Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 Interview with Cheyenne Jackson

Actor/singer Cheyenne Jackson first appeared on Broadway with Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Needless to say, he caused a sensation and has since made the TV screen sizzle with his appearances in Glee and American Horror Story. He will be making a concert appearance on December 15 and 17/18 in four Holiday shows with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. (GMCLA) Jackson spoke briefly with me about this concert and comments on various points of his illustrious career thus far. As far as his personal life goes, Jackson is openly gay, married to Jason Landau, and they just became the parents of two children.

What was it like being an understudy in Thoroughly Modern Millie?
Did you go on and work with Sutton Foster? Describe that experience.

It was life changing, bouncing off the walls excitement.  Yes, I went on with Sutton many times.  She was nurturing, hilarious, and professional.  I learned much from watching how she handled herself.

How did Altar Boyz and All Shook Up change your New York career?

Both shows gave me an opportunity to originate roles for the first time, which is where you can really find and express your voice.

Xanadu followed. Were you happy with that show? Or did you long for something else?

Are you nuts?  Of course I was happy!  Xanadu was magic in every way.  I adored that cast and that character.

Do you prefer the classical Finian's Rainbow to a new show like Xanadu or do you take both in stride?

Both have their merits and appeal to me, but I am definitely looking for something new for my next Broadway outing.

You have also done many plays like Neil LaBute's The Heart of the Matter and The Performers. Was there a favorite?

The Performers will always have a big place in my heart.  I adored that cast and mostly loved being married to Ari of the best comic actresses I've ever worked with.  period.

Which film of those you appeared in did you enjoy the most?

I loved "A Beautiful Now" a film that came out last year with Abigail Spencer  ...  also,  I have a new movie coming out called “Bear With Us."  It's very comically broad, and I'm fully stealing Alec Baldwin's vocal cadences ... cuz,  I'm no dummy. There’s also "Hello Again" a live sung film musical, based on Michael John Lachiusa's piece that comes out next year.  It’s very experimental.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out.  Audra Macdonald and I share quite the love scene.  Look away, mom and dad.!  You've been warned.  

What happened to Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks? You were very good. It seemed to appear and then quickly disappear. It's a great flamboyant role for you.

The best thing to come out of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks was getting to work with Gena Rowlands.

Talk a bit about being the coach in Glee. What was that experience like?

That was a great, snarky part.  I joined that show on season 2 when it was a cultural phenom.  I'll save the juicy bits for my autobiography one day

Recount, if you would, a little about your part in American Horror Story.

I just finished my second season with them.  I love that troupe of actors.  Ryan Murphy consistently pushes the limits, and I've really enjoyed the challenges that the genre brings.

In 2012 you composed and released Drive. Are you still composing? How is it going?

From time to time.  I wrote a bit last month.  Right now I am in full daddy mode and loving every second.

Talk a little about your appearance with Michael Feinstein and the album that you did together.

I really enjoyed making that album with Michael.  He's a consummate pro.

How did you enjoy playing in and then recording West Side Story? Is that your favorite musical of all time?

It was the perfect experience at the perfect time in my life.  I am very proud of the album … and my first Grammy nomination.  It’s definitely one of my top 5 favorite musicals.

Tell me about what you will be singing in December with GMCLA. Just a tease for our readers without giving it all away.

I’ll be singing a couple of pieces that I feel will really fit right into the evening.  I' m excited to play with the GMCLA.  They always put on a gay old time, which is obviously the point.

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