Cheyenne Jackson Rocks Disney Concert Hall
At the Theatre with Audrey Linden
Cheyenne Jackson’s “Music of the Mad Men Era” was a dazzling performance evening which rounded out the American Song Book Series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall April 26th. If there is one word for this Broadway actor, singer, songwriter, it is energy. He has such presence and magnetism, it is electrifying. He had sexy moves and dancing feet and the aliveness was contagious. Dressed in a fitted black suit with shiny patent shoes, the singer came on stage to his band of eleven and accompanist, musical director Ben Toth playing “Americano”. ‘”He is in a land where anything can happen”. It was a magical evening.
Jackson was very personable and connected with his audience. He established a heart connection as he told us about himself. He had lived in New York for thirteen years before moving to Los Angeles a month ago. His entire family was in one state for once and he introduced all of them to us. He explained he wanted to open his heart to us and “blanket us with love” as he transitioned into a smooth and smoldering ‘Besame Mucho”. He had my heart with his rich, deep, voice. “Love me forever and make all my dreams come true.” Jeff Parsons and James Campbell joined him in a trio in “Walking My Baby” and “Angel Eyes” reminiscent of the Beach Boys. The three part harmony was deliciously smooth. Ben Toth, his musical director joined the trio with vocals.
The old time standard, “Old Devil Moon” was performed with a sublime reed solo by Daniel Higgins. That gave a nice balance to the slower “Mr. Lonely Boy” with Ben Toth singing backup. Jackson told of his short seven week run on Broadway in “Finian’s Rainbow” and introduced his next performer, a gal he had the pleasure of working with on the television show, “Glee”. Jane Lynch, whom we know as Sue Silvester on "Glee" and from her "Best in Show" film, joined Jackson in a lovely duet of “Me and My Shadow”. The two harmonized beautifully and did a soft shoe together. Lynch had done the role of Ms. Hannigan in “Annie” on Broadway so she is no stranger to song and dance.
The place was rocking with “A Little Less Conversation” again with Ben Toth singing back up. Toth is a very talented composer and musician, who composed the music for the musicals “Sleepless in Seattle” and “As You Like It”. This build up and patter led to “Mad Girl’s Love Song” which combined Ben Toth’s "musicality and poet Sylvia Plath’s words". Jackson sang this song acapella using his high voice, which added a haunting pathos to the words. Next was a Tom Jones’ favorite “I Who Have Nothing”. Cheyenne Jackson went out with a bang on this one. It was a hot number for the talented performer. He explained he was taking a brief intermission while the band did “Shaw Nuff”.
If Jackson was magnetic and filled with energy in the first set, he smoldered in the second. He strolled out sexily in a white tux jacket and lingered in front of the audience and struck a bad boy pose on the side of the stage to “You Know I’m No Good”. This entertainer acts the songs! He had such attitude and was so self-assured and cocky. “I told you I was trouble.” He took total command of the stage. His “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” had its own branding. It was nothing like Sinatra, who made the song famous. It’s tricky to do another singer’s signature song as audiences will make a comparison. But, Jackson’s rendition was his own.
The very beautiful and sexy super model, Rebecca Romijn of “The Xmen”, came out in a whisper of a sea foam, formfitting gown to join Jackson in the duet, “”Somethin’ Stupid”. I had heard her in “The Producers” as Oola at the Hollywood Bowl, so I knew she could sing. They made beautiful music together.
Jackson turned more serious as he spoke of his grandmother, Alberta Mae, who passed from alcoholism after her husband died. Their love served as a touchstone for Jackson and he was moved to write a song about her love for her husband, Pete. “Red Wine” was sad and stirring and showed his talent as a composer and song writer. He captured the feeling of love and loneliness. Jackson told of his finding love in California after a break up in New York and going off alcohol and drugs himself in the upbeat “Feeling Good”. He really got down and personal with us. “It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life for me.” I felt we were coming full circle.
We got a blast of red heart shaped confetti with ‘A Change Is Gonna Come”. Too soon, this evening was ending with a reprise to “Americano” and encores with mad clapping to “Wonderful World” intermixed with “Auld Lang Syne”. It was quite a journey into this incredibly talented young man’s life through song.
The American Song Book series will continue with Audra Mc Donald December 2, 2014 and Michael Mc Donald May 3, 2015. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will perform at the Hollywood Bowl during the summer. Go on line to www.waltdisneyconcerthall.com and to www.hollywoodbowl.com
Audrey Linden is a writer, actress and singer. She can be seen in a long-running “Associated Tax Resolution” commercial, two “Little Caesars” spots, a “Teva International Pharmaceutical” short, Gene Simmons’ “Family Jewels,” “America’s Court with Judge Ross,” VHS “Tough Love 2,” “Wendy’s” etc.
Audrey teaches ON CAMERA COMMERCIAL and IMPROV COMEDY WORKSHOPS through the City of Beverly Hills. To register, call 310-285-6850. Her classes are held at 241 Moreno Dr. B.H. 90212. Her classes are on-going in April through May. For more information, contact Audrey at firstname.lastname@example.org