So often when people ask me to define “cabaret” I tell them that it’s performance in a cabaret space and that anything that works for that sort of intimate space is “cabaret.” Others I know define it as “personal theater.”
However, you define it, Alan Cumming’s CD, I Bought a Blue Car Today, is a model of what next generation cabaret could look like. Cumming, best known for his Tony-winning turn as the Emcee in Cabaret, combines a punk rock sensibility tempered by an English music hall tradition filtered through work in the musical theater. The results are very personal and eclectic covering a variety of moods and emotions from the touching to the emotionally raw to the truly wacky.
He covers a range of material: Dolly Parton’s Here You Come Again, Falsetto’s What More Can I Say, and Cabaret’s Mein Herr to name but three. In fact, the final cut of the CD, Beautiful is the best for summing up the multi-dimensional aspect of the CD. It is a tender love song laced with the aggressive patios of the street. However, in the album notes we learn that it was written by a septuagenerian as a birthday tribute for his wife.
2. I Dance And Dance And Smile And Smile
3. That’s Life
4. Wig In A Box/Wicked Little Town
5. Don’t Tell Me
6. Here You Come Again/My Interpretation
7. Next To Me
8. Thinking Of You
10. Where I Want To Be
11. What More Can I Say
12. Mein Herr
13. All I know