Saturday , February 22 2020
Home / Blogs / Abby Tegnelia / Alan Cumming Shines On Broadway Again
cabaret's-alan-cumming

Alan Cumming Shines On Broadway Again

Abby-Tegnelia-Blog
Entertainment Editor, Abby Tegnelia

Two decades after his first run in Cabaret, Alan Cumming proves that age can
 add a little something-something.

Leave it to Alan Cumming.

On TV, he’s the most tightly wound character currently on the small screen, Eli Gold on the still amazing The Good Wife. But in the theater? He lights up the stage wearing little more than strategically placed suspenders and layers of creepy makeup, to play the sinister Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret.

Get me to Broadway stat!

As an impressionable young reporter at New York magazine, I met Cumming many years ago. He was on the heels of his first Broadway run as the cruel and impish Emcee, a revival of his run in London’s West End. I was mesmerized. He had more charisma than I could process and seemed to me a much bigger star than the usual Hollywood types I had interviewed.

To this day, whenever this creative soul (he hit the red carpet for his show’s recent premiere dressed as the woman character in a favorite painting of his) pops up, I get excited. And this year holds plenty of Alan Cumming-worthy excitement. While earning rave reviews playing arguably the most buttoned-up character on television, he’s simultaneously killing it in the dark and dirty Cabaret.

A young Cumming might not have pulled off Eli Gold, the powerful right arm to the governor on The Good Wife. But he most certainly could have nailed the role of Cabaret’s Emcee. He did in fact—twice.

A full 20 years later, are audiences ready for an aging MC? NPR’s Terry Gross marveled that it added an appropriately disturbing element, because at 49, the character was still stuck in this pit of a boite, unable to move up and out.

It’s very much darker,” Cumming told Gross on her radio program, Fresh Air. “I think partly because I’m older but also because the sex element of the show—the thing in 1998, when we came to America, that was so shocking and took up so much of people’s perception of the whole show was the depiction of sexual freedom and hedonism and gay sex and bisexuality and all sorts of things.

Ben Brantley of The New York Times didn’t bat an eye, giving Cumming a rave review as a “lightly looser, older-but-wiser variation on the same performance.” And NY1’s Roma Torre gave the most applause: Alan Cumming “added years give him a more debauched quality and—hard to believe—he’s even better this time around.”

See you on Broadway.

Check Also

Happy Birthday Copyright Appeal

Greedy Label Gives Up – “Happy Birthday” Song Rights; Iconic Tune Will Become Public Domain

It’s as iconic and American as eating apple pie, cooking a turkey for thanksgiving or ...