Cumming to the Cabaret...

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Publication: Jewish Exponent
Date published: July 15, 2010
Language: English
PMID: 59080
ISSN: 00216437
Journal code: JWEX

Who better to wish "WiIkommen" to the cabaret than Alan Cumming?

The Tony Award- winning actor whose sexually charged m.c. provided major wattage for the 1996 "Cabaret" that was a stungun of a Broadway revival, recently reiterated musically why there's no putting this Broadway baby in a corner.

Cumming to the cabaret, old chum: As the showpiece of an extended engagement at Feinstein's at the Loews Regency, in New York, where he plied audiences with songs of the liqueur of love - by the bi- and otherwise - the engaging and tantalizingly enigmatic actor/singer didn't blur his Scottish burr of an accent in the process.

Which may surprise some of the few who thought the continental cad of "Cabaret" himself maybe... Jewish.

Well, he isn't, but he plays one on TV.


Indeed, his portrayal of Eli Gold, image magician for the disgraced philandering Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), in "The Good Wife" is one reason why the show is so damned good.

With more Yiddish accentuated chutzpah than Scottish accent, the sartorially splendid Gold snidely bade members of Peter's mother's do-good group a "Shalom" in one episode.

What's next for next season - a bake sale of hamantashen to plant a three-cornered white hat on his client's kup?

Meanwhile, as the soul of Sam Mendes' heart-searing interpretation of Nazi mendacities and monstrosities in "Cabaret," it was revealed at musical's end that the subversively sinister m.c. was a star in the most subservient obsequious way as far as the Nazis were concerned: The final scene - in a shattering shift from the original - depicted Cumming's come-hither master of his domain as a servant of the Nazis, attired in concentration-camp garb, and pinned down morally and metaphysically by two stars - one, pink, denoting his outlaw sexuality; the other, yellow, surprisingly declaiming him a Jew.

But the surprises don't end there with the icon-crushing Cumming, whose repertoire at Feinstein's was as originally engaging and unreserved as he is.

Next stop for Broadway's "Jewish" m.c./TV's Jewish media handler is the ultimate 180degree turn, with a somewhat perverse perspective from the back side of the "Cabaret" stage - although a comic one: "Jackboots on Whitehall," an animated flick with puppets in which Cumming gives voice to a flamingly feisty Fuhrer, complete with evening gown and swastika swagger.

And you thought Peter Florrick had image problems.

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