Metro Weekly

Alan Cumming brings his Sappy Songs to the Kennedy Center

And he's putting his name to a New York gay bar

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs — Photo: TreInc

Come September, if all goes as planned, Manhattan will have a new gay bar. Well, not new, exactly, a reboot. But oh, what a reboot. The popular gay bar Eastern Bloc, situated in the lower East Village and co-owned by Anderson Cooper’s beau Benjamin Maisani, is taking the surname of a new incoming partner: Alan Cumming.

“We’re planning to change it a little bit so we can have a piano,” the award-winning performer says, quite ebulliently, of Club Cumming. “I want it to feel like anything could happen. Somebody might get up and sing a song…. Or we might just have a man come playing the theremin for an hour. Stuff like that. Try to think outside the box.”

Cumming wants the establishment to extend beyond gay moorings. “I want it to be an omnisexual bar. Obviously, I want gay people to come, but I want straight people, I want anyone who wants to have fun and let go and be non-judgmental. Come in with an open heart and be wanting to have fun.”

Fun is in store this weekend at the Kennedy Center as Cumming returns to the area with his immensely popular Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, part of the Renée Fleming’s Voices series. Even though Cumming has been performing Sappy Songs for over two years, he’s “still so loving doing it…. It’s so different to how I’ve ever felt doing a play. Because it’s me and I’m being very vulnerable and it’s very personal and authentic, it still feels as fresh and fun to do. I want it to feel like I’m just telling you stories and singing you songs, and having quite an old-fashioned experience, really.”

The Scottish-born actor, who became a household name after seven seasons on The Good Wife playing ambitious, crafty political operative Eli Gold on The Good Wife, holds an American citizenship, so when asked his views on the current administration, he doesn’t hold back.

“Well, I’m devastated,” he says. “I think it’s just terrifying. It’s just a mess. It’s embarrassing as well. I, as an American, am absolutely ashamed and embarrassed that this is what’s happening, and some of the decisions that are being made and the behavior — it’s just so awful.

“The thing that got me the other day was the company that makes the missiles that were sent to Syria, Trump has shares in. So, he actually made money off that missile attack! It’s just so corrupt, it’s so wrong. Every decision that’s made is based on greed.”

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs is Saturday, April 29 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit Kennedy-Center.org.

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Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.