Alan Cumming inspires with ‘Sappy Songs’ | ParkRecord.com

Alan Cumming inspires with ‘Sappy Songs’

Tony-winning actor performed Saturday

A few hours before the ball dropped on the New Year, actor and singer Alan Cumming took an Eccles Center audience on an intimate tour of his life, career, dreams and musings.

Cumming, known for his roles in CBS's "The Good Wife" and the James Bond film "Goldeneye," captivated the audience from the get go during his uncensored "Sappy Songs" concert when he casually walked on stage and covered Annie Lennox's anthemic "Why."

Backed by a trio consisting of pianist and music director Lance Horne, cellist Eleanor Norton and drummer Chris Jago, Cumming told stories about his Tony Award-winning run in "Cabaret," as well as his relationship with his abusive father, which was highlighted by his cover of "Dinner at Eight," a song his friend Rufus Wainwright had written for his father Loudon Wainwright III.

Cumming peeled back the curtains and gave the audience a generous peek at his grandfather's private battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and emphasized that segment with an emotional rendition of Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon."

Those heavy moments were balanced with Cumming's impish smile and quirky tales of ex lovers, unfortunate tattoos and Miley Cyrus, which he paid tribute to in a rousing performance of her song "The Climb."

Cumming showed another side of his versatility with Jean Renoir's "La Caplainte de la Butte," which he sang entirely in French, and then surprised the audience with a cover of Avril Lavigne's "Complicated."

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Another lighthearted segment of the show, which was produced by the Park City Institute, came when Cumming talked of his idol Liza Minelli and how instrumental she was in different facets of his career, including the inspiring talk she gave him to start the "Sappy Songs" show that first premiered at New York's legendary Cafe Carlyle in 2015.

He also performed a tongue-in-cheek mashup of Stephen Sondheim songs that he called, with a mischievous smile, "No One Is Alive While I'm Around."

Speaking of mashups, Cumming and the band combined songs from Adele, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry in a piece whimsically titled "Someone Like the Edge of Firework."

Cumming's personable narratives were peppered with the right amount of salty words and innuendo in tasteful ways that not only inspired his audience, but gave a sense of optimism for the new year.

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