It’s been almost two decades since Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming slayed audiences with his portrayal of the over-the-top Emcee in the Broadway musical Cabaret. Now, at 49, he’s reprising the role in NYC at Studio 54. I got a chance to speak with the acclaimed actor of stage and screen (the Good Wife rocks!!!) between previews for Cabaret and his grueling tv filming schedule. He spoke about how his hot body is adjusting to doing moves he hasn’t done in ages, the significance of his effeminate character on and off stage, and the difference between being a pragmatic gay and a self-hating one.
Paisley Dalton: What’s different for you in this production of Cabaret, compared to the 1998 show?
Alan Cumming: The world has changed and I’ve changed. I feel older! It’s interesting to come back. Your muscle memory starts to kick in. It’s more of a challenge. I’m still filming The Good Wife at the same time. That takes its toll. But I’m getting into the groove.
Dalton: You play the role Emcee..who is characterized as an effeminate deviant. Are effeminate gay guys fully accepted today, or considered deviants?
Cumming: No! They’re not! Within the gay community, it’s very self-hating about more effeminate guys. That’s something we need to look at, and be more accepting of everybody! In terms of the play, the character is both the symbol of decadence and hedonism…the spectrum of sexuality, gender and confusion. He also leads the audience. They like the world he’s from…all the decadence. The play teaches people how easily terribly persecuting governments can slowly, but very effectively, take over.
Dalton: Is being “Out” but not “Out loud” the current decadence?
Cumming: For some people, it’s easier to deal with a nice gay man in a suit than a nice gay man in a wig and glitter. You have to be pragmatic at certain times. I get that. We all want to belong. There are more options for gay people now. You can live in the suburbs with two kids. But those people become a bit self-hating of those who started the [gay rights] Movement…the drag queens and the trans community.
Dalton: Have you been to the Kit Kat Club in Berlin?
Cumming: I have!!! It is like a dance club with sex! I didn’t walk in thinking I was going to see people singing songs (laughs). I like Berlin very much. There’s NO shame! You do everything backwards. You can have sex with someone in a bar, then have a drink, then go for dinner. It’s like gym culture with ejaculation!
Dalton: Where do you hang out in NYC for camp fun?
Cumming: I would go to My Chiffon Is Wet of course (laughs…full disclaimer: It’s my party..hehe), on Thursday nights, or Susanne Bartsch’s Sunday Service, or Westgay on Tuesdays. I like that it’s not just men only at these places…they mix it up.
Dalton: What kind of “boy body” is decadent for you?
Cumming: People who are comfortable with their body…their confidence. An understanding that they are sexy, but not aggressive about it. That can be a whole gamut of people. If they’re too perfect, that can be a real turn-off… like if somebody has a look like their head has been photoshopped onto an Abercrombie model. I really find chiseled bodies disturbing.
Dalton: Are you sexy?
Cabaret starts April 24 in NYC. Get More info HERE!