Mark Nadler

May 22, 2019 | By | Add a Comment

Mark Nadler recently regaled the audience at the Laurie Beechman Theatre with his new show, The Old Razzle Dazzle – an Evening of Lies, Lying and Liars. Appearing dapper at the piano in a vested suit and black Bowler hat, he assured the audience that “Everything I am going to tell you tonight is a lie.” He then launched into “Blizzard of Lies” (Dave & Samantha Frishberg), celebrating all the little “white lies” accepted in today’s society (e.g., “The check is in the mail,” “The subway was delayed,” I JUST got your text”).

A medley of the lies that parents tell (a particular favorite of mine) began with Leigh Harline and Ned Washington’s “When You Wish Upon a Star,” with a decidedly funny interpretation, as Nadler interjected “What bullshit!” As the medley continued, no legendary character was spared (the Tooth Fairy, the Stork, the Easter Bunny, Santa, and even the Boogieman).

A section on grifters and liars featured “(Ya Got) Trouble” (Meredith Willson), “The Lies of Handsome Men” (Francesca Blumenthal), “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life” (Burton Lane, Alan Jay Lerner), and a marvelous pairing ofGuess Who I Saw Today” (Murray Grand, Elisse Boyd) and “Lie to Me” (Alan Menken).

The show turned political—how could it not?—with a truth-filled rendition of “The Great Pretender” (Buck Ram), in which Nadler impressed with his vocal chops, and his acting was even better. And he stopped the show with “Little Tin Box” (Harnick & Bock), providing all the voices, solo and chorus, and delivering an “at the piano” tap-dance break.

Of special note, Friedrich Holländer’s “Münchhausen” (Liar, Liar) was dramatically enveloped by two chilling quotes from Andrew Anglin writing in The Daily Stormer, March 6, 2019:

“All racism is fake. It’s a fantasy made up by the Jews to attack white people. Jews are the single wealthiest group in the country. They control the banks, the entire media and virtually every other industry in our nation. How have we allowed these filthy, foreign creatures to rule over us?”

      and

“Instead of asking how we can make reparations for slavery, colonialism and apartheid, we should, instead be asking “does human civilization actually need the black race? Is black genocide the answer and if it is, what is the best way to dispose of them?

The show ended with a compelling rendition of “I Don’t Want to Know” (Jerry Herman) and an “almost-too-close-to-home” interpretation of “Razzle Dazzle” (Kander & Ebb), which highlighted the too-many-to-list-here lies of Donald J Trump. The number was astounding, featuring an extended (and more intense) tap dance, complete with side-steps (as politicians are wont to do), turning Trump’s lies into a rhythm-accompanied rap. And as the tap break continued, with lie after uncountable lie, bringing Nadler to the point of exhaustion, the number masterfully illustrated the exhaustion of a nation on the brink of democratic demise. It was both exhilarating and saddening to watch, for all the right reasons.

I have seen Mark Nadler perform in many of his different cabaret roles—as music director, director, duet partner, and soloist. In each of these he has always been masterful. And to be sure, it takes supreme talent and confidence to share the stage with Nadler, in whatever role he assumes. But nowhere are his talent and confidence more evident than when he performs as a soloist on stage. Fully in his element, whether playing the piano, in front or it, and even sometimes on top of it, Mark Nadler is a force to be reckoned with. And, as is often the case where he is concerned, this show is not to be missed.

The Old Razzle Dazzle
Laurie Beechman Theatre – May 9, June 8

Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

David Sabella enjoys a successful and varied career. As a performer, he's appeared on- and off Broadway—most notably in the 1996 revival of "Chicago"—and in cabaret; in 2018 he received the Outstanding Performer in a Lead Role award for his work in "The Phillie Trilogy" at the Fresh Fruit Festival. In classical music, he was a winner of the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition and the New York Oratorio Society Competition, and he has performed leading roles throughout the US and abroad. As an educator, he served as President of the New York Singing Teachers Association (2008-2014) and has been published in the Association's journal, and he has served on the faculty of several prestigious universities. He's the author of the forthcoming "So You Want to Sing Cabaret" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).

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