Entertainment » Celebrities

Cheyenne Jackson — Exactly Where He is Supposed to Be

by Steve Duffy
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Oct 2, 2019
Cheyenne Jackson
Cheyenne Jackson  

For four successive seasons, Cheyenne Jackson was a member of the talented repertory company that Ryan Murphy put together for his anthology series "American Horror Story." Starting with playing Lady Gaga's, bisexual boytoy on "Hotel"; followed by turns on "Roanake," "Cult" and last seasons "Apocalypse" where he played — what else? — a warlock. (It is called "American Horror Story.")

"AHS" wasn't Jackson's only time was part of a television franchise — prior to that he had a recurring role on "30 Rock" and as a vocal coach on "Glee." It was on Broadway, though, where he first made his mark after moving to New York in 2002, first understudying roles in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Aida," before his breakout role in "All Shook Up," where he played an 1950s-styled rebel (and Elvis wanabee) to much acclaim (and a Theatre World Award).

The handsome, 6'2" actor next played the hunky, if dim roller-skating leading man in the 2007 cheeky stage adaptation of "Xanadu," the 1980s camp cult classic, in which he replaced an injured actor at the last minute. Despite being a late-minute addition, Jackson received strong reviews. "Jackson...," wrote Charles Isherwood in reviewing the musical in the New York Times, "plays him beautifully as a big slab of prime beefcake in tube socks and denim cutoffs. Sonny's twinkling blue eyes have all the depth of a kiddie pool, his earnest effusions the hilarious aridity of soap-opera acting."


And Matthew Murray, writing for TalkinBroadway.com, put it this way: "Jackson, who replaced the injured James Carpinello in previews, is right at home in his dumb-beefcake role but offers noticeably less spice than his castmates; his general state is one of wide-eyed bemusement, as if neither character nor actor can fully absorb the wonder of it all."

Jackson has long been out professionally, having come out at 19. ("Oh, well, I've never been the gay actor on set — maybe I'm the only openly gay actor," he told the website PrideSource in 2016). He has also been very public about his battles with addiction. "My biggest thing was booze, but I definitely liked cocaine and [other] party drugs [such as] ecstasy. I was in that world and it was what you did", he told Attitude last year. He has been sober for six years. During that time, he married actor Jason Landau in 2014. The couple welcomed twins, a boy and a girl, in 2016.

In the past decade, Jackson has divided his time between theaters, concerts, television and films. Amongst his recent film credits include Ira Sachs' "Love is Strange" and the underrated film adaptation of Michael LaChuisa's musical "Hello, Again." He has sold out Carnegie Hall twice, recorded three albums and, appears in cabarets throughout the country. This makes him a natural to appear with Seth Rudetsky as part of his "Seth Rudetsky Series Starring..." on Friday, October 4 at Boston's Emerson-Colonial Theatre. As in the past, expect Rudetsky to prod Mr. Jackson about his career and his life while accompanying him on a musical journey of his career.

For more information about Mr. Jackson's appearance with Seth Rudetsky, follow this link.

EDGE spoke to Jackson recently about the show and his career.


Cheyenne Jackson and Jason Landau with their newborn twins  

EDGE: What are you most excited to share in this show with Seth Rudetsky?

Cheyenne Jackson: I love Seth and it's always so fun to just chat and sing and tell stories and be loose and real. So many times, shows are buttoned up and so scripted so this is a way to feel very easy breezy and relaxed and it always makes a more personal experience.

EDGE: What are you most excited about for audiences to take away from this show?

Cheyenne Jackson: Just to see where I am now and what's going in my life as a new dad and as an artist. Seth and I have known each other for a long time.

EDGE: When did you first realize that you had some musical talents?

Cheyenne Jackson: Probably at the age of four. My mom taught me to sing harmony and I realized people really responded when I would sing at church.

EDGE: Clearly, you can sing a wide range of music genres — what do you look for in the songs you choose?

Cheyenne Jackson: Personal connection; melody and vibe — does it feel like a good fit?

EDGE: What is it like switching from stage to tv/film?

Cheyenne Jackson: I'm so used to it at this point I don't think about it.


Tyler Blackburn and Cheyenne Jackson in a still from the film "Hello, Again"  

EDGE: As an out gay actor, what kind of effect has this had on your career?

Cheyenne Jackson: Who knows? And no offense, but who cares? I've been a busy working actor for the last 20 years. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

EDGE: What is it like being part of the "American Horror Story" franchise and working with Ryan Murphy?

Cheyenne Jackson: It's an experience unlike any other.

EDGE: Why are you not returning for the ninth season?

Cheyenne Jackson: I had a couple other things I wanted to explore, and I asked him and he was gracious and supportive. I'm sure I'll come play again. I love my "AHS" family. It's one of a kind and crazy creative.

EDGE: Is there anything that would surprise us about you?

Cheyenne Jackson: I am a homebody that if I had my way I would never leave.

EDGE: Will we being seeing you back on Broadway anytime soon?

Cheyenne Jackson: Hope so.

Cheyenne Jackson appears with Seth Rudetsky on Friday, October 4, 8pm at the Emerson-Colonial Theatre, 106 Bolyston Street, Boston, MA. Friday, October 4. For more information about this concert and upcoming concerts as part of the Seth Rudetsky's series, follow this link.

For more information on Cheyenne Jackson, visit his website.


Watch this video of Seth Rudetsky rehearsing with Cheyenne Jackson:


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