Last month, Lane alum Jill Soloway graced the Golden Globe stage to accept the award for Best Comedy TV Show for “Transparent,” which she created, wrote, produced and directed.
“Transparent,” the first Amazon Studios show to win a major award, follows 70-year-old Maura Pfefferman coming out to her three children as a transgender woman, just as Soloway’s father did. The show intertwines family, sexuality, and gender with a comedic sitcom. Jeffrey Tambor won the award for Best Actor in a Comedy TV Series for his role as Maura.
Soloway graduated from Lane in 1983, and she went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study Communication Arts. Her sister, Faith Soloway, is a folk singer and comedic performer based in Boston who graduated from Lane in 1982. Faith is also a writer for “Transparent.”
Soloway’s prolific career has included serving as associate producer on “Hoop Dreams” (1994), co-executive producer for the HBO show “Six Feet Under” from 2001 to 2005, and executive producer for Showtime’s “United States of Tara.” Soloway also wrote and directed the movie “Afternoon Delight” (2013) and wrote a memoir, “Tiny Lady in Shiny Pants: Based on a True Story” (2005).
She dedicated her Golden Globe win to the transgender community, specifically Leelah Alcorn, a trans teenager who committed suicide in December 2014. Soloway also thanked her “moppa” (combination of momma and poppa) for coming out and teaching her how to tell her truth.
“Maybe we’re going to be able to teach the world something about authenticity and truth and love. To love,” Soloway said during her acceptance speech.
We recently reached out to Soloway to ask her about her memories from Lane. Here is an edited version of our email conversation:
What activities were you involved in during high school?
Unofficially: applying lip gloss, writing notes to my friends and passing them in the hallway, rating the grilled cheese sandwiches on their daily melty-ness factor.
Officially: Newspaper and Yearbook.
What were your favorite teachers and or classes from Lane?
I had an English teacher named Tom Rogers who was fabulous. The rest of the teachers are a blur.
In what ways, if any, do you think that your experience affected who you are today?
I loved the diversity of Lane Tech. It was so big, like a small city. The everyday drama, football games, gossiping at McDonald’s, hiding out at Hero’s, the burnouts gathering under the clock tower. I look back and feel like we were very much alive in a real experience of being young. It was pre-internet so we had no phones with us, just little spiral notebooks where we wrote letters to each other and handed them off in the hallway.
When you were in high school, what did you want to be? Did you want to go into the entertainment industry?
I wanted to be a writer, any kind of writer! I don’t think I really understood yet that there were such things as TV writers.
All 10 episodes of “Transparent” are available for streaming on Amazon.com, and are free to watch with Amazon Prime.