WALL STREET JOURNAL
DECEMBER 9, 2011
Some Swinging Stalwarts and Surprises
Mark Nadler: Crazy 1961
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 W. 42nd St., (212) 695-6909
When is a one-man show a three-ring circus? "Cabaret" doesn't only imply Julie Wilson in her suave feather boas or Mabel Mercer enthroned on her singing stool: Pianist-singer Mark Nadler shows how the Great American Songbook can be reanimated with the frenetic, verbal-physical energy of Danny Kaye and the Ritz Brothers. In "Crazy 1961," he brings his explosive style to bear on the hit songs from the year of his birth, with an emphasis on show tunes (including two, coincidentally, titled "Once in a Lifetime") from hits and flops alike. "I Believe in You" shows that the full-speed-ahead funnyman does indeed have a tender and sensitive side, but the exuberant high point is his medley of 50 pop hits from that year, in which he breathlessly traverses the musical map from the Brill Building to tuxedo folkabilly to Anthony Newley's British invasion to Elvis's Italianisms.