Mark Nadler is a longtime veteran of New York's cabaret scene and now he brings his signature brand of entertainment to cabaret's new hot spot 54 Below. His new show, I'm a Stranger Here Myself (running Sundays through November 11), includes songs by German and French songwriters who composed during the years of the Weimar Republic. Nadler uses this material to examine that troubled chapter of European history. Below, he dishes on "verboten" tunes and the song that led to a steamy encounter at the piano.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
Peter, Paul and Mary performing a live concert—I don't remember the name of the album, but Peter Yarrow was hysterical and I LOVED hearing the audience's reaction to their concert!
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
Lena Horne: the Lady and Her Music.
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
"J'attends Un Navire," a song that Kurt Weill wrote with Jacques Deval while he was in France. It's from a musical called Marie Galante and became a theme song for the French Resistance movement during World War II. It's absolutely one of the most beautiful and stirring songs I've ever sung!
If you could invite any performer onstage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
Bette Midler. Can you help me get her there?
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you could collaborate with?
Well, I certainly would have loved to have had Lotte Lenya's involvement with this show!
What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
The original cast recording of Ain't Misbehavin'.
What’s your favorite love song?
There are so many that I adore, it really would be impossible to choose. I once had a very romantic encounter, very, VERY late at night when a gorgeous guy sat next to me on the piano bench and I whispered the song "This Time the Dream's On Me" for him. That turned out rather well...
What song makes you feel sexy?
There's a song in my current show called "Oh, Just Suppose" about two guys surreptitiously coming on to each other at a time when that was positively verboten! Very sexy stuff!
What is your favorite workout track?
My workout is Bikram Yoga. No music allowed. When I used to run, there was a Mozart Divertimento that would get me going.
What’s the best hidden gem in on your iPod?
Dawn Hampton singing...well, ANYTHING!
See Mark Nadler's I'm a Stranger Here Myself at 54 Below Sundays through November 11.