Sunday, 9 December 2012

Alan Cumming: interviews and review

Alan Cumming updates Cabaret
Host Alan Cumming poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles 2012 Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) Photo: Chris Pizzello / Invision
Host Alan Cumming poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles 2012 Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
 
From Times Union:
Stunning talent, a likable personality and lots of embarrassing but hilarious personal anecdotes were packed into Alan Cumming's cabaret show, Sunday night at Club Helsinki.
Though he's gone on to triumph in television and film, it was a Broadway role — the emcee in "Cabaret" — that made Cumming famous. He offered one selection from that show, "Mein Herr." Otherwise, the material was all quite recent and not apparently extracted from any musicals, except a medley from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."
So much for my comments after Charles Busch's recent show at the same venue, that cabaret always means nostalgia. The themes of Cumming's songs and stories were utterly now. They included gay sexuality, body modification (plastic surgery and regrettable tattoos), and American consumerism, among other stuff of today's world.
It's too much to say that it all came out as lovely poetry, even if there were some darned funny rhymes along the way, such as those in "Taylor, the Latte Boy," a song Cumming borrowed from Kristin Chenoweth. But even when Cumming was telling elaborate and explicit stories of drunken nights, bad breakups, and rude awakenings to middle age, he wasn't harsh and comically offensive, say like Chris Rock. Maybe along with his Scottish brogue came his gentle and eloquent way with words.
It's another matter entirely to find good songs that cover the same ground, but Cumming certainly did so. Several selections were by his fine accompanist, Lance Horne. And among Cumming's other talents, he can also write words and music. A showstopper was his "Next to Me." A kind of ode of gratitude for his husband, it starts as a ballad and ends with a belt.
Cumming has an impressive vocal technique, with a hearty and masculine forte and a fine controlled pianissimo. He handled long phrases and jumps of register with unexpected ease while his diction — for all those words about modern life — was always crystal clear.
Besides that opening from "Cabaret," the most familiar material in his set came at the end. The first encore was a medley of songs by Katy Perry and Adele, with Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory" as a refrain. That was followed by Annie Lenox's "Why?"
Bringing a star like Cumming to the intimate venue in Hudson will be tough to top. It's going to be fun to see what the producers of Helsinki on Broadway can come up with next.
Cabaret review
Alan Cumming
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Club Helsinki, 405 Columbia St., Hudson
Duration: 70 minutes, no intermission
Source (including photo): Times Union



Alan Cumming, an actor for all ages

Scottish actor Alan Cumming says, in a way, he is aging in reverse. (CBS News)

(CBS News) If you haven't seen Alan Cumming in "The Good Wife," don't worry: You've almost certainly seen the 47-year-old actor in something else at the movies, on stage or on TV. Serena Altschul has a Sunday Profile:

Alan Cumming ia an actor for the ages . . . all ages. Whether he's playing to kids looking for a few laughs, or adults looking for action or drama.
So when Altschul sat down with Cumming, she had a lot of ground to cover, from "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" to playing a computer programmer in the James Bond film "GoldenEye." ("It was such fun - Boris Grishenko"). Or "Josie and the Pussycats," in which both Cumming and Altschul appeared.
When Cumming is asked a simple question, you never know where it'll lead.
"Your body of work," Altschul began, "when we look at all of the - "
"Are we talkin' about my body already, Serena?"
"We had to get there eventually, didn't we?" she laughed.
Every week on TV, Cumming plays Eli Gold, a bare-knuckles political consultant on "The Good Wife."
"What's it like for you getting into his character - he's explosive, he gets angry, he really gets in there. Is that fun to play him?" Altschul asked.
"I like him," Cumming replied. "The good thing about him is he's very repressed. I love having a laugh with the crew between takes, and then when I do him I'm very . . . a lot of eyebrows!"

But Cumming always comes back to the theater - this year, in a provocative one-man production of "Macbeth." After all, it was theater that first made him a star in this country.
He played the Master of Ceremonies in "Cabaret" in 1998. "It was an amazing thing for me. It kind of completely changed my life," he said.
Cumming and Altschul sat down in the same building where he performed in "Cabaret." In the late '70s it was the notorious club "Studio 54." It has since become a theater.
"Cabaret" became a nationwide sensation, and Cumming won a Tony Award. "You know what I thought was amazing? I would go to somewhere in the middle of America - this is before I'd done films that they knew - and I'd go into the cafe and they'd say, 'You're the "Cabaret" guy.' And I'd say, 'Oh, did you see the show?' And they're like, 'No.'"
Cumming was raised far from the big city lights, in a smallish town in Scotland.
"It wasn't a town," he said. "I grew up in a country estate."
"Country estate" sounds like the setting for an idyllic Scottish childhood. It wasn't.
"I have so few memories of my childhood," he said. "It's really weird, it's because I didn't want to make them memories because it was so painful."
Cumming says he and his big brother were terrorized by their father, who tended the forest at the estate.
"My childhood wasn't happy. My dad's very, you know, troubled person and violent and stuff like that. And I think in a funny sort of way I had a very - it sounds weird, but a very balanced childhood. I had my father telling me I was worthless and my mum told me I was precious.
"And so, you know, I didn't believe either of 'em!"
Read more at CBS News (includes extensive picture gallery)



Alan Cumming -- (TCM Podcast) December 2012

Actor Alan Cumming is the guest for the first TCM Podcast for December, 2012, discussing his love of classic films, working with legendary director Stanley Kubrick and Alan's new film Any Day Now opening Friday, December 14th.

Source: Turner Classic Movies

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