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Alan Cumming

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Diplomatic Relations

By Phebe Wahl

Photography by Phillip Toledano

04.30.18

In anticipation of his Café Carlyle show this June, Alan Cumming muses on being a modern sex symbol, immigrant inclusivity and why you should drink your martini in a paper cup.

It’s going to be funny, sad, all of it—a smorgasbord,” says Alan Cumming of his upcoming cabaret show at Café Carlyle (June 19 to 30). The esteemed actor titled the show Legal Immigrant. “I became an American citizen 10 years ago,” he explains. “And it’s just about my feelings—how it feels to be an immigrant in this country. So it’s about my coming to this country [and] what it’s like to be an outsider both in your adopted homeland and your own homeland.”

The acclaimed actor and singer will perform songs and stories about life in his adopted American homeland. “It doesn’t really matter what the prefix is, whether it’s ‘legal’ or ‘illegal,’” he explains. “The way that immigrants have just been vilified has a very negative connotation.”

The multiple-award-winning bon vivant dives deep into the discourse with his signature swagger. “I think people respond to authenticity. And I think I’m an authentic person. What you see is what you get, and I say what I feel. If I’m passionate about something, I’m passionate. I think being comfortable in your own body in all aspects... is a sexy thing and an authentic thing. I think that’s really why people respond to me [positively].”

Cumming is no stranger to the Carlyle, having performed past shows there. “You forget that people have drinks and cutlery, and there’s a lot of clinking going on,” he says. “I think I’d like people to drink out of paper cups. I would go with a vodka martini—a very, very dry vodka martini straight up with a twist. They make a mean one at Café Carlyle.”