Alan Will Go On
Alan Cumming brings his Sappy Songs to Austin
By Shaun Lee,
8:00AM, Wed. Jun. 22, 2016
It’s Alan – Alan Cumming – and he’s coming to Austin with his show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. Known primarily for his roles in various stage performances such as Cabaret and films like Eyes Wide Shut, this is a different kind of show for Cumming.
Yes, it’s got singing and performance, but this is a raw take on his usual fare. Featured are songs he hand-picked and has surrounded with personal anecdotes and raw emotions.
“I really find doing this show to be a bit of an achievement … because I connect with the audience in such a critical, rational way – more so than any character in a play that I’ve done,” says Cumming. “And, you know, I wrote this show. I’d write up a story about a tale, so I feel it is a very personal, very vulnerable, and very authentic kind of thing.”
In a nutshell, they’re songs that Cumming enjoys performing – ranging from "The Ladies Who Lunch" to "Goodnight Saigon," which he currently identifies with most. “Last night, I was working until 2:30, so we have this weird window of time – like the evening is really morning.” Cumming reasons. “I went to yoga class, and I’m standing at my optician’s now, waiting – glamour of show business!” Joining Cumming onstage is his longtime musical associate and Emmy-winning Musical Director Lance Horne, as well as cellist Eleanor Norton, and drummer Chris Jago.
Sappy Songs is an intense look at Cumming’s most vulnerable self. It comes at a time when strength for people found in the crosshairs of society is being deeply, publicly challenged. Although written prior to Orlando, Cumming does identify with being queer, and so he carries opinions on the connection of his performance and the events of June 12. Austin’s show is to go on just two weeks after the shootings, and it is an example of one man standing up and persisting.
“I think my show is all about being who you are, being strong and open,” says Cumming. “All the stories I tell are very authentic. With the whole Orlando emotional turmoil, everyone needs to be more bold and not apologize. You won’t be accepted ‘til you accept it. That’s what is really important: not to let the phobia affect any part of our lives. That’s very much what the show is about.”
Cumming encourages people to build up their belief in themselves and to stand strong. He never intended to become an important figure in theatre and film, and he warns against holding up idols. Along the lines of being bold and not apologizing, he encourages folks to hold themselves to their own standards to reach their success. As for his own future, Cumming doesn’t like to make plans. He’s reveling in the chance to be honest and connected to the audience in ways he personally constructed.
“I don’t think ‘I’m going to do this’ and ‘Oh, I want to do this one day.’ If you’re always looking to the future, you don’t really heed the present. So, I actually just love where I’m at right now. I’m very alive.” Cumming explains. “I want to have that energy that perpetuates. So, it’s not about things or rules or people, it’s about having creative energy around me that’s exciting and makes me want to get up and do, go to work and get creative, go to yoga, talk to people from Texas, stuff like that.”
Catch Cumming and his sappy songs this Saturday at ACL Live at the Moody Theatre. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are available here.