The Advocate catches up w/Cheyenne Jackson
Out Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson is a busy man these days with a new album of duets and solos with Michael Feinstein coming out Nov. 3. It’s called The Power of Two, the same title as their engagement earlier this year in Feinstein’s NYC cabaret club.
He stars in the upcoming Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow and also has a recurring role on NBC’s 30 Rock. But he still managed to find the time to chat with Brandon Voss of The Advocate. Here is some of their interview:
More high-profile Broadway stars like Gavin Creel and Jonathan Groff have officially come out in recent months. Creel told Advocate.com that he’d been inspired by you. Are you aware that you’ve become a role model for young gays on Broadway?
I definitely feel that when I see everybody at events and stuff. Gavin in particular has been a friend for a long time — my first show after I moved to New York was with him — so I was very proud of him. It was a big step and I’m happy that he credits me as an inspiration, but the challenge I gave to him was, “OK, you’ve come out, but now you have to do something about it.” And he is. He’s working hard, giving back, and setting an example for the other young people coming up, which is the best thing you can do. But I still feel like everybody has their own journey and path. Yes, it’s great when a David Hyde Pierce or a Cynthia Nixon publicly comes out and puts a face to the cause, but no one should be forced to come out for the sake of politics and moving forward.
You were scheduled to appear on an episode of Glee in September. What happened?
Ryan Murphy wrote the part of the choreographer the glee club hires with me in mind. When I got off the plane, they took me right to the set for some costume fittings, but I felt totally miserable. They took me back to the hotel and the doctor came and said I had a fever of 103. I’m kind of a tank and I don’t normally get sick, but it turns out I had the flu, so I stayed in California for two days watching $14 movies in my hotel room. I didn’t even see that episode because it was too painful for me, but they went a totally different way and hired a funny character-looking guy for the part. It was pretty heartbreaking because I love the show, but hopefully I’ll be on it at some point in a different part.
30 Rock writer and executive producer Robert Carlock has confirmed that you’ll appear on the series this season as the guy Liz Lemon hires as a new TGS cast member to appeal to a more mainstream audience. What else can you tell me about the role? Is he a love interest for Jenna? Does he turn out to be gay? Will you sing? How many episodes have you shot so far?
You know I would tell you everything and shout it from the rooftops if I could, but I can’t divulge too much. They really thrive on the element of surprise over there. I can tell you that I’ve already been filming and the part will pop up throughout the year. 30 Rock is really like the holy grail of comedy — the subversive, urbane humor that I respond to. That’s why I was so excited when I got a call that Tina Fey and Robert wanted to talk to me about a part on the show. I feel like I’m at the cool kids table.
None of your photo shoots in recent years have quite compared to the revealing pictures from your 2007 reFRESH magazine spread. When are you going to treat fans to more beefcake pics? You’re not going to have that body forever, you know.
That’s true. I actually did a shoot less than a year ago for Vanity Fair with Bruce Weber, and you know his stuff is always sexy and shows some skin. They had shot a bunch of theater people like Liev Schreiber and Stockard Channing, but my section was cut. Then they were going to run them in German Vanity Fair, but that went out of business. So I never even got to see those photos. They’re still floating around somewhere. I’d do another beefcake shoot, but I’m 34, so at this point there’d have to be a really good reason for me to just lie around on a bed in my underpants.