Alan Cumming...in his own words

22 Sep 2016

Actor, producer, director and campaigner Alan Cumming will be joined by his long-time collaborator musical director Lance Horne when he brings his award-winning cabaret show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs to Brighton Dome.

On his first ever concert show Alan said:

'I had wanted to do my own show for a very long time, 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 2015 Alan was asked to develop a new concert for a two-week run at New York’s Café Carlyle, and so Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs was born, mixing intimate secrets, raucous anecdotes, and reinterpretations of songs by everyone from Stephen Sondheim to Katy Perry. This is his most intimate show yet:

'What I really like about singing in this form is how raw it can be and how bare you have to be to do it. I thought that if I was going to do another of these shows, I really wanted to go for it. I want to sing songs that really mean something to me, be a bit more vulnerable and authentic. I want it to be as personal and intimate as possible.' (The List, July 2016)

On this new career development Alan said:

'As I’ve got older and grown as a man and as an artist, all I think is important is being able to connect with an audience and also to be more vulnerable I think as a performer you have got to be prepared to be vulnerable…I’ve found that doing my cabaret show…it’s a very cathartic thing for an audience as well as for me.' (KQed Radio, June 2016)

However Alan refuses to go along with the trend of singing pop songs with an American accent; his Scottishness will be obvious:

'I’ve always felt it weird that when we sing pop songs we immediately use an American accent. Everybody in Britain does. But it doesn’t really make sense. Take someone likes Adele, for example, who speaks amazingly and she’s such a giggly Cockney girl. Yet, when she sings she becomes this different person. It’s like she’s acting this fake R&B diva. I always find it fascinating why people do this.' (The Herald, July 2016)

Alan Cumming is at Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Friday 7 October.