It should come as no surprise that Cheyenne Jackson and Megan Hilty are very good friends. What might come as a surprise, though, is that the two singing superstars, both veterans of Broadway and TV, have never worked together.
“We thought it’d be fun to create a show together,” says Jackson, noting that in the process, the pair discovered they had similar musical tastes. “We both love everything retro. But I say we’re old fashioned and she says we’re classic.” The resulting concert, Broadway and Beyond, will have its NSO Pops debut for three nights starting next Thursday, Feb. 13.
“It’s a fun, frothy show,” continues Jackson. “We’re going to do songs from shows that we’re known for. She’s going to do some Smash stuff and Wicked, and I do stuff from shows that I’ve done. She does this amazing version of ‘Get Happy.’ And then we explore different themes of love, because it’s Valentine’s Day weekend — different types of love that we have: love for each other, love for our spouses, love for our kids, love for our parents. It’s really just us sharing our hearts. I’m more proud of it than anything I’ve done in a really long time.”
Jackson, a mainstay in several seasons of American Horror Story (“I loved my character in Apocalypse — it was fun to be a warlock with Billy Porter and BD Wong”), says the birth of his twin sons, both now three, changed his outlook on life.
“I feel like my life really began when I had kids,” says the 44-year-old, a proud member of the LGBTQ community. “It sounds cliche, but it’s true. I had 40 years of life before having kids. I used to just kind of be like coasting through life, kind of aimless and not really awake. Now I try to embrace every moment. My life has more purpose, and the time I have with my kids, the time I spend with them, is just the most precious time. You realize how quick life goes. We only have a certain amount of trips around the sun, and I now feel like I never want to miss a thing.”
NSO Pops: Broadway and Beyond with Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson is Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15, at 8 p.m. in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org/nso/home.