Miley Cyrus to Stephen Sondheim. “All these songs mean something to me,” he warned, “so get your hankies ready.” Cumming, 51, has acted in a number of London stage productions, perhaps most notably in Bent, a harrowing account of the treatment of two gay men in a Nazi concentration camp. On Broadway, he has appeared in The Threepenny Opera, Design for Living and in a one-man adaptation of Macbeth. His performance as the bizarre master of ceremonies in a revival of Cabaret won him a Tony in 1998. Jennifer Jason Leigh played Sally Bowles, the cabaret singer, in that production. Cumming has also appeared in numerous films. Among them was 1996’s Emma, in which he played the Reverend Elton opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, and 1997’s Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, in which he played Sandy Frink opposite Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino. He also had a role in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999). In 2001, Cumming collaborated on the ensemble comedy-drama The Anniversary Party, in which he and Leigh, his former Cabaret co-star, played a troubled Hollywood couple. The film, which The New York Times described as “articulate and acutely observant,” premiered at Cannes and garnered two Independent Spirit nominations and a National Board of Review award. Cumming then tackled the superhero genre, appearing in 2003’s X2: X-Men United as Nightcrawler, a mutant who possesses superhuman agility, the ability to teleport, and adhesive hands and feet. He went on to star in and direct Suffering Man’s Charity, a comedy-horror film released in 2007 as Ghost Writer. On TV, Cumming introduces Masterpiece Mystery! for PBS and has been nominated for three Emmys, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe Award for his role on The Good Wife. Although The Good Wife ended this
year, CBS is developing a new vehicle for Cumming. In Dr. Death, based on the upcoming book of the same name by James Patterson, he’ll play a former CIA operative who’s coaxed back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose. The multitalented Cumming has also written a book of fiction, Tommy’s Tale: A Novel of Sex, Confusion and Happy Endings (2006), and an autobiography, Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir (2014), a no-holdsbarred exploration of his damaged childhood and his fraught relationship with his violently abusive father. A talented journalist and essayist — is there anything this man can’t do? — Cumming has also penned articles for magazines, contributing to Newsweek, Modern Painters, Out, Black Book and The Wall Street Journal. He served as a guest editor of Marie Claire, and has written introductions and prefaces to various books. A tireless champion for LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS awareness, Cumming serves on the board of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He has been awarded the Great Scot and Icon of Scotland awards, and has had his portrait unveiled at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Event: Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs Date/Time: Saturday, March 4, 2017, 8 p.m. Venue: Walt Disney Theater Notes: The multitalented actor, author and activist is touring the country with a critically acclaimed cabaret show. Tickets: Prices start at $35 844.513.2014 • drphillipscenter.org
DID YOU KNOW? In 2005, Cumming released an award-winning fragrance called “Cumming,” and a related line of scented bath lotion and body wash. A second fragrance, called “Second (Alan) Cumming,” was released in 2011, with all proceeds going to charity.
artsLife | WINTER 2016