An Interview With Courtney Act
Author: Deborah Nelson
I might have let it slip to Courtney Act that I thought Cheyenne Jackson was one of the hottest men on the the planet. Like one or six times during our interview. Courtney Act, however, is one of the hottest men and women on the planet, all in one body! So what a perfect pair Courtney and Cheyenne made this past Thursday and Friday night on stage at the San Francisco Symphony, singing the ‘Elephant Love Medley’ from ‘Moulin Rouge.’ The two performed together in front of a 90 piece orchestra and then shared a surprise kiss at the end of the number!
Courtney explained how this sickening idea came about. “He (Cheyenne) sent me an email and he was like, ‘So I’m thinking at the end that we should kiss. How do you feel about that? Is that okay with you?’ I’m like ‘Yeah, I think I can manage that.'”
Courtney said it was amazing to perform under such circumstances. No she wasn’t talking about the kiss! She was talking about the huge live orchestra and the gorgeous symphony hall. “It’s really very highbrow and fabulous. I’ve never done anything like this before.” The designer Marco Marco, who is also doing the costumes for Courtney’s upcoming New York show ‘Boys Like Me’, designed her floor-length gown. This hemline was a first for Courtney. “My legs are not even exposed. I feel like I’m going out on stage alone without my legs exposed. I’m like ‘What am I without my legs?’ I’ve stopped relying on my body!” she said.
In ‘Boys Like Me’ Courtney also has a live band. “It’s a 90 minute show full of songs and stories,” Courtney said. The show is a mixture of upbeat songs with a few ballads thrown in. Courtney’s favorite number in the show is Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now.’ She explained:
[quote]We used to have ‘Give Me a Reason’ by Pink at that point in the show. And I sang it on opening night and I was just like, “The song’s not right.’ And Chita Rivera was coming to see the show the next night and I needed to replace it. And I said to Lance, my music director, “What about ‘Both Sides Now.” And I woke up that morning and I was like, ‘Right, Both Sides Now. I’ll sing that tonight.’ And I was like ‘Oh my God! I’ve never sung it before! I don’t know the words!’ But, the way it’s written, it’s like a story and it just made perfect sense. And instantly it was my favorite number.'[/quote]
Speaking of both sides now, Courtney said that the “adult-themed” show came about because she started writing a journal about her “fascinating sexual experiences.” She explained, “I’ve always been fascinated with gender and sexuality and I have many unique experiences looking like a pretty lady and looking like a boy. So I kind of stuck a lot of stories together – about boys who like me – and wrote this show.”
Courtney says the show is not “smutty” but she does talk about different sexual experiences. “through that I hopefully articulate that there are many colors of the rainbow to gender and sexuality. The stories are mostly funny and include her escapades with ‘straight identical twins in Montreal, the story about the U.S. Marine and losing my virginity to a girl when I was in high school.”
[quote]I didn’t really realize I was gay until I was 18 and I moved to Sydney. I never really had the words for it and I never had any examples of it. I didn’t know that gay was really a thing or an option. The only thing I knew of gay was when kids would yell out “faggot.” It seemed like there was something wrong with whatever a faggot was, and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with who I was, so I just never associated that with myself.
“And then when I moved to Sydney a friend took me to a gay bar and I’m like ‘Ooooohhhhh this is what gay is! Yeah, this is me guys!’
“Along with exploring the gender and sexuality continuum, I’m not opposed to women. My preference is men but I have had intimate relations with a woman as recently as last year. I mean her boyfriend was there as well…
“I probably fall closer to the middle of the gender spectrum and the sexuality spectrum. I think that there are just so many rules and ideas about gender and sexuality that people become quite rigid. When a straight man sleeps with another man, everybody’s like ‘Oh he’s gay. And that kind of scares them. If we just relaxed a little I think everybody would get laid more! Straight men would be happy to have a homosexual encounter if it didn’t make them instantly gay.
“That’s why I like the term ‘queer’. It seems to be less labeling. To me queer refers to everything that’s not heterosexual, that heterosexual normal stereotypical world we live in. Queer is like you’re whatever you want to be. My show is like that because I speak about sex and relationships in such a frank manner. And I talk about a wide spectrum of experiences. Hopefully, through that, people realize that it’s all a bit more colorful than they might have thought.”[/quote]
Courtney is performing her cabaret show “Boys Like Me” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre from July 29 – July 31, and throughout August. Tickets are available at 212-352-3101 or www.SpinCycleNYC.com