KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler



Mark Nadler and K.T. Sullivan bring humor and flash to clever cabarets                    by William R. Wood April 28, 2008

KALAMAZOO -- Cabaret music isn't known to be sizzling but it glows red hot in the hands of Mark Nadler and           KT Sullivan, who performed two shows at Western Michigan University's Gilmore Theatre Complex Sunday.

The pair's first 75-minute set was filled with great theatricality, loads of ribald humor and clever piano work. Nadler and Sullivan are to sing again at 4 p.m. today at the Gilmore Complex.

The over-the-top Nadler was especially a hoot. Take Liberace, Chico Marx and Jerry Lee Lewis, squeeze them into a tall guy with a protruding proboscis and flashing grin, and you have Nadler who came to town ready to clown. He showed up with pink socks. He tap-danced while playing the piano and leaped to the floor and played dead in another gag.

During one applause, Nadler jumped in a front row chair and applauded Sullivan as if he were a patron. Jokes poured out of the man in an endless stream.
"This is the 12-bar blues I'm playing here," he said as he stood at the piano and played with his left hand. "I could only find 10 bars in Kalamazoo that were open, so I'll fake the rest."

And he took the concept of multi-tasking to a new level. He sang Gershwin's "'S Wonderful,"played an engaging version of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," then combined the two pieces by singing the melody of the first while he played the piano lines of the second. The piece was a wonder to behold.

Nadler and Sullivan, fixtures in the New York piano club set, squeezed a lot into their performance and ran through songs by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and others who make up the American songbook. Sullivan and Nadler sang together during some portions of the show and Nadler sang and played alone during other portions.

The show dragged during one Cole Porter medley, but other than that it was extremely engaging as Nadler and Sullivan used strong dynamics and grand leaps in mood to keep things lively -- and Sullivan left one older gentleman red-faced as she sat in his lap while singing Rodgers and Hammerstein's "I'm Just A Girl Who Cain't Say No."