Review: Mark Nadler

Mark Nadler Addicted

Cabaret star Mark Nadler is one of the greatest showmen of our time, capable of leaping from floor to piano bench, tap-dancing madly, singing and keeping steady eye contact with the audience – all this while playing a complex passage on the piano without even glancing at the keys. His last few shows have been a little more subtle, but in his latest “Addicted to the Spotlight”, the taps shoes are on and all bets are off.

In this show, Nadler interweaves stories from his more than four decades in show business with those of two other guys who were addicted to the spotlight — Al Jolson and Danny Kaye. The songs in this act are all numbers that those two supreme show-offs did.

In addition to the hoofing, he plays and sings with virtuosic abandon, in a show constructed with the passionate intelligence I’ve come to expect from him. The result is pretty stunning. There are always many layers in a Mark Nadler show, ranging from the obvious to unspoken subtext, which gives an “oomph” far, far beyond your typical cabaret show.

The show evolves into a complex portrait of Nadler, Kaye and Jolson, capturing both the bright joys and dark nights that a life devoted to show business brings. There are occassional moments that flirt with schmaltzy sentiment, perhaps not inappropriate in a show about performers who express themselves in bold strokes. Even with that, this is as giddily entertaining – and breathtakingly smart – as cabaret gets. Highly recommended.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

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