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Alan Cumming bringing ‘Sappy Songs’ to the Hamptons

Alan Cumming brings his

Alan Cumming brings his "Sappy Songs" concert to Westhampton Beach Saturday. Photo Credit: Gareth Easton Photography

Alan Cumming has conquered his fear of cabaret. We don’t mean capital-C “Cabaret.” The androgynous role of the Emcee in the 1998 Broadway revival fit him to a T, winning him a best-actor Tony and a 2014 reprise.

“I was terrified at the prospect of singing without the veil of character,” he said of lower-c cabaret in an interview before launching “Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Love Songs,” now on a tour that’s taken him back to his native Scotland and brings him to Westhampton Beach Saturday night for his Hamptons debut. Cumming, who lives in Manhattan with his husband, Grant Shaffer, and their dogs, Jerry and Lala, has played Fire Island and Port Washington, where his one-night “Sappy Songs” performance sold out in April.

We spoke to him by phone from a dog park as his mutts barked for attention.

TEAR-JERKER

“Have a hankie ready,” he warned at last year’s “Sappy Songs” premiere at Cafe Carlyle.

Perhaps writing his searing 2014 memoir, “Not My Father’s Son,” helped him overcome his reticence in laying bare his true self onstage.

“I didn’t write it to be cathartic,” he says. “But that was the effect.”

In the book he reveals that his father was emotionally and physically abusive, often telling Alan and his older brother, Tom, that they weren’t his sons. The brothers took DNA tests that proved they were, indeed, his biological children. Among his “Sappy Songs” is Rufus Wainwright’s “Dinner at 8,” reflecting Wainwright’s own father-son strife with papa Loudon.

Cumming doesn’t ignore his theater career in the show — there’s a song from “The Threepenny Opera,” in which he played Mac the Knife in 2006. Nor has he lost his sense of humor, poking fun at Stephen Sondheim in “No One Is Alive While I’m Around.”

“I’m more like a vaudevillian,” he says, when asked if he thinks of himself as not-your-usual cabaret performer in that most of them, including Charles Busch, are chanteuses.

IMAGINATION THAT

When asked if childhood trauma contributed to his artistry, Cumming demurs at first, saying, “All you really need is imagination.” Well, talent doesn’t hurt. But then he adds, “As an actor it helps. I have somewhere to go when I need to dig deep for an emotional scene.”

It took a lot of digging to pull off the feat of playing every role in “Macbeth” on Broadway in 2013. But for those who know him only as Eli Gold in the just-concluded CBS series “The Good Wife,” it may come as a revelation that he sings for his supper these days.

The “Sappy Songs” tour continues through next spring. He takes time away to perform “Max and Alan” at the Metropolitan Museum on Dec. 10, a musical work Cumming created drawing on his experience as an émigré to New York — he’s now a dual U.S.-U.K. citizen — by channeling Max Beckmann, the German artist denounced as “degenerate” by the Nazis. Cumming’s Emcee knows something about that, too.

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