Melissa Etheridge has lived a lot of life. So much so that the early version of her autobiographical show was four or five hours long.
“I had to snip out a lot of the story lines,” Etheridge, 62, said in a phone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “And then even more so for Broadway. It was taking out some of my really early childhood stuff, tightening up some of the stories.”
But there was one moment in the show, “Melissa Etheridge: My Window” — which will have its Broadway opening on Sept. 28 after a well-reviewed run at New World Stages last year — that she knew she couldn’t cut, even though it’s the toughest part to get through: Her son’s death at 21 from a drug overdose.
“I’m still working through it,” the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter said of losing her son, Beckett Cypher. “But that’s how I knew I had to wrap it up — show people what I’ve learned about myself, and being a mother, and about addiction and not taking guilt on.”
Before relocating to New York to begin “My Window” rehearsals, Etheridge shared her cultural essentials, including the album that made her a fan of Taylor Swift and her love for the Kansas City Chiefs. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
I was a jeans girl, and then the pandemic hit, and I became a sweatpants girl. Now my daughter and my wife have got me hooked on Lululemon. I found this pair of pants — they’re sweatpants, but they’re really thin, but not like yoga pants that are like “Oh, here’s my ass” — and I was like, “These are fantastic.” Once you get into your 50s, it’s all about comfort.
Kansas City Chiefs
I was born and raised in Leavenworth, Kan. I was 8 when we won the Super Bowl in 1970 and have been a fan ever since. I’m beyond crazy about the Chiefs. My house is kind of a Chiefs shrine — I have a pool table with the team logo on it and a Chiefs guitar strap.
When we had our huge drought in Southern California, I looked at my big, beautiful yard with all this grass and I’m like, “Why do I have big, thick grass in a desert? And why am I watering it constantly?” So I turned to xeriscape, which is going back to native, drought-tolerant plants.
I’m always looking for ways to get enough electrolytes and magnesium. My tour manager, who’s even more of a health nut than I am, said “These are great, try this.” Plus, it makes my water taste really soft.
When I went through cancer 19 years ago, it was a big wake-up call about health and life. I came across her early law of attraction stuff — the idea that we’re creating our reality and that our joy and our happiness creates more joy and happiness — and it really spoke to me. It makes more sense than any religion.
My Gibson Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355 Replica Murphy Lab Guitar
I recently went down to Nashville with my band and my crew, and we all went to the Gibson Garage. They took me back into the vault, which dazzled me. They said, “Here, you can borrow this guitar for your tour,” and I started playing it and was like, “OMG, this is the greatest thing! I have to have it.” I think I’ll use it in the last few numbers of the show.
Smoking With Strangers Outdoors
I love that cannabis is finally legal in New York City. The last time I was there over the summer, looking for a place to smoke, I saw some women sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park smoking, and I asked, “Do we just sit and smoke now?” And she was like, “Yeah, it’s great.”
It was my daughter who got me hooked — I used to drive her up to boarding school, and we’d listen to the whole “1989” album. Then I went to a show in Chicago with her in June, and I looked around at the audience and said, “This is amazing.”
I’m a huge puzzler. It started 20 years ago when I was undergoing chemotherapy and didn’t have the energy to do anything else. It helps keep my mind sharp and relaxed. I love Springbok puzzles not only because they’re from my home in Kansas City, but because the pieces are unique — I don’t like the puzzles where all the pieces look the same — and the quality is fantastic.
Dine-In Movie Theaters
I love this new trend of really fancy theaters. Here in Westlake we have one called Cinépolis where they bring you dinner in the theater — and this is actual real food; you can get a hummus platter or a nice salad. I saw “Barbie” on the road recently at a dine-in theater in Lexington, Ky. I loved it! It made me laugh so hard. I’m ready to see it again.