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 REFRESH MAGAZINE IMAGES X560 | ADVCOCATE.COM

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.

You were also 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.

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.

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