KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler: Almost Like Being in Love: An Evening of Alan Jay Lerner

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KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler

Almost Like Being in Love: An Evening of Alan Jay Lerner

The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel, CA, November 17, 2018

Reviewed by Les Traub for Cabaret Scenes


jpg” alt=”” width=”212″ height=”212″ /> KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler brilliantly put together a meticulously crafted show, complete with split-second timing on both song and dialogue; yet they managed to make it come off as casual and spontaneous. It was like a watch with a simple, elegant face that had complex mechanisms hidden in its interior. The show was devoted to the lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner, but it did not take the usual path of a tribute show structured as “and then he wrote” or a chronology of his life. Biographical references were at a minimum and, for the most part. were used to put a song in the context of his life.

The opening medley of two poignant songs about a tender relationship between two people, “One More Walk Around the Garden” (music by Burton Lane) from Carmelina, paired with “You Haven’t Changed at All” (Frederick Loewe) from The Day Before Spring, displayed the tender rapport between the two performers. They followed with extended rapid dialogue about themselves and each other, with some sentences ending with a spoken “almost like being in” and a “love” finishing the sentence musically on pitch with the song continuing. It was a clever way to establish the personal relationship between the two and convey the respect they have for each other.

A medley of “I Left My Hat in Haiti” (Lane) from Royal Wedding and “I Could Have Danced All Night” (Loewe) highlighted Sullivan’s comedic touch with a hint as to why she was without her usual hat. Her omission of the word “danced” throughout the latter gave the My Fair Lady number a whole new meaning with her sly twist. She followed with a touching “Here I’ll Stay” (Kurt Weill) from Love Life. Not only does she get to the heart of a song with her voice, she has the ability to punctuate it with every part of her face from her eyebrows on down.

Nadler’s rendition of “Too Late Now” (Lane) from Royal Wedding started off emotionally as regretful before a slow build to frustration and anger. He followed with a wonderful take on Lerner’s last song, “Garbage Isn’t What It Used to Be” (Gerard Kenny) from the unproduced musical My Man Godfrey.

The show unearthed a number of seldom-performed Lerner songs, and some of the other well-known ones were included in a final medley anchored by “You’re All the World to Me” (Lane), the title of which summed up the relationship of the pair.

The musical arrangements were all by Nadler, and the show was presented by Barbara Brussell’s Cabaret-by-the-Sea.

Les Traub

Les Traub has been covering the cabaret scene for over twenty years. He is a co-founder and President of Cabaret West and has produced cabaret shows at the Jazz Bakery, Cinegrill, Gardenia, El Portal Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse and at UCLA. He co-produced and wrote a Sammy Cahn tribute show at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. He is Chairman of the Board of Musical Theatre Guild, where he co- produced Sail Away, High Spirits, Little Mary Sunshine and Street Scene at the Alex Theatre. He has lectured on cabaret in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Connecticut. .