The public feud between five-time Grammy-nominated crooner Michael Feinstein and Tony-winning entertainer Dame Edna Everage (a.k.a. Australian comedian Barry Humphries) may just be a publicity stunt to promote their new show, but Feinstein’s longtime beef with The Advocate is anything but bogus. All About Me, which opens March 18 at Henry Miller’s Theatre, marks the first time the 53-year-old former Ira Gershwin protégé has held court on Broadway since 1990. This interview marks the first time he’s agreed to speak to The Advocate since his 1994 cover story, which — spoiler alert! — he hated. Calling a truce on the silent treatment, Feinstein speaks candidly about the perks of being cordial to White House conservatives and kissing in the shadows with Cheyenne Jackson.
Advocate.com: I understand you haven’t spoken to The Advocate since your 1994 cover story.
Michael Feinstein: Oh, I was so angry about that, so I said I would never speak to The Advocate again.
Why were you angry?
They made it into a big “coming out” thing.
But didn’t you say in the interview that it was the first time you’d spoken to a magazine about your sexuality?
Yes, but they turned it into something it wasn’t. When they first approached me, I said, “I’m not in the closet, so I can’t come out. I’m happy to do an interview, but I’m not coming out from anything.” They said, “We understand.” And then they put “The Piano Man Comes Out” on the cover, which was not only dishonest but clearly just for publicity and to sell magazines. I was so offended by that.
Are you still upset?
Well, I haven’t read The Advocate since. But that was a long time ago.
I assure you that there’s a totally different editorial staff now. And if it makes you feel any better, I was still in high school in 1994.
[Laughs] Yeah, I know.
Just to illustrate how much people can change over time, in 1994 you were single and said you never wanted a wedding because you disliked marriage ceremonies. Cut to 2008, when you married Terrence Flannery, your partner of 11 years, in a star-studded ceremony officiated by Judge Judy Sheindlin.
Well, you try to say no to Judge Judy.