Actor and comedian Alan Cumming brings his cabaret show, Legal Immigrant, to the Granada Theatre on Thursday, focused on bringing awareness to immigration through hilarity.
Legal Immigrant with Alan Cumming
The Granada Theatre
Thursday, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $49-$129 (general public); $20 (UCSB students)
Info: 893-3535; https://artsandlectures.ucsb.edu/
As an outspoken social and animal activist, Alan Cumming has seen how far arguing takes you . . .
Pretty much nowhere.
So the award-winning actor and comedian has committed himself to finding a way to trade the hurt of conflict in for the hurt of belly laughter.
As Mr. Cumming explains it, laughter opens the brain to different perspectives, no matter the side of the fence you sit on.
“If you’re laughing at something, you’re actually understanding it,” Mr. Cumming told the News-Press from his adopted hometown of New York City. “To change people’s minds, if you’re trying to get people to see a different viewpoint, maligning them or harassing them is totally not going to let them see your perspective.”
Mr. Cumming will bring his critically-acclaimed cabaret show, “Legal Immigrant,” to the Granada Theatre Thursday, looking to tell his own story of immigration in the show’s Santa Barbara premiere.
He readily admits that his journey has been a simple one, with a role on Broadway bringing him here from London — built-in work before he ever stepped permanent foot in the U.S.
“I have great privilege, but also keep remembering that I can give a hand out to people and highlight injustices that don’t have that,” said Mr. Cumming, a native of Scotland where he trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Known for his eclectic take on Emcee in Broadway’s “Cabaret,” Mr. Cumming is also the host of PBS’ uber-popular Masterpiece Mystery.
Mr. Cumming has made a name for himself by not pigeon-holing himself, having appeared in a music video with Jay-Z, voiced a Smurf, played leading roles in TV’s “The Good Wife” and “Instinct,” while still finding time to publish a children’s book in 2017 called “The Adventures of Honey and Leon” — his fifth book overall, including a bestselling memoir.
Oh, and he’s also designed a fragrance and operates a night club on E 6th St. in New York called Club Cumming.
“I like what I do, I’m a passionate person,” Mr. Cumming said.
But he truly has a love affair with cabaret.
“Cabaret was born as a range of genres and emotions and content, that’s something that I really like doing shows like this,” said Mr. Cumming, who has played everything from God, the Devil, Hitler, the Pope and a goat opposite Sean Connery.
Performing his cabaret shows allows Mr. Cumming to be in his element, with his previous tour, “Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs,” selling out huge venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
With “Legal Immigrant,” Mr. Cumming will showcase songs from Adele, Pink and Marlene Dietrich, while also working with composers such as Cole Porter and Schubert. Blending these musical choices allows Mr. Cumming to reflect on his 10 years as an American citizen, promising “a true old-fashioned cabaret, a smorgasbord of genres, styles and tales; laughter, tears and, of course, provocation!”
“When I was designing this show, I realized how many songs were written by immigrants,” Mr. Cumming said. “I want to make a celebration of immigration.”
And if you laugh while learning, all the better.