Cheyenne Jackson Talks Disney Hall Performance; Staying Sober
It was a time of jetsetters, rising hemlines, cigarette smoke and copious cocktails when songs by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett made up the soundtrack of your life. And now, for one night only Cheyenne Jackson and friends will take you back on Saturday at the Disney Concert Hall, with Music of the Mad Men Era, a selection of songs inspired by those heady days before anyone had ever heard of Vietnam and JFK still presided over Camelot.
Joining Jackson in the production, a revival of his 2011 one-man show, will be Glee costar Jane Lynch and Rebecca Romijn with a set list that includes songs off his recent album, I’m Blue, Skies, as well as standards like "Besame Mucho," and an homage to Martin. So same show, only different. How could it not be after what Jackson’s been through in the past three years? Following a tabloid divorce and recent sobriety, he’s a new man with a different story to tell.
“I feel like if something major happens in somebody’s life and they’re sitting on a one-man show and they don’t discuss it, I’m not really interested in that,” Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter about the concert, which will include anecdotes about his recent recovery. “It’s kind of public therapy. I just try to open my heart but I’m not going to get too graphic.”
A TV and stage star, Jackson is best known for playing vocal coach Dustin Goolsby on Glee, and had a recurring role on 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s one-time fling, Danny Baker. His stage credits are plenty, like his 2005 one-man Elvis jukebox show All Shook Up, for which he won a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut. After a highly public divorce last year, Jackson told fans on Instagram that he was dating Slant Promotions owner Jason Landau and in February, the couple announced they are engaged.
“I knew that I couldn’t go any further unless I stopped,” Jackson recalls about his drinking. “I was wasting five hours a day in bed after weekends recovering, with my foot on the floor with the spins. I figured, you know what? Not cute anymore. So I reexamined my friendships and my relationships and really just wanted to finally start taking care of myself and that’s what happened.”
Clean and sober and newly relocated to Los Angeles, he is eager to get on with his life. He recently completed a short stint in a revival of The Most Happy Fella at New York’s City Center and as of late, rehearsing with Lynch and Romijn.
“It is a new thing for me,” said freshman singer Lynch, who just came off excellent reviews for her work in the Broadway revival of Annie last summer, and has an upcoming show at New York’s 54 Below in June. “Cheyenne asked me to sing with him at Disney Hall and it’s just right up my alley of what I want to do these days.” The pair will be performing a Sinatra-Sammy Davis, Jr. arrangement of "Me and My Shadow".
“On Glee, I just f--king fell in love with Jane Lynch,” laughs Jackson about the newly added number. “Suffice to say she’s taller than me, and we’re both going to be wearing the same thing and it’s going to be fabulous.”
For his song with Romijn, the pair will take on the Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet, "Something Stupid". “I wanted some glam,” Jackson said about his other song partner. "She sent me a text saying 'do you want cocktail or do you want diva?' I said, 'Diva!' " Not surprising considering he names Cher, Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand among his main inspirations. It’s no coincidence each are multi-discipline artists.
“About four or five years ago I decided to make a concerted effort to not put a box around myself and say I’m just a Broadway guy, or just a singer, just an actor,” he reflected on his career. “I want my personal experience, hard things I’ve been through, to touch the audience. The only way to do that is to open my heart and to be vulnerable. And if that means talking about getting sober in the last couple of years, then that’s going to be something I’ll do, although my mom and my agents are probably wishing I didn’t. That’s part of who I am and part of what makes me me.”
Correction: This article incorrectly stated the name of Rebecca Romijn.