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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 8, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 28
'Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs'
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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'Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs'

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

'ALAN CUMMING
SINGS SAPPY SONGS'
TOWN HALL
SEATTLE
July 2


Alan Cumming is a man of many talents. He has appeared in several blockbuster movies (Titus, GoldenEye, X2: X-Men United), has written two books (Tommy's Tale and Not My Father's Son), has appeared on television ('The Good Wife' and as host of 'Masterpiece Mystery!'), and has received acclaim for his work on stage (Cabaret, Bent, Three Penny Opera&), receiving a Tony Award for his role as Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret. For his work with the LGBT community, he was awarded by Her Majesty, the title of OBE (Officer of the British Empire). It amazes that few people know of his ability and talents to command a solo concert, and do it well!

Taking the stage at Seattle's Town Hall on Saturday, July 2, Alan Cumming performed with a three-piece orchestra: A cellist, a drummer and his keyboard accompanist, with special guest star of a local trumpeter making his stage (with the group) debut. Singing songs from his recent album, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs - Live from the Carlyle, Mr. Cumming began his Seattle serenade by explaining the evening's program, his love of music that inspires him. 'Don't judge,' he quipped as he launched into a rendition of Miley Cyrus' 'The Climb.' His musical repertoire continued with a beautiful tribute to his homeland of Scotland ('Mother Glasgow'), and even a condom commercial jingle that he performed (originally) with Ricki Lake (Ecstasy Trojan condoms - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3wpz95GTLM).

Mr. Cumming's voice is definitely reminiscent of the crooners of yesteryear. It's soft, seductive and sultry. His Scottish brogue adds an extra component to his voice, allowing it to subtly work its magic on an audience. His vocal talents are very evident, and his capabilities can handle a wide range of music including two by Rufus Wainwright ('Dinner at Eight' and the French 'Complainte du la butte'), Annie Lenox's 'Why,' and Noel Coward's 'If Love Were All.'

Mr. Cumming included two 'mash-up' pieces expressing his interests in both 'Contemporary' and 'Broadway' music, saying that there are often songs that sound alike, giving two musical examples. The first he entitled, 'Someone Like the Edge of a Firework,' which carefully blended the songs by Adele, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. As a tribute to his Broadway roots, and to show the composer's similarities in his work, Mr. Cumming also did a mash-up of songs by Stephen Sondheim (which caused a few comments from the audience) called, 'No One Is Alive Not While I'm Around.'

Between songs, Mr. Cumming told stories about his life, both personal and professional. He talked about his latest book, Not My Father's Son, an autobiography revealing an abusive childhood, at the hands of a man he later found out was not his biological father. He spoke of his relationships in the dating worlds and the challenges he's come across. Jovially, he shared with the audience personal stories of meeting his show-biz contemporary, Liza Minnelli. Ending the concert with the encore of 'Ladies Who Lunch,' Mr. Cumming expressed his vast range of talents with an eager Seattle audience.



Alan Cumming made his television debut in the mid-1980s on the Scottish television series, 'Taggart,' while his U.S. television debut was in 2001 on 'Sex and the City.' Cumming first appeared on the cinema screen in 1986's Passing Glory. It was in Cabaret that Alan Cumming gave his award-winning performance at London's Donmar Warehouse, as the Master of Ceremonies (opposite Jane Horrocks as Sally Bowles), and won the 1994 Olivier Award. He later recreated the role (opposite Natasha Richardson) at the newly reopened Studio 54 in New York winning the 1998 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

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Victor Janusz and friends
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