Alan Cumming is sending performers who appear at his New York cabaret and bar to a summer series in Kennebunkport called Club Cumming on the Coast. Photo by CBS Watch/Timothy Kuratek

Singer and actor Alan Cumming is sending some of his friends to Maine for the summer. And he’ll be spending a few days here too.

Cumming has organized a Maine summer residency for some of the folks who perform at his Club Cumming, a New York City cabaret/bar. The Maine venture is called Club Cumming on the Coast, with sundeck performances on Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays through Labor Day at the Kennebunkport Inn. The series started Memorial Day weekend.

Some of the scheduled performers include Alexis Michelle of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on Friday and Saturday, Cumming’s pianist, Lance Horne, and guests on June 11-12 and June 18-19, and Natalie Joy Johnson of the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots” June 25-26. Cumming and National Public Radio host Ari Shapiro, who perform a cabaret act together, will be part of the series July 16-17. They are scheduled to “make an appearance” during the shows those days, according to publicity for the series.

Alexis Michelle of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will perform at Club Cumming on the Coast at Kennebunkport Inn June 4 and 5. Photo courtesy of Alexis Michelle

The Scottish actor has appeared in dozen of TV shows and films over the last 25 years, including the CBS drama “The Good Wife.” His films include “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” “The Anniversary Party” and the “Spy Kids” adventure series.

But he’s sung throughout his life and career too, and won a Tony on Broadway as the master of ceremonies in a 1998 revival of “Cabaret.” He opened Club Cumming in Manhattan’s East Village in 2017, hosting cabaret, Broadway-style shows, dance parties, drag performances and even knitting nights. He’s also known for his philanthropy – a portion of the proceeds from Kennebunkport shows will go to the Actors Fund, which helps arts professionals impacted by the pandemic – and for his advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.

Club Cumming on the Coast shows are being produced by EJ Garlands, a performer at Club Cumming in Manhattan. Garlands said the idea to do a summer series in Maine came to Cumming because he loves coming to Maine and has a friend involved with the Kennebunkport Resort Collection hotels, which includes the Kennebunkport Inn.

For the shows, Garlands said the sundeck at Kennebunkport Inn will have an East Village vibe, complete with neon signs, a stage, lots of red velvet and other touches to make it look and feel like a club for cabaret.

Garlands is also a performer and is scheduled to do shows July 4 weekend. EJ Garlands is his stage name, which he created by fusing Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Judy Garland. He sings a mix of standards and Broadway tunes and says his on-stage persona is a mix of Adam Lambert and Billy Porter.

“Every week will be something different, but the vibe will always be welcoming and supportive,” Garlands said of the Kennebunkport shows, adding that various musicians will back up the singers.

EJ Garlands is the producer and one of the performers at Club Cumming on the Coast. Photo by MONTE PHOTEAUX

This weekend’s main performer, Alexis Michelle, is best known as a contestant “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on VH1 in 2017 and gained attention for her portrayal of Liza Minelli. She was also on TLC’s 2019 show “Dragnificient,” about four drag performers helping an engaged woman plan her wedding. Her live show features a combination of Broadway tunes and pop hits.

The shows are 6-7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Labor Day weekend, with some Sunday performances as well. There’s $100 minimum food and beverage purchase for each group that makes a reservation. Sunday shows will have no minimum.

Cumming and Shapiro will be in Maine at least one other time this year. Portland Ovations will present their show “Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret” at Merrill Auditorium in Portland on Oct. 22. The pair met when Shapiro interviewed Cumming, and they became interested in working with each other. Shapiro has a great singing voice, Cumming said, but he’s best-known for hosting a news show on the radio, not for performing. So why the collaboration?

“When Alan first suggested that we create a show together, I didn’t quite believe him. Then as we started to dig in to this collaboration, I realized how much our professional lives actually complement each other,” Shapiro wrote in a press release for his show with Cumming. “We’re both storytellers who try to help audiences better understand themselves and the world around them. This show lets us explore those shared ideals on stage together, through stories and songs.”

Cumming has also sung in Maine before, when he brought his cabaret act to Merrill in 2017.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: