Peter Cumins gets ready for ‘There is Nothin’ Like a Dame’

For his new cabaret show There is Nothin’ Like a Dame Peter Cumins decided to focus on the amazing women of the world of musical theatre. Working out which stars of the stage to pay homage to though was a difficult task.

“It was really difficult. I had to do this massive brainstorm, and as you can imagine as a gay man that works in musical theatre and has grown up being obsessed with musical theater, it was very difficult to narrow it down.

“People that do make the cut, we’ve obviously got Julie Andrews, we’ve got Patti LuPone, we’ve got Idina Menzel, for a bit of something a bit more current. And we’ve got Judi Dench and Elaine Paige, so it’s actually more a tribute to the older females.”

Cumins agrees that when it comes to British acting legend Judi Dench her work is musical theatre is often over shadowed by her dramatic work on stage and in film, but Cumins notes her extensive and ground breaking work in the genre including appearances in Cabaret,  A Little Night Music, and being cast as Grizabela in Cats. Tragically Dench had to pull out of the debut theatrical production, passing the role to Elaine Paige.

Asked what his favourite musical is, Cumins has quite a list.

“I think it would probably be Phantom of the Opera, because I was born in the 1980’s. So obviously that was the time of the mega-musical, these Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh shows, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera.

“I grew up listening to all of those CDs, and those are the best of you know, Broadway compilation albums that had all of those songs on them. That’s where my love for Patti LuPone and Elaine Paige come into play because they were a huge part of my formative years listening to those musical theatre soundtracks.” Cumins said.

Part of the inspiration for the show is allowing Cumins to sing all the songs he’ll probably never get to perform on stage within the musical, he argues that the leading ladies of musical theatre actually get all the best songs.

“This is also an incredibly self indulgent show, because in my career, as as a male performer in musical theatre, we don’t really get great songs. We don’t have a lot of shows the plot is focused around us.”

‘It’s my opportunity to finally get to sing the songs. Obviously, I’ve sung them all my life in the privacy of my own home.” Cumins said.

Peter Cumins’ There is Nothin’ Like a Dame is on 23-24 June at His Majesty’s Theatre. The show is part of the Perth International Cabaret Festival running from 18-26 June. Tickets are on sale now

Graeme Watson 

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