Metro Weekly

Icons: Alan Cumming and Joel Grey

Joel Grey and Alan Cumming have a surprising amount in common

Joel Grey and Alan Cumming - Illustration: Scott G. Brooks
Joel Grey and Alan Cumming – Illustration: Scott G. Brooks

Joel Grey and Alan Cumming have a surprising amount in common.

Both are part of the LGBT community, though Grey is a more recent addition, having publicly come out last January.

Both own small dogs — Grey, a Chihauhua named Nicky and Cumming, a Chihuahua-Rat Terrier mix named Jerry.

Both have written memoirs. Cumming’s — Not My Father’s Son — was published in 2014 while Grey’s — Master of Ceremonies — reaches Amazon in a few weeks.

Both have found success on television. Grey has enjoyed almost 60 years of television appearances, including guest arcs on both Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while Cumming has brought to life, with brilliant, vivid nuance, the Emmy-nominated role of Eli Gold on CBS hit The Good Wife.

Both have had astonishing stage careers. Grey originated the role of The Wizard of Oz in Wicked and Amos Hart in Chicago, while Cumming has played in everything from Hamlet to Bent to The Threepenny Opera. But their Broadway link lies with Kander and Ebb’s classic Cabaret: Each won a Tony Award for playing The Emcee. Grey originated the showy — and show-stopping — part in the original Broadway production in the ’60s (and later in the 1972 film, for which he took home an Oscar). Years later, in 1998, Cumming won a Tony for darker, more sexualized take on the part.

And both are coming to our city: Cumming, 51, will be at Strathmore on Valentine’s Day — Sunday, Feb. 14 — with his critically heralded cabaret, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, while the 83-year-old Grey will settle into the Historic Sixth & I Synagogue on Feb. 23, for an in-depth conversation about his book, his life, and his remarkable career.

Could you wish for a more perfect pairing?

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