, will play Miss Hannigan for eight weeks, from May 16 through July 14. Finneran will depart to film a new NBC comedy series with Michael J. Fox.

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"It's a real joy for me to step into her shoes, which are large and scare the hell out of me," said Lynch. "But it's good to be scared. It's good to jump off a cliff."

Lynch will star opposite Lilla Crawford in the title role and Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks. The music by Charles Strouse with lyrics by Martin Charnin contains gems like "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," ''Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard-Knock Life."

Lynch has an Emmy and Golden Globe for playing the track-suited, glee club-hating cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on "Glee." Her film credits include "Wreck-It Ralph," ''Three Stooges," ''The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "A Mighty Wind."

She said she knows "every breath of this musical," having grown up listening to the cast album with her mother. She recalls seeing the film in the mid-1980s and adoring Carol Burnett, who played Miss Hannigan.

Lynch finds it funny that she'll go from playing a TV teacher who is fond of random acts of terror to a gin-swilling orphanage head who calls her charges "brats," denies them hot mush and threatens, "Your days are numbered."

"I do a lot of mean people," she said. "I'm the sweetest person you'll ever meet, but I do have a fascination with that kind of cruelty that comes from a very, very soft place."

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