ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Midtown March Medley Marches On, Plus Alan Cumming and Sheldon Harnick

By Seth Rudetsky
11 Mar 2013

Seth with Alan Cumming
Photo by Robb Johnston

During the week, I had Alan Cumming as a guest on Seth's Broadway Chatterbox, and he told me that he and Liza will indeed do a Cabaret medley at their two Town Hall performances this week! Alan told a hilarious story about running onstage during Cabaret, and banging his head backstage. Well, that part wasn't funny, but the rest of it was. He was completely loopy and out of it during Act One and pretty much passed out during intermission. He was prone on the floor and remembers his stage manager standing over him asking "Do you think you can do Act Two?"

Thankfully, they decided he needed to go to the ER. But, before he left, he was frantically scrubbing his butt cheek. Why? Because he panicked that his doctor would be Jewish and be outraged by his Swastika "tattoo"! That same night, there was a woman in the audience who was so excited to see the show that she fainted during Act One. She was also rushed to the hospital. Apparently, the nurses approached her gurney and said to her, "Remember how you were so devastated that you were missing Alan Cumming in Cabaret? Well….here he is!"

Then they opened the curtain and there was Alan with an oxygen mask on his face! Speaking of the swastika (spoiler alert coming), at the end of the show — at least in the most recent Broadway reinvention of the already groundbreaking musical — the Emcee is revealed to be Jewish and gay. Alan said that was his idea. He wanted to show that this person who was so in control really had no power by the end. But, when it played in London, he was not only Jewish and gay, he was also a communist as evidenced by his red triangle. However, when the show opened in NYC the audience had no idea what the red triangle stood for and pretty much thought it was a fashion statement, so it was removed ASAP.



I asked him about the rumor of Cabaret coming back again starring him as the Emcee and he neither confirmed nor denied. In other words, "We'll see…"

Sometimes kids will say to their parents that "we'll see" means "no," but I think in this case it's "we'll see" means "places!" The entire interview is on SethTV.com.

 Continued...