Gay Rights Take Center Stage At Alan Cumming's Cabaret

by Daniel Reynolds · March 19, 2012

On Saturday at XL Cabaret, Alan Cumming graced a New York stage once again, performing an evening of musical entertainment in support of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), which works to promote LGBT rights worldwide. The host was accompanied by Emmy Award winner Lance Horne on piano, and Julliard-trained cellist Meta Weiss.

Slim and boyish, Cumming eschewed formality to wear a t-shirt with a tuxedo print, perhaps a light-hearted reference to his Tony-winning performance as the Emcee in Cabaret. He sang music reflecting this illustrious career in entertainment, with selections from Cabaret, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and even a pop mash-up of Adele, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry.

[Photo: Alan Cumming]

[Lance Horne, Alan Cumming, Meta Weiss]

With versatile range, belting ability, and an irresistible Scottish brogue, Alan Cumming’s voice is suited to Broadway and charitable causes alike. Since coming out as bisexual more than a decade ago, Cumming has become a champion for gay rights, supporting such groups as HRC, GLAAD, and AMFAR. And now, he shares the stage with IGLHRC in order to draw attention to the organization’s worldwide efforts to promote equality.

In an interview with ETonline, Cumming stated:

I've been working on this cabaret show for the last few years, but it's not just about raising money; I want to get people talking.

In between numbers, Alan Cumming, 47, also shared personal anecdotes on friends, fame, and growing-older pains. "I’m middle-aged!” he bemoaned, winking. “If I live to 90, that is.”

The jokes played well for the crowd, many of whom also sported streaks of silver hair. Naturally, Liza Minelli was referenced. In a humorous adaptation of the chanteuse’s song, “Liza With a Z,” the host sang “Cumming without an S” to protest the common mispronunciation of his last name as “Cummings.”

Throughout the evening, the star made light of his celebrity status, while acknowledging that his fame may still be limited to certain spheres. For example, Cumming recalled a bizarre encounter in a Los Angeles yoga class: a neighboring woman whispered she was a fan, before inquiring which band he was in.

With standout performances in Goldeneye, X-Men 2, and The Anniversary Party, Mr. Cumming has forged a solid relationship with Hollywood.  But a leading role in CBS' acclaimed legal drama The Good Wife has launched the actor into the primetime limelight, with millions tuning in to see his portrayal of Eli Gold, a political campaign manager reminiscent of Rahm Emanuel.  This conservative, straight-laced character may seem the polar opposite of Cumming's unbuttoned charms. But the actor, as well, has a campaign to pursue, albeit on a much different stage.

[John Blair, Beto Sutter, Alan Cumming, Lance Horne, Brandon Fornabaio]

After the show concluded to enthusiastic applause, a phalanx of guards whisked the star from the stage to a private VIP area, where he enjoyed celebratory cocktails with friends and posed for photographs with Brandon Voss, John Blair, and Beto Sutter, who opened XL back in January. Past promoters for Studio 54 and the Limelight, Blair and Beto were still glowing from their marriage to one another earlier this month.

Meanwhile, strong-armed men were clearing the floor of chairs and tables, transforming XL Cabaret into XL Nightclub, New York's largest new gay club.  Outside, the boys were already starting to line up.

For more information on IGLHRC, go HERE.