Cheyenne Jackson: Rainbow High

Busy Broadway heartthrob and gay rights activist Cheyenne Jackson chats about his Finian’s Rainbow revival, his politically charged cabaret CD, and laying around in his underpants.

BY Brandon Voss

October 29 2009 12:35 PM ET

Cheyenne Jackson was rocking roller skates and short-shorts in the surprise Broadway hit Xanadu when I interviewed him for The Advocate’s April 2008 cover story. Out magazine named him “Entertainer of the Year” that November, but 2009 has shaped up to be even more successful for the openly gay actor and activist. Jackson currently stars as cocky sharecropper Woody Mahoney in the Broadway revival of the 1947 classic Finian’s Rainbow at the St. James Theatre. The Power of Two, a studio recording of his critically acclaimed Manhattan cabaret show with out Grammy-nominee Michael Feinstein this past summer, is now available. Tight-lipped on his upcoming recurring role on NBC’s 30 Rock, the towering 34-year-old talent does open up to us about his foot fetishist following, his inharmonious Glee experience, and his lost beefcake photo shoot with Bruce Weber.

Advocate.com: What kind of response did you get to your Advocate cover story?
Cheyenne Jackson: It was definitely a biggie and I know it meant a lot to people. I expected it to make a splash, but I didn’t expect it to open up such a great dialogue. I got so much mail and feedback about it, and probably every other day I’ll see a copy at the stage door. I was very happy with how it came out.

One particular part of that interview got a lot of attention on the blogs, didn’t it?
The Popeye story? Yeah, I got a lot of shit about that, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I think my mom would’ve preferred that I left that part out, and a few people were like, “Ew, that’s T.M.I.” But you know what? That’s how I roll. It made me very popular in the foot fetish world, which I didn’t even really know was a thing.

Your publicists at the time tried to steer me away from focusing too much on your sexuality, so they obviously had some issues with the article. Are you still with the same representation?
No, I’m actually not.

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