Los Angeles Concert Feature: ALAN CUMMING SINGS SAPPY SONGS (Disney Hall)

by Tony Frankel on January 24, 2017

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles,Tours

Post image for Los Angeles Concert Feature: ALAN CUMMING SINGS SAPPY SONGS (Disney Hall)

CUMMING AND SAPPY

Yes, Disney Hall is a large venue for a cabaret act, but you can expect Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming to turn the venue into the most intimate hotspot when he presents Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs this Sunday, January 29 at 7:30. In addition, you can expect much more than the same-titled PBS special and album released last year.

You may know the Scottish entertainer as a television actor, known for a range of work from X-Men Films to the TV series The Good Wife, but I will forever remember him as the first person after Joel Gray to own the role of the Master of Ceremonies when he appeared in the 1998 revival of Cabaret on Broadway.

Sappy Songs is really a concert, a collection of tunes from the theater and pop world, along with recollections and musings. Backed by three musicians (Lance Horne on piano, Eleanor Norton on cello, and Chris Jego on drums), Alan will offer up an array of songs that have deep meaningful connection to his life.

How did a character actor get into doing a cabaret act?

“I had wanted to do my own show for a very long time,” Cumming said. “But I had been terrified at the prospect of singing without the veil of a character. Every now and then when I was very brave, or had been emotionally blackmailed, I would sing a song at a gala or an event as myself, and really was amazed by the connection I felt between me and the audience.

In 2009, I was asked to take part in the American Songbook Series at New York’s Lincoln Center and I bit the bullet and said yes. I named the show I Bought a Blue Car Today, and in it I talked about my experiences coming to America and eventually deciding to become an American citizen. (‘I Bought a Blue Car Today’ was the sentence I had to write down in my naturalization test to prove my prowess of the English language!)

Three amazing things happened:

  1. I felt the fear and did it anyway!
  2. I really enjoyed the experience of playing myself.
  3. A whole new career doing concerts around the world opened up to me.”

In 2012, Cumming shared the stage with his old chum, Liza Minnelli when the duo played the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove, Fire Island. The show later transferred to New York City, performing at Town Hall. In 2015, he was asked to develop a new concert for a two-week run at New York’s famed Café Carlyle, and decided to make this show his most personal and intimate to date. It opened to universal acclaim and ecstatic reviews, and he’s been touring since (between gigs, natch).

The line-up may change, but you’ll get songs as disparate as Annie Lennox’s “Why”, Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon” and the rarely visited masterpiece by Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht, “The Song of Inadequacy of Human Striving” from Three Penny Opera. And I promise you some Sondheim.

photos from PBS special

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs
presented by LA Phil
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 135 North Grand Avenue
Sunday, January 29, 2017, at 7:30
for tickets, call 323.850.2000 or visit LA Phil
for more dates and cities, visit Alan Cumming

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