Mark Nadler: Cole Porter After Dark

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Mark Nadler

Cole Porter After Dark

Beach Café, NYC, July 27, 2017

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Mark Nadler
Photo: Lou Montesano

He’s got that zing!—that certain thing!—That makes the rafters at Beaches ring! He’s got that thing!

“He” is the one and only Mark Nadler, and the rafters are those at the new cabaret club, Beach Café, which is books, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The lyrics above are borrowed (sort of) from those of Cole Porter, whose songs Nadler performed—with his trademark energy, enthusiasm,  and masterful piano touch—for the new club’s opening evening at the end of July.

Dapper in an “I’m here at home” smoking jacket, he offered a dozen-plus Porter favorites while also recounting numerous aspects of the songwriter’s life.

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Opening songs included “Let’s Misbehave,” “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)” (the latter a prime example of Porter’s list songs), and “You Do Something to Me,” with a jump to Kiss Me, Kate’s “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” Nadler’s talent as a ragtime pianist shone with “You’re the Top,” while “Wake Up and Dream” revealed the softer side of both Nadler and Porter.

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A medley of romantic songs —“In the Still of the Night,” “What Is This Thing Called Love?

,” “Easy to Love” and “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”—displayed (as Nadler pointed out) ”the undercurrent of unrequited passion packed into many of Porter’s works.”

“Begin the Beguine,” in Nadler’s hands, took on a Caribbean flavor, while his “Night and Day,” at a slightly speedy pace, added freshness to the familiar.

Nadler’s narrative and singing throughout the evening, including a recap of Porter’s devastating horseback accident that left him crippled, illuminated both the personal and professional lives of one of the nation’s greatest writers of popular song. It also highlighted—if it were ever needed—the research and respect, as well as the musicianship and grand entertainment, that Mark Nadler brings to his shows. These qualities have now found a new home at the new Beach Café.

Peter Haas

Writer, editor, lyricist and banjo plunker, Peter Haas has been contributing features and performance reviews for Cabaret Scenes since the magazine’s infancy. As a young folk-singer, he co-starred on Channel 13’s first children’s series, Once Upon a Day; wrote scripts, lyrics and performed on Pickwick Records’ children’s albums, and co-starred on the folk album, All Day Singing. In a corporate career, Peter managed editorial functions for CBS Records and McGraw-Hill, and today writes for a stable of business magazines. An ASCAP Award-winning lyricist, his work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room and other fine saloons.