Friday, June 5, 2009

And on the topic of ugly people who act ugly...

...here is an absolutely beautiful person, inside AND out, one of my favorite guys in the world Cheyenne Jackson (I have mentioned him a few times before, I believe) and a rave review from The New York Times.

Awesome awesome AND awesome.



Cheyenne Jackson, left, performing with Michael Feinstein.



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By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Published: June 3, 2009

That weepy Rodgers and Hammerstein chestnut “We Kiss in a Shadow” wasn’t conceived as a gay-rights anthem. But if you scan the lyrics in which clandestine lovers in “The King and I” yearn “for one smiling day to be free,” it might as well have been. And on Tuesday evening two male stars, Michael Feinstein and Cheyenne Jackson — gazing into each other’s eyes — turned it into a passionate, impeccably harmonized duet in their groundbreaking show “The Power of Two” at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency.
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Mr. Feinstein, the dedicated, 52-year-old custodian of the classic American songbook, and Mr. Jackson, the 33-year-old star of “Xanadu” and “All Shook Up,” are not lovers; each has another partner. But as they joined voices in a show that takes its title from a song by the Indigo Girls, they made vows of love and friendship exchanged by men seem “as normal as blueberry pie,” to quote another Hammerstein lyric.

As he usually does in his shows, Mr. Feinstein dug out a fascinating obscurity, “The Time Has Come,” by Marshall Barer and Mickey Leonard. Written after the Stonewall riot, the Latin-flavored coming-out song, Mr. Feinstein said, exalts “the right to heed a different drum.”

Vocally he and Mr. Jackson made an excellent match, with Mr. Feinstein sometimes acting as a Bing Crosby-like figure to Mr. Jackson’s Frank Sinatra in the movie “High Society.” But elsewhere Mr. Feinstein became a Sinatra-like leader of an imaginary gay Rat Pack, in which Mr. Jackson’s distant resemblance to Elvis Presley (who idolized Dean Martin) suggested a cleaned-up Martin-like crony to Mr. Feinstein’s Ol’ Blue Eyes. Both singers, however, are the antithesis of the boozy Las Vegas cutups that are part of the Rat Pack image. Mr. Jackson embodies the ’50s ideal of a clean-cut all-American male pinup: a composite of Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter.

Mr. Feinstein hasn’t forsaken the aggressive Sinatra-inspired style of his last album, “The Sinatra Project.” His strongest solos during a show in which he and Mr. Jackson took turns singing, were punchy renditions of “So in Love” (arranged by the pianist John Oddo for the six-member band as a hard-edged beguine) and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” Mr. Jackson, a Broadway swinger with a gleaming timbre and stamina to burn, imparted the full force of his top notes to “Old Devil Moon” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

How long ago was it that Mr. Feinstein, singing Gershwin, changed “The Man I Love” to “The Girl I Love”? That was last century.

“The Power of Two” continues through June 27 at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, 540 Park Avenue, at 61st Street; (212) 339-4095).