KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler

KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler
A Swell Party—RSVP Cole Porter

Oak Room

KT Sullivan, the "It" girl of cabaret, and dapper Mark Nadler are throwing A Swell Party—RSVP Cole Porter at the Algonquin's Oak Room, and, folks, lift your giggle water, it's time for beginning the beguine and dream dancing.

A swell party it is, with John Loehrke on bass and Loren Schoenberg on saxophone, and jazz ruling the rhythms. Most effective are imaginative combinations which illuminate the meaning of the songs and often take the tunes in new directions. Sullivan croons the obsessive So In Love, Schoenberg's smokin' sax behind her, and suddenly the mood switches. The lady is "so in love" that she risks her own destruction if her man doesn't Get Out of Town, Sullivan lowering her tone, her voice further darkening with the words, "I care for you much too much." While Sullivan uses her comedy and acting flair to put across her songs, she displays an expanding range which is quite emotional. She later reaches up to the 90th floor with a torchy Down In the Depths.

Mark Nadler's arrangements are vivid and creative, peaking with a Paris medley with romance, of course, as its encircling theme. It begins with Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, and includes Nadler's version of After You, Who? in French. It ends with Sullivan singing the same song in English. With Porter's Paris tunes tucked in, it is an dramatic and musically effective story sequence. A final medley takes on a nighttime theme with Schoenberg's sax solo of Begin the Beguine and both Nadler and Sullivan rushing off-stage to change into very elegant bedtime attire. Wouldn't It Be Fun? they tease, and then pensively decide it was Just One of Those Things.

This engaging show not only spotlights the familiar talents of each performer but presents Cole Porter with intriguing musical vignettes instead of bio-patter. RSVP the Oak Room for a de-lovely time with Cole Porter and the imagination of this copacetic couple.

Elizabeth Ahlfors
Cabaret Scenes
March 14, 2006