On Stage at Kingsborough brings Roaring ’20s to Brooklyn

Presenting the Roaring Twenties in a way that hasn’t before been witnessed is performer Mark Nadler’s goal as he brings his hit show, “Runnin’ Wild” to On Stage at Kingsborough.

The show features scandalous stories and songs from the 1920s that audiences will be surprised to hear.

“In this show, I’m focusing on the underbelly of society,” said Nadler, who will concentrate on the mischief individuals got into during that time, also, as he noted, the age of prohibition.

Some of the songs performed will be timeless tunes by Cole Porter and George Gershwin. “Some of the songs are well known but most aren’t,” said Nadler, who will play piano, sing and be accompanied by two other musicians. “The lyrics to the songs are so smart and clever. The love songs are just so beautifully written, too. They really get your juices going, get you laughing and feeling excited.”

MarkBFrankenstein, photo by Peter Leavy
Photo by Stephen Sorokoff

In the show, Nadler also tells stories about the mysterious incidents he found interesting from that period. “Most stories that I’m telling were well known at time.  There was a murder so scandalous, it involved one of wealthiest families in US. a major Broadway superstar and a huge scandal,” he said. “People forgot about it. When I tell the story, everyone is amazed. I also teach them how to make the perfect gin martini.”

Nadler received inspiration to write the show when he turned 50. “When I got my AARP card, I thought, ‘Wow, now people consider me to be a grandparent’s age and I started to wonder what it was like for grandparents to live in their prime,” he said. “I thought about my grandparents and their years. I found out they were wilder than I dreamed.”

Nadler admits he was fascinated by the risky behavior of that time. “People have the general idea that the Roaring ’20s was a wild time,” he said. “I don’t think anyone appreciates the degree to which people were living on the edge.”

Nadler, whose childhood was spent in Ohio, had many inspirations growing up and previous eras have always resonated with him. “I was never fascinated with the music of my generation. I was always interested in previous generations,” he said. “I became aware of Bette Midler. She was doing songs from the 1940s at the time. She was so damn funny. So much of what I do is comedy-based and I was inspired by her and the Marx Brothers and even Bugs Bunny. If it made me laugh or sing or dance, I wanted to do it.”

After moving to New York in 1979, Nadler experienced success, performing at Carnegie Hall and in Broadway shows. However, one of his most popular works with audiences has been  “Runnin’ Wild.”

“People love it. It’s one of my most popular shows because it’s so juicy. It’s gossip and it’s well researched truth,” he said.

Audiences, young and old, have been very receptive as Nadler has performed the show all over the country and as far away as Australia. “It’s not a lecture at all. It’s a conversation with the audience and a gossip fest and a concert,” he said, noting that attendees in their 20s attend the show. “There’s no question and answer but the audience is a huge part of every one of my shows. My relationship with the audience is what it’s all about.”

The songs will also have a slight update. “My job is to make the songs accessible for people who are living in 2016. We’re not doing 1920s arrangements. These are contemporary arrangements that pay homage to the time so the songs feel fresh but still give extreme respect to what made them work in first place.”

“Runnin Wild” will be performed on Saturday, May 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $30 and an autograph session will also be held. For tickets, visit www. onstageatkingsborough.org. For more on Mark Nadler, visit www.marknadler.com.

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