Turning 50 and throwing a birthday bash can be anything from a quiet dinner with family and friends to, perhaps, a more lavish-style party. But what if you happen to be Mark Nadler? Naturally, you hire Town Hall, choose your very favorite charity – in this case, Art Start – invite several hundred of your friends and fans and donate the entire ticket price to the charity! With the help of dear friends and producers, Karen Lotman and Michael Alden, that’s exactly what occurred on the evening of October 13th, the night before the great internationally acclaimed virtuoso Nadler was turning 50. What a celebration!
Of course, if you’re Mark Nadler you can expect some other celebs to want to share in your birthday tidings . . . like Chita Rivera and Bill Cosby. Town Hall was turned into one of the most happening parties of the year as Nadler took center stage, in tails and spats, with backup band, to perform one knock-out song after another, and give the audience just what they would expect from a virtuoso. From “Let the Good Times Roll” and “I Love a Piano,” to an extraordinarily clever 50 song medley in celebration of songs written in the year he was born, 1961, Nadler overwhelmed with his playing and singing talent and antics. With the audience eating right out of his hand, he is, by far, the epitome of the word Showman.
Now add to this the Tony Award winning actress and singing star Chita Rivera, performing the songs and moves from West Side Story, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and a grand homage to friends and favorites Kander & Ebb (Chicago) and The Rink, in which she starred with Liza Minelli. Chita . . . you look gorgeous, you sexy thing.
As if this wasn’t enough, the second act introduced the JELL-O man himself, Bill Cosby who casually sat in a chair telling stories about domestic, everyday life, his own Philadelphia childhood and what it was like to be the beat-ee, his Mom the beat-or and it was unstoppable laughter for the next half hour.
And why did they all give their time, talents and love to Art Start? Because it’s one of the few charitable organizations that give the over 11,000 homeless kids in New York City the chance to feel empowered, keeping them off the streets by conducting performance and visual arts workshops. Within the programs, they can draw, sing, write, play music, dance, act and smile . . . a lot. Nadler donates his talents and time weekly to Art Start when not traveling. The organization is now celebrating its 20th year.
Happy Birthday Mark Nadler! You are loved by many.
Additional information at www.art-start.org
**Be sure to check back for follow up with photos and video of the event