The Walt Disney Concert Hall will host a night inspired by “Music of the Mad Men Era” on Saturday, April 26. Performer and actor Cheyenne Jackson, musical director Ben Toth and guests will grace the stage and perform some of the most beloved standards from the 1950s and 60s.
In the city where the hustle is strong and the various motivations of its inhabitants sweep over the streets of this urban paradise, there is no better music than of an era that spoke to those aiming to live to fullest, love passionately, and lose tremendously. See now we have songs that are manufactured to hit the chords that speak to many in pop genre but the standards of the music of the “Mad Men” era were so authentic that despite the decades they still resonate from vinyls to iPhone earbuds.
Impacted by songs such as “Angel Eyes” and “My Funny Valentine,” Jackson will perform the music that has spoken to generations as it has too resonated with him from a very young age.
“My parents always had music playing in the house, music of all kinds. I think I heard my first Jazz record around 11 or 12,” he said. “It was a tape from a garage sale that had Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Sarah Vaughn.”
Over the years, Jackson’s been told his sound is very distinct.
“My teachers have consistently throughout my career told me that I was, vocally speaking, born in the wrong era,” said Jackson. “I have always been naturally drawn to these lush melodic songs, and wanted to create something cool and retro but modern.”
After drawing attention on the smash show Glee as the director of the rival team to New Directions, Jackson has even gained a new relationship from the show’s Coach Sylvester (Jane Lynch), who is a dear friend to him now and someone he loves to perform with.
“She is whip smart, kind and has great musicality. Also, she gave me a toolbelt as a gift once. Not kidding,” said Jackson.
Also joining him on stage will be Rebecca Romijn for some surprise duets.
So why these lovely ladies? “I require all of my guests to be 6-feet tall blonde women,” said Jackson.
However there was no getting him to spill what beloved songs they’d share.
One clue, he admitted, is, “Each song was inspired by their personalities and strengths.”
While current music doesn’t seem to have the staying power of the music of an era that simply transcends, Jackson reasons that it comes down to story.
“True music from the American Songbook will always be in style because it’s timeless,” he said. “The subject matter of love and life and loss will always be relevant and relatable, and then you marry them to a beautiful catchy melody? Done deal. Songs need to tell a story. And the ones that last do.”
He touches upon an artist who came close to capturing the essence and soul of this timeless genre. As part of his set, he will performing a rendition of “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse, a talent that the world tragically lost in July.
“She was a true Jazz artist and I had the pleasure of seeing her perform live right before Back to Black came out. She was the real deal. I wanted to honor her, her music fit within this genre,” said Jackson.
Jackson plans on taking this show on the road with dates set across the country for the next year and a half. You can also catch him on Broadway in April on “Most Happy Fella” with Laura Benati and on the silver screen in any of the five pictures he will be appearing in such as “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” with Gena Rowlands.
Jackson’s an artist to be on the watch for as he creates and shares his art with the world.
Cheyenne Jackson: Music of the Mad Men Era
Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Tickets start at $52.50