On Friday night, I went to see It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman! at the York Theatre.
I am not quite a Superman fan. I have never even seen any of the movies, even though I did love Lois and Clark back in the 7th grade. (Even then, I didn't care for the Superman character...I think I watched because I really wanted to be a journalist...and I loved the actor who played Jimmy Oleson! That guy was adorable!)
This show was around in 1966, and ran for about four months. While the book was pretty (not so great), most of the songs were catchy, and the show was hilarious if only for one reason and that reason is Mr. Cheyenne Jackson!
The first time I saw Mr. Jackson onstage was over three years ago when he played Duke Orsino in Illyria, an adaption of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. That year, I was taking a Shakespeare course in college for pure fun (I was the only non-English major in that class). The Shakespeare Geek in me loved that show and Mr. Jackson had the audience roaring.
I think the old lady sitting next to me summed up Cheyenne's appeal perfectly: "He reminds me of George Clooney...very good-looking, but he doesn't take himself too seriously."
Over the past few years, I have seen Cheyenne star in Aida, one of my all-time favorite Broadway musicals, (he got buried alive at the end of that one), Altar Boyz as lead singer Matthew, who sings, "Girl, you make me want to wait/At least, until our wedding date/'Til then...I'll master...my own fate". Nope, I'm not making this up) and soon his star-making performance in 2005's All Shook Up, ALSO a musical take on Twelfth Night, except now Duke Orsino was a guitar-toting roustabout singing Elvis songs. The New York Times ran a huge advertisement with Cheyenne's picture announcing, "A STAR IS BORN!"
Last year, I saw him in several smaller projects...a naive pornstar in F-ing Men, a male prostitute named Trick Goodlay in the stage soap opera The Cartells (in which he stripped down to a pair of red satin shorts and did the Molly Ringwald dance), and as Victoria Clark's younger lover in The Agony and the Agony. (He had a tattoo of a snake on his neck for that one!)
As I watched Superman on Friday night, I recalled the many times I have seen this guy onstage and how he never, ever, EVER fails to do one thing...make me laugh like a freaking goon, causing people around me to look at me like I'm weird. (At The Agony and the Agony, I even heard one woman go to her companion of me, "That really wasn't that funny..." Oh, yes it is, Lady. You have no idea.)
He's just THAT funny, with impeccable comic timing, and somehow makes you completely forget you are watching such a striking-looking man.
Cheyenne also played Mark Bingham in what possibly might have been one of the most important films of the year, United 93. He proved he has a serious side, and what a way to prove it. He doesn't fool around.
As of Friday, Cheyenne will be starring (on rollerskates) in Xanadu on Broadway. I have absolutely no doubt that he'll be winning over audiences from his very first performance.
Back to Superman...Lois Lane was played by Jean Louisa Kelly, who you might know from Uncle Buck, Yes, Dear and Mr. Holland's Opus. Of course, what made her a superstar to ME was the fact that she starred in the film version of The Fantasticks several years ago. The movie got panned, but I freaking LOVE The Fantasticks and the fact that they cast JLK (who has dark curly hair) as Luisa made me feel that I, in my own dark curly hair crazy girl mind, was playing Luisa as well. She was lovely in the show, as was Shoshana Bean. David Rasche also was featured, and all I could think of whenever he came onstage was his stellar performance in the movie Bingo. (Remember that one??? A young boy moves when his football star dad is traded teams...and his trusty dog Bingo stops at nothing to find him...)
I enjoy seeing these random, small-scaled performances. Keep an eye out for more shows featured at the York, and, of course, on this shooting star Cheyenne Jackson!