KT SULLIVAN and MARK NADLER
“Gershwin…Here to stay”
Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel - March 9, 2010
Mark Nadler KT Sullivan Jon Weber
Is there an underlying message being conveyed in this latest brilliance conceived by definitive Gershwin interpreter Mark Nadler with his stunning partner KT Sullivan? “Who Cares?/They All Laughed” intricately opened the evening in a duet of juxtaposition; Nadler in white jacket, Sullivan in strapless powder blue shimmering gown.
“How Long Has This Been Going On?” – actually for ten years. The original Gershwin tribute began off-Broadway as “American Rhapsody” and has now come full circle in this new, exciting and polished revue. The evening is reminiscent of the grand supper club days of yesteryear replete with the elegance deserved. Ms. Sullivan is luminous in her breathy, soft “For You, For Me, Forever More,” the lyric written by Ira after finding George’s music nine years after his death.
Relating Kitty Carlisle Hart’s words to Nadler that he reminded her of the Marx Brothers (and she didn’t like them!), was a green light to zaniness as he introduced guest artist Jon Weber, consummate Chicago jazz pianist. Together they cleverly and hilariously unraveled “The Babbit and The Bromide,” each one taking turns at the piano as the other strutted in and out of the room. Hello. How are you? How’s the folks? What’s new? As the song concluded to a meeting years later at St. Peter’s Gate, I was hoping someone might appear with wings, halo or harp in hand!
The collaboration continued with Nadler’s favorite childhood piece “Concerto in “F,”
both seated at the piano, in mutual exultory and perspiratory joy in a shortened twelve minute version, culminating in thunderous applause.
Oozing sexiness, and a new black shimmering gown, Ms. Sullivan related the tale of “Sam and Delilah” enmeshed with “A Woman Is a Sometime Thing” while Weber titillated on the ivories. Oohh la la! Not to be outdone, Mr. Nadler re-appeared in tails and spats to join Ms. Sullivan after a slow bluesy “Sweet and Low-Down” punctuating with “Shall We Dance” in a tap-vocal. At the piano for “ ‘S Wonderful,” Nadler interrupted himself inserting a dazzling “Rhapsody in Blue.” Is there anything this multi-faceted performer cannot do?
Historical facts filled additional time including George Gershwin’s passionate intimacies and long time affair with Kay Swift, and other indiscretions.
Walter Rimler’s latest book, “George Gershwin: An Intimate Portrait” brought Nadler new glimpses of knowledge about the brothers Gershwin. What did he learn? The joy in music lies below the sorrow! And joyous was the evening!
March 9, 2010