By William Wolf
The combination of KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler turns out to be an even more dynamic duo than their previous teaming in their new ”Gershwin…Here to Stay” show sizzling in the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel (March 9-April 10, 2010). They are great with George and Ira Gershwin, and Nadler says that the Gershwin legacy is so rich that they are doing an “almost entirely” new show than what they have done with Gershwin before.
What’s especially striking about their turn this time around is that they have struck the perfect balance between their respective talents, allowing plenty of time for each to shine solo as well as dazzling an audience with their togetherness. The result overall is delightful, and they also take the occasion to spotlight guest artist Jon Weber, who teams with Nadler at the piano for a terrific “Concerto in F.”
A slimmed down Sullivan looks ravishing when she appears in a pale blue strapless gown, and just as gorgeous when changed later into her off-the-shoulder black number. Her voice, clear and warm, caresses Gershwin ballads with tenderness. Nadler, exuberant as ever, in addition to his singing and fancy work at the keyboard does a bit of tap dancing on a tiny platform to “Shall we Dance?”
Nadler also dispenses interesting information when he sings “Embraceable You” and explains why George Gershwin dared to go against the rule of not breaking up a word, but uses 8th rests for certain words to illustrate the beating of a heart.
Sullivan gives impressive renditions of “Who Cares?,” “They All Laughed,” and “For You, For Me, Forever More.” She injects deep feeling into “A Woman is a Sometime Thing” (lyrics by DuBose Heyward), and triumphs with a medley of “Somebody Loves Me,” “Do It Again,” and “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise.”
When she and Nadler team, they pair enthusiastically, as in their encore number “Love is Here to Stay ” (Music to Verse: Vernon Duke). Along the way the program also highlights the offbeat Gershwin numbers “My Little Ducky” (Lyrics by B. G. DeSylva) and “The Babbit and the Bromide.”
“Gershwin…Here to Stay” is a generous show with Sullivan and Nadler giving their all in top form. It’s brilliant, fun-filled cabaret entertainment. At the Oak Room, Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street. For reservations phone: 212-419-9331 or go to firstname.lastname@example.org.