‘Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret’ now at The Broad Stage

By Shari Barrett

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Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid FRIENDS—Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro celebrate their entertaining friendship in the Los Angeles premiere of “Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret” at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

In 2019 Ari Shapiro, host of “All Things Considered” on NPR, created the show “Och and Oy” with Tony Award winner Alan Cumming (Cabaret, “The Good Wife”) in which they share the joy of their friendship, including similarities and differences during all the stages of their lives, both within the world of entertainment, news reporting, and learning to accept themselves exactly as they are. The result? Audience members are treated to an intimate look inside their souls as well as their lives. Last weekend, I was fortunate to be in the audience at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica for the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret’ during which the two talented entertainers were joined onstage by musical director Henry Koperski on the piano. Part scripted and part improvisation, the show was not only humorous but deeply heartfelt, especially while sharing their own trials and tribulations of coming out as well as the joy of fi nding their soul mates and being able to legally marry… but not to each other! The evening began with several familiar Broadway tunes, including “You’re the Top,” “Anything You Can Do,” “That’s Wonderful” and “Bosom Buddies,” in which lyrics were updated to refl ect Alan and Ari’s life experiences and friendship. From there, we learned of how Alan’s wedding fi fteen years ago ended with an ice-skating party, while Ari grew up in Portland as a Prince Valliant meets Nirvana underage club goer. Chance brought the two together backstage in Alan’s “Club Cumming” dressing room/cocktail lounge where the full bar was always ready to entertain guests from all walks of life after each of his Broadway performances. And of course, Alan shared tales of Scotland, his beloved homeland, as well as personal stories about stars he has worked with including Liza Minnelli, Ian McClellan, Kristin Chenowith, and Chita Riviera during a seemingly improvised game of “Celebrity Roulette.” But due to the nature of most of those stories, I cannot share any details with you here! I began to wonder just how the whole show was created, with the tour starting on the East Coast and continuing around the country. Alan Cumming shared, “I’ve got to know Ari over the last few years, both socially and when he interviewed me for a couple of events. The last time was an evening in D.C., and by the end of it I realized our chemistry and the unusual combo of us, as well as the fact that Ari has an amazing voice, would make for a really great cabaret show. And Kapow! We’re doing it! What I love most is it’s fresh and ever-changing – a collection of songs and stories compiled from our seemingly very disparate lives and personalities, but in the course of the show we fi nd out that we aren’t so different after all.” Ari Shapiro added, “When Alan fi rst suggested that we create a show together, I didn’t quite believe him. Then as we started to dig into this collaboration, I realized how much our professional lives actually complement each other. 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.” These two totally self-confi dent and utterly entertaining, multiaward- winning men certainly did just that for an exciting 90 minutes of show biz bliss, presented in association with KPCC as part of its “Public Radio Palooza” series at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica last weekend. And they continue to tour the country bringing “Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret” to appreciative audiences everywhere!

For future tour dates and tickets, as well as for Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age solo performances around the world, visit http://www. alancumming.com/events. Note Covid safety protocols are in place at each event location.

‘Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret’ now at The Broad Stage