Nov. 14: Mark Nadler

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Mark Nadler

November 14 at 8:00 pm

Copa Palm Springs
244 E Amado Rd, Palm Springs, CA

Mark-Nadler-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Here’s Michael Miyazaki’s review of Nark’s recent show in Baltimore:

Mark Nadler opened his show at Germano’s with a version of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” that distilled everything that was to come in the evening: a very personal take on a lyric; a strong connection to his audience; wit, humor, and pathos; and a piano accompaniment that went from minimalist to kitchen sink. Before he closed with another Gershwin number, a “’S Wonderful”/”Rhapsody in Blue” medley, he veered through an eclectic program featuring doses of Cole Porter, John Wallowitch, and Irving Berlin.

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As Nadler began, he noted that although he had previously appeared with the Baltimore Symphony, “this is my first opportunity to have a whole evening with nothing but me” in Baltimore.

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Contradicting that, Nadler made his show very much about his audience. The performance really began over the pre-show dinner as he chatted up every party in the room; he then seamlessly (without written notes) incorporated every woman’s name into his rendition of “You’ve Got That Thing.” He performed two Larry Kerchner songs, including The Wiz‘s “Home” [a number he ghost-wrote] because Kerchner was in the audience. And he convinced Anita Gillette (attending the show with family) to recount memories of Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin and join him in a duet of “You’re Just in Love.

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Nadler is a charming raconteur providing context and anecdotes about his songs that give focus to his interpretations of the material. It will be hard to ever hear Porter’s “In the Still of the Night” again without thinking about his description of sleeping arrangements in Porter’s Venetian palazzo.

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As a singer/pianist, Nadler also has the ability to smoothly transition from patter to song and to create musical accompaniments that perfectly support his interpretations.

It was especially delightful to get his tribute to that other singer/raconteur/pianist, John Wallowitch. He scored effortlessly with the comedy of Wallowitch’s “Cosmetic Surgery” and “Threepenny Things” (including the dialogue describing the imagined provenance of the song), but truly shined when connecting to “Come a Little Closer” with heartfelt simplicity.

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Nadler used the living-room vibe of Germano’s to make his audience feel that they had experienced a unique, personal experience – truly the goal of cabaret. When he sang the line “Human spirits need to be leavened by some levity” during his encore of “Laughing Matters” by Dick Gallagher and Baltimore native Mark Waldrop in his encore, it tied the evening up in a lovely bow (followed by his energetic bow) and standing ovation.

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