Cheyenne Jackson is just too much of everything. Is it possible for a man to be so good looking, talented, principled, well liked in the industry & be so easy going about being out & proud? Have you heard his fabulous 2008 album with Michael Feinstien – The Power of 2, or caught his hilarious turn on 30 Rock as Danny, the irony free Canadian brought on to The Girly Show (the show within a show) to attract Middle-American viewers, or his leading man roles in Broadway runs of Xanadu , Finian’s Rainbow or Damn Yankees on Broadway?
I saw him on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen & I was disarmed by his natural charm & charisma. How funny was it that he came clean as a Bravo watcher & that he was fan of all The Real Housewives Shows?
Jackson had been dating physicist Monte Lapka for 10+ years when the couple exchanged vows in the Hamptons in September 2011, just weeks after same-sex marriage came into force in the state.
Cheyenne Jackson & I might be fated to meet, as it seems that he has been chasing me across the cosmos.
He grew up in a Christian Conservative family, in a small town just outside of my hometown of Spokane, & later moved to that city when he graduated high school. Jackson: “Growing up gay in that town was very hard, but my parents were awesome."
My first professional job, at 17 years old, was doing summer stock in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. I was thrilled with this job. I was making $125 a week, plus room & board. I thought I was rich! I was making a living as an actor! Decades later, Jackson’s first professional show, at age 18, was doing summer theater in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where he was making $280 a week. Jackson: “I thought I was so rich!"
In the1980s & 1990s, I worked steadily as an actor in Seattle including featured roles at Seattle Civic Light Opera (Horace Vandergelder in Hello Dolly! & Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum) & at The Village Theatre. Jackson worked from the late 1990s on, in musicals & revues at Seattle Civic Light Opera, & at Village Theatre, playing leads in Grease, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, & West Side Story in 2000 & 2001… just as I was leaving Seattle to move to Portland. Late that year, he was in the ensemble of The Prince & the Pauper at the Fifth Avenue Theatre. In the spring of 2002, he starred in the Fifth Avenue’s production of The Most Happy Fella & the revival of Hair, just as I was starting over in my new city. I can only rest assured that we were NEVER up for the same role.
Jackson had one contact when he moved to NYC- actor Marc Kudisch, for whom he was once an understudy in Seattle. Kudisch set Jackson up with an agent, who signed him on the spot. Within a few weeks, Jackson was cast in his first Broadway show after going to only a single audition. He was just shy of his 27th birthday.
In more crazy parallels in our lives, I moved to NYC with only a single contact, I had one audition for a Broadway show, I once had a 27th birthday, I once had an agent & well… I have seen Broadways shows! I feel with so much in common, we must be fated to meet.
Jackson on being openly gay in Hollywood: “The more it happens, the easier it is for others, although I do understand why some actors choose not to come out. I have several famous friends who are still in the closet.”
On working with Alec Baldwin: “I’ve learned to be totally comfortable around Alec Baldwin, but he used to scare the crap out of me. He’s so alpha male. He’ll move you out of the way if you’re in his light, and one time I thought he was done talking & I started to say something & he put his big beefy hand on my arm to silence me.”
He has an album of self-penned tunes- Drive, to be released in August. Cheyenne Jackson turns 37 years old today. I was once 37 years old, although I don’t remember anything from that year.