Scottish actor and singer Alan Cumming has been a household name in the United States for over 20 years. First appearing on screens stateside in the film Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, he went on to gain millions of fans through his appearances on the stage (in Shakespeare plays as well as the musical Cabaret), on the silver screen (the X-Men franchise) and on the small screen, most recently wrapping up a seven-year commitment as a featured cast member on CBS’s legal drama The Good Wife.

Cumming’s cabaret act, called “Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs” will take over the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center on Friday, February 10th at 8pm. He will be accompanied on the piano by show director and Emmy Award winner Lance Horne as well as by Eleanor Norton on the Cello. Tickets start at $49 and can be bought online by going to arshtcenter.org.

It was a big honor to speak with Alan Cumming about his cabaret show and his successful career in show business in this exclusive Hotspots interview.

Welcome to Florida! What are some of the things you like most about visiting the Sunshine State?

I really like that it feels like I’m going back in time to another era. Everything has a slower pace, I love the Art Deco architecture…when I visit, it always feels like I am entering a different reality.

The night after you perform in Miami, you will be performing at the Kravis Center’s 25th anniversary celebration. How excited are you to be involved, and to perform alongside one of Broadway’s legends, your friend Patti LuPone?

I love Patti. I think she’s hilarious. I think it’s a big honor to be performing with her and all my friends who are coming, like Darren [Criss]. Michael Feinstein is the one who brought all of us down and I’m sure it’s going to be a great night, helping the Kravis Center celebrate their milestone. I’m not even sure what I’m going to be doing yet, but it’s fun to think about it and plan it all out because a special night calls for a special performance.

You’ve actually performed “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company, which Patti LuPone has also sung, in your act that’s coming to Miami. How did you go about selecting the songs for your show? How does each one “speak to you”?

They’re all songs that I emotionally connect to. They’re either songs I’ve always wanted to perform and couldn’t because I was pursuing other roles, or ones I grew to love over the years. I don’t think I have a beautiful singing voice, I don’t think people necessarily see me to hear me sing…I think they want me to act. I can’t just sing…I have to feel it, I have to act it out.

What else can audiences expect from this performance?

If people haven’t seen me in concert before, I think they are going to be in for a shock. People aren’t going to be prepared to feel so many emotions. They’re going to be moved, they’re going to laugh and cry. It’s definitely an evening of surprises.

Which do you find most rewarding: singing or acting?

I don’t see a difference. In this show, there’s comedy, there’s singing, and there’s definitely acting. I do find this show rewarding because the audience can connect with me directly, there is no veil of a character there, as much as I say it’s “acting.” It’s acting the emotion. It’s “acting as myself.”

A reader question: “Cabaret just finished a run here in South Florida. What drew you back in to this musical as you returned to the role of Master of Ceremonies once more?”

It was a combination of things, but I felt that we’re in a different generation now. Sixteen years had passed, and it’s even more timely now than two years ago when I returned to Cabaret. It is so important to heed the messages in the show, to embrace differences and also to be vigilant in the face of rising extremism. To be honest with you, I wish I was doing Cabaret on Broadway right now. The messages of the musical are so important, and they need to continue being said.

Let me end with one more reader question: “I loved your performance in The Good Wife. Are there any plans for you to return to a weekly television series?”

As a matter of fact, there are. There’s a long way to go, but if all goes well, I might be back on telly on CBS in the fall. The script is written by the author James Patterson, and the show is about a Yale professor of behavioral studies who used to be a CIA operative, and he gets involved in an NYPD case, working with a female police officer. He’s also a gay man, and I like that the character’s gayness is the fourth or fifth most interesting thing about him. There are so many levels of drama and social interactions that will make it really interesting. I am hoping for the best!

For more information about Alan Cumming, visit alancumming.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlanCumming.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.