But when you’re Cheyenne Jackson (who got much better notices than the playwright did), life most certainly does go on — and goes on pretty darn well. Have you seen him on TV or onstage lately? No? What, are you glued exclusively to C-SPAN? There he is on “30 Rock” playing Danny Baker, the handsome crooner and Liz Lemon hireling-with-benefits. Or maybe you caught the 37-year-old native of northern Idaho on Season 2 of “Glee” as Dustin Goolsby, the devilishly competitive coach of Vocal Adrenaline. Or as a guest dishing about the Real Housewives on “Watch What Happens Live!,” Andy Cohen’s catty late-night cocktail klatch on Bravo.
He’s done a considerable amount of Broadway (and off-Broadway): “Altar Boyz,” “All Shook Up,” “Xanadu,” “Finian’s Rainbow.” Next year, he pops up on the big screen as Liberace’s boy toy pool boy in “Behind the Candelabra,” a biopic directed by Steven Soderbergh, featuring Michael Douglas as the flamboyant pianist and Matt Damon as his longtime lover. And if this doesn’t provide you a clear enough portrait of Jackson’s entertainment-world hegemony, perhaps you’ll want to sample the forthcoming (and aptly titled) “Drive,” his album of original songs.
Or: You could join him in Washington on New Year’s Eve, where he’s commandeered the Kennedy Center Concert Hall for “Cheyenne Jackson . . . Music of the Mad Men Era,” a facsimile of the concert of pop songs and standards he performed a year ago at — wait for it — Carnegie Hall. (The National Symphony Orchestra Nina Arianda, a Tony winner last season for “Venus in Fur,” will be along, too.)
If it’s still premature to pin down precisely how far along the path to widespread acclaim Jackson might travel, we know for certain that he’s got farther to go. Sitting caddy-corner from him in a midtown Manhattan restaurant, one perceives the self-confidence, the sense of a guy who’s had his fair share of career advancement and positive reinforcement. And who’s hungry for more. “You think you reach a modicum of success,” he is musing, over a plate of greens. “Alec Baldwin said to me, ‘We all have to wait in line. It’s just for some of us, the lines are shorter.’ ”
Jackson is so easy to talk to that you hardly notice the way he slips into what might politely be called celebrity referencing, as he did with Baldwin, the comic behemoth of the soon-to-conclude “30 Rock.” He mentions over the course of a meal acquaintances with pianist Michael Feinstein and jazz singer Sia, newsman Anderson Cooper, TV star Matthew Morrison and actress Laura Benanti, and just as you think of making note of the pattern, he self-effacingly acknowledges a penchant for name-dropping.