Be Ready for Anything With Cheyenne Jackson

For his show at Guild Hall Sunday, the multi-talented performer will include song, comedy, and some surprises for sure

     It may be obvious to Cheyenne Jackson what he will do at his performance at Guild Hall on Sunday, but anyone else might be left a bit perplexed. Without a description, a ticket buyer could not be blamed for thinking the versatile actor of stage, film, and television with several musicals to his credit and a cabaret act could be doing just about anything.

     He said last Thursday that he would be doing a bit of this and that and would aim to keep things flexible. "I'm always hesitant to give out a set list. I have a great three-piece band and a music director. The show runs the gamut. I'll do some musical theater, tipping my hat to different shows I've been in."

     Those shows have included "Damn Yankees," "Xanadu," "All Shook Up," and "Altar Boyz" since 2004.

     He will add in some Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell and for those who have been disappointed he has not yet sung on the television show "Glee," on which he plays Dustin Goolsby, the new coach of Vocal Adrenaline, he may do a mash up or two, or some other "Glee"-inspired things.

     As in a true cabaret performance, he will include some comedy and observational bits and could add some spoken word pieces as well. "It will be morphed just as I have been" through all of these different genres.

     Mr. Jackson actually auditioned for the lead role in "Glee," played by Matthew Morrison. "He's a good friend of mine from the Broadway years. The producers were looking to fit me in and decided to write this part for me." He has been promised that they will include a song for him next season.

     Next week's 10-year anniversary of the incidents of Sept. 11 have some personal meaning to the performer. It was a catalyst for his career and a role in the movie "United 93," became one of his first film appearances.

"Up until nine years ago, I was a salesman in Seattle. After 9/11, I decided to move to New York and give it a shot as a professional actor. I was relatively old, about 26 or 27, when I moved to the city, but I was open to everything." He said the event forced him to face down his fears and go after his dream. "That was my first big film, and I don't think it was a coincidence."

     In addition to "Glee," Mr. Jackson has taken up residence on another television show many A-list actors consider a must-do cameo, "30 Rock" on NBC, which stars the Amagansett resident Alec Baldwin. Mr. Jackson plays Danny Baker, the Canadian, a role that makes the most of his well-scrubbed and sincere look.

     The gig came from "blipping on" Tina Fey's radar when he starred in "Damn Yankees," which also starred Jane Krakowski, who is in the cast of Ms. Fey's show. After she saw him again in "Xanadu," she "decided to write this part for me and if Tina Fey writes you a part, you jump at it."

     Working with Ms. Fey and Mr. Baldwin has helped him both with comedic timing as well as some improvisation. It's a scripted show, but "if a scene gets in the can early, Alec and Tina will improvise and you have to just go with it."

In an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" that aired on Sunday, Mr. Jackson played Larry David's trainer. That show is improvised. "There's no script, just a kind of outline to get from A to B. When you see the flop sweat and stammering, that's real."

     According to Mr. Jackson, he likes the challenge of improvisation and plans to work on it more. Some of it may even creep into Sunday night's performance. The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $40, $38 for members, and are as much as $100 for prime orchestra seats. They can be purchased through guildhall.org or at the box office.