Perry Brass: The Manly Pursuit of Desire: Life Is A Show, Old Chum!

July 8, 2014 6:23 PM

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Perry Brass: The Manly Pursuit of Desire: Life Is A Show, Old Chum!

I went to see Alan Cumming in Cabaret at the Roundabout Theater Company's venture at Studio 54 last night [July 3; Michelle Williams was unfortunately absent for this performance]. Cumming was spectacular--as ever. He is one of the real divas of our era, and it always makes me wonder why we have no male term for "diva" since the other divas of this era are also very much men, and I don't mean simply Neal Patrick Harris, but also Hugh Jackman and of course Mandy Patinkin, and I could even include Justin Vivian Bond, who bridges both genders. Frankly, I'd love to see Cumming and Patinkin in one show: pure stratospheric testosterone-powered overdrive. The most beautiful thing about Allan Cumming is that though he has huge egoism, that is, as an artist, he is very invested in himself, he's without an ounce of hammyness. Inside he's a self-effacing Scotsman with still enough self to go around the vast spaces of Studio 54, plus Yankee Stadium if necessary.

What seeing Cabaret always does is bring me back to Christopher Isherwood. After all I am a writer, and for decades Isherwood, like many of his fellow English writers (J. R. Ackerley, V. S. Pritchett--why do they always have to have two initials for a first name?) was really a writer's writer. Isher...

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