Mark Nadler

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Mark Nadler

Pangea, NYC, December 16, 2017

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Mark Nadler

“Let’s make some music!” So shouted Mark Nadler to the audience as he strode into the intimate, packed piano room at Pangea, on lower Second Avenue. Seating himself at the piano, he cast his broad smile over the crowd—and abruptly rose. He then proceeded to rearrange some of the patrons, to bring a number of women in the audience up closer to the piano. When he was satisfied with the seating, he gave another smile, leaned into the piano, hit the keys, and began an hour of close-singing, pianistics, and merriment.   

First up: “Minnie the Moocher,” that famed tale of a low-down hoochie-koocher, a number replete with appropriate “hi-de-ho’s.” He then shifted the mood to recognize that the evening marked the anniversary of Noël Coward’s birth (in 1899), a perfect excuse to launch into a medley of his work. Beginning with a sweet and moving performance of “World Weary,” Nadler then swung into the famed tale of Mrs. Wentworth-Brewster, who caroused  “In a Bar on the Piccolo Marina,” and whose adventure, in his hands, became a one-act musical play. Another Coward piece followed: a lovely, gentle performance of “If Love Were All.”

America had a songwriter of its own often referred to as “the Noël Coward of the 21st century”—the late John Wallowitch. It was his songs that Nadler next focused on—such numbers as “Bruce” (which, under the cloak of comedy, quietly showcased Mark’s superb piano work), and “I Live Alone Again,” performed both in its well-known mood of sad remembrance and then as a celebration of the singer’s new single status. Completing the Wallowitch set: his tender “This Moment,” sweetly sung.

Nadler changed pace with two pieces from the musical Chicago: “Cell Block Tango” (acting several roles in the drama), and “All That Jazz,” followed by Mack & Mabel‘s “Tap Your Troubles Away,” as he tap-danced while seated at the piano. This display prompted a shout from the audience: “You’re wonderful!” He smiled, and moved into his finale: a tender, highly applauded  “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” Which it didn’t.

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.