Monday, November 3, 2014

LIFE IS A CABARET



With his Scottish brogue and twinkle in his eye, you will probably recognize the actor Alan Cummings. He hosts PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery and stars, with an American accent, as Eli Gold on the TV series The Good Wife. But he is probably best known for his role on Broadway as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub in the musical Cabaret

Cummings’ new memoir Not My Father’s Son is on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library. He writes about his difficult childhood and abusive father and how acting was his ticket to freedom. Heartbreaking and funny, the book is more than just a celebrity puff piece, but a look at breaking the chains of shame in order to live a full life. 

Wilkomen. Bienvenue. Welcome. Those are the words to the opening number that Cumming’s character sings in Cabaret. We all remember that, but do we remember that the play is taken from Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories? The young Brit Isherwood went to Germany in the 1931 and witnessed the open lifestyles and often wild Berlin nightlife against the background of the Nazis coming to power. One of the two novellas in Berlin Stories became the dramatic play called I Am a Camera, which was then made into the musical Cabaret. Check out the DVD of the very popular movie Cabaret, made in 1972. If you want to sing the songs, the Library also owns the original book and lyrics of the Broadway production, written by John Kander. 



Cabaret has a long history of awards. It won the 1966 Tony for best musical and Alan Cummings won the Tony for best actor in the 1998 revival. The movie won 8 Academy Awards, but did not win Best Picture.

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