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Alan Cumming to host Boston Conservatory anniversary gala

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee is turning 150 years old this year, and to mark the milestone, Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming will host a gala celebration at Symphony Hall on May 9.

Founded by Julius Eichberg in 1867, it is billed as the oldest performing arts conservatory of its kind in the nation. Notable alumni include two-time Grammy-winning opera singer Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, TV star Katharine McPhee of the CBS drama “Scorpion,” and Ebony Williams, a Roxbury native who’s toured as a dancer with pop star Beyoncé.

The 150th anniversary gala will feature a musical tribute to the Boston Conservatory’s history, a cocktail reception, dinner, and performances by students. Cumming will serve as emcee and sing some songs, and the Conservatory will award him an honorary doctorate.

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Cumming is looking forward to the event. He said coming to Boston is like “going home for Thanksgiving.”

“I always have fun when I’m in Boston,” said Cumming, in a telephone interview. “I like how it’s still quite formal, but the people are always game for letting go.”

When he’s in town, Cumming has been known to frequent the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge and he enjoys vegan food at his favorite restaurant in Chinatown. It turns out the Scottish star has been vegan for years. What made him decide to forgo meat and dairy products? “Mike Tyson,” he said, without missing a beat. “I was so bored with everything being drenched in cheese. I said, if Mike Tyson can do it, I can do it.”

Cumming swears by his Veggetti — a kitchen appliance that makes spaghetti out of zucchini, squash, and other vegetables. When I randomly ask Cumming what three things he would take with him if he were stranded alone on an island, his Veggetti is one of them. (He would also bring along his two dogs, Jerry and Lala, and a music streaming service like Spotify, so he could listen to whatever music he wants.)

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And what if he could see any artist perform live — anyone at all — who would he want to see in concert? “Kate Bush,” he answers. Cumming has been a fan of hers for decades, and he missed her the last time she performed live in London. He wishes he’d been able to go.

But given his busy schedule, one can understand. The longtime host of WGBH’s “Masterpiece Mystery” series has been staying busy. He stars in the CBS drama pilot “Instinct,” and “After Louie,” a new feature film by Vincent Gagliostro. We’ll also see him in “Battle of the Sexes,” a movie about the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, which is slated hit theaters in September and stars Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Elisabeth Shue, and Sarah Silverman. Meanwhile, in addition to his work on the stage and screen, Cumming is also getting ready to take over one of his favorite bars in the East Village. His new nightspot will be called Club Cumming, and it’s slated to open in September. Cumming said it will be a “fun, anything-can-happen, open to everyone, exciting” kind of place.

Which sounds great to us. (And got us thinking . . . Kate Bush, if you’re reading this, perhaps you can perform at the opening?)