Showing posts with label cabaret. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cabaret. Show all posts

Sunday 11 September 2016

Alan Cumming Sang 'Sappy Songs' at the Hub

The Seductive charmer!

Cumming has come out the other side – and used the tragedies as his strength.
 The Edinburgh Hub venue was set for a Late night Cabaret show with soft lights and drinks tables encircling the stage. The consummate performer, his first dramatic song Somewhere Only We know and Annie Lennox’s Why, set the tone for an evening of high drama with strong passions and a voice of character, sincerity and depth. His story ranged from deep tragedy to comedy relief, good humour and the fun of being on stage.

His song choices expressed the rich variety of his life, from showbiz nights with Liza Minnelli to his drama school days in Glasgow.  Some songs were from our most famous, inspired divas, others were from artistic and less well known men!

 He sang Miley Cyrus song The Climb, Adele’s Someone Like You, Goodnight Saigon, Mother Glasgow and other musical numbers. Also Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory, Kate Perry’s Firework. He said they were actually all one song!  He was well accompanied by a 3-piece band, with cello, piano and drums.

He sang Michael Marra’s song, Mother Glasgow, before which he explained Scottish words to his diverse audience. He also sang a French and a German song

Interspersed with his songs, were tales of his show biz life – of growing up in Aberfeldy, of Glasgow and his rocky family life.
He spoke of his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, who had been a war hero, suffered PTSD disorder and died tragically in  the Caribbean, where he had a street named after him. He told fondly of these memories and said he felt he owed a great deal to his mother and to her father.

In 2015 he wrote a moving autobiography entitled, Not My Father’s Son, and tonight the pain of his bullying father was expressed with torn emotions in the Billy Joel song, Dinner at Eight.
Cumming spoke of how he began performing in Musselburgh. Thirty two years ago he played Victor and Barry show at the Fringe when he was a drama student ;Of The Café Royal NY and the Cabaret Show Broadway and of Studio 54 in1998.

He sang with drama, passions, full on emotion and sincerity, even Scottish shyness at times, with his neon sign CLUB CUMMING flashing behind him. Each song told its own vivid story. Liza told him to think of ‘every song as a play', and to have both show business and authenticity' - no mean feat. When he performed 8 shows a week he started Club Cumming in his dressing room and that is where we were tonight at those after show parties.

So where was the song for his mother? In the last song about all those special ladies and also all through the set perhaps? He spoke and sang of the importance of how we all connect – his tattoo says ONLY CONNECT, from the book Howards End. He sang for all the broken souls. 
Cumming at Edinburgh book festival

Sunday 15 December 2013

My Favourite Musicals

I went to see The Lion King musical  by Elton John & Tim Rice) recently, which was very good and great effects and all.  I was asked what my favourite ever musical is. I answered Westside Story (composed by Leonard Bernstein) which I do love for its energy and songs. But later I thought my top musical may be Cabaret (composed by John Kander)  I saw the film of the Cabaret musical in 1972.

I grew up playing musicals on piano – from The Mikado, South Pacific to the Sound of Music – which I loved to sing.  Most of these musicals were composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. 
Gilbert and Sullivan wrote some of the best musicals which were great fun to play and which I saw on stage several times. 
In more recent times the biggest stage musicals have been composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I saw The Phantom of the Opera in Edinburgh’s playhouse which was a top rate musical with wonderful songs.  

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to The New York Times, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
Richard Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music down to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal. Rodgers was the first person to win the top show business awards in television, recording, movies and Broadway—an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony – an EGOT.
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.  Gilbert, who wrote the words, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds for these operas where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion—fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, and pirates turn out to be noblemen who have gone wrong. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber, is a British composer and impresario of musical theatre.  Several of his musicals have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals and he has won 7 Tony Awards, 3 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, 14 Ivor Novello Awards, 7 Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. Several of his songs have been widely recorded and were hits outside of their parent musicals, notably "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and "You Must Love Me" from Evita, "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and "Memory" from Cats