Mark Nadler Full of Surprises at Pangea
For those of us who have attended Nadler cabaret for years, watching the evolution from chaotic to calm and knowing (he’s an entertainer’s entertainer in the true meaning of the word and nothing less than No. 1 in my book) but I’m just commenting on the fact that amidst the shtick and sometimes run amuck, is a man of deep emotional substance shining brightly with wonderful stories to tell – and he does so throughout his riveting performance in the little back room boite known as Pangea.
After moving the piano to a suitable location and reseating some of the guests in the process, he decides what Nadler-isms he’s going to present to his eager audience of fans. A theme? No! The decision is made to first give tribute to some of New York City’s fine songwriters and so it begins with John Forster’s double entendre “Entering Marion” with its witty lyrical descriptions (oh my!) that immediately gets the audience chuckling. Some Passover jokes ensue regarding Irving Berlin, a Jew, who wrote “White Christmas” but nothing for Passover. And then it’s back to celebrating another of New York’s popular songwriters, Francesca Blumenthal, an ultimate storyteller, with a wistful ballad of love here and gone “ (Some People Are Like) Fireflies ” and the masterful comic “Queens” (where size fives become eighteens).
Continuing in that genre, is a tribute to the great John Wallowitch, quintessential New York songwriter (died in 2007) with opposing perspectives on “I Live Alone Again” – the fear and loneliness of one’s significant other having left, juxtaposed with another reality of delight at now being single. Talk about great storytellers – Wallowitch and Nadler!
And then there’s the soft, dreamy side of Mark Nadler of an almost whispered, beautiful “The Way You Look Tonight” soon forgotten as he moves on to Wallowitch’s “Das Mad Song” replete with Nadler-ism interpretations of Brecht-Weill’s “Bilbao Song” and “Mack the Knife” and a long tall tale to accompany them.
Not to be forgotten, Mark Nadler is a man of many talents, as he quietly and quickly slips on his tap shoes to “Slap That Bass” and unleashes piano madness to close the evening because it’s “Too Darn Hot.”
As Mark Nadler so succinctly puts it, he’s appearing at Pangea “minstrel cycle, one time a month” – two shows on select Saturday evenings thru the end of 2016. But don’t expect the same show . . . it’s whatever pleases him at the moment.
My perspective: He’s got that ultimate Pizzazz and not to be missed!