Alan Cumming’s Outsider Cabaret

“I hope you don’t mind — I’ll have a coterie of boys coming in all night,” Alan Cumming joked as he sidled into a banquette at an Upper West Side wine bar last week. A director had messaged him on Instagram, hoping to get Mr. Cumming to act in his short film, and they’d agreed to meet directly after this interview.

Already that day, the 59-year-old Scottish actor had filmed a television appearance in the Meatpacking District, posed for two photo sessions and gone for a swim. Later, he was seeing the comedian Alex Edelman’s one-man show at the Beacon Theater before driving up to Boston the next day to perform his cabaret, “Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age.”

The show, which he’s been touring since 2021, made its New York premiere earlier that week at Studio 54. Mr. Cumming knows the space well; he reprised his role in the musical “Cabaret” there in 2014, 16 years after winning his first Tony Award for the risqué lead performance. In it, he blends show tunes, anecdotes and Peggy Lee standards, all in the name of exploring and demystifying aging.

“I think what I love about my career is that I sort of bombarded people in the early ’90s through the early 2000s with these magical queer figures,” he said. “I guess I still do. They just got older.”

Mr. Cumming performing his cabaret, “Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age,” at Studio 54 in New York.Credit…Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The performance felt like a homecoming — friends like Kristin Chenoweth, Billie Jean King, Michael Kors and Jane Krakowski were in attendance — but Mr. Cumming has long been a city institution, perhaps best cemented with the opening of his namesake East Village speakeasy, Club Cumming, almost seven years ago.

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