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Wild sing: Cabaret show uncovers scandals of the 1920s

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He is singing the notes on a scandal!

The cabaret show “Runnin’ Wild,” at Kingsborough College on May 21, is a sizzling musical journey through the Roaring ’20s. The show’s creator and star says that it was inspired by a desire to show young people that their grandparents had lives just as wild as anything they can imagine.

“I am at that stage in my life where young people look at me as if my past wasn’t as dangerous as the mischief they’re getting into now,” said Mark Nadler. “They have no idea the kind of trouble I used to get into! And then I started wondering how it was for my grandmother’s generation. What kind of trouble did they get into?”

The veteran cabaret performer, who says that he is afflicted with “Google-itus,” searched the Internet to unearth all manners of goodies about the decadent lives our recent ancestors were living. He put together a show about drugs, drag queens, kidnappings, opium dens — all of it expressed through music.

“All the songs are from the age of Prohibition, and each of them is either about booze, sex, or drugs,” he said.

Nadler’s show has toured the world, with long stints in London and in Australia, but his upcoming show in Brooklyn makes him feel like a homecoming king.

“It is my first time performing in Brooklyn,” said Nadler. “I moved to New York City when I was 17, and my first apartment was in Park Slope!”

Nadler’s show also includes the scandalous story of Charlie Chaplin marrying his 16-year-old cousin, quotes of Mae West’s salacious ad-libs (“She was a Brooklynite too,” he points out), and a vital bit of education — the recipe for making a perfect dry gin martini.

“There’s a joke that if you are stranded on a desert island, the first thing you should do is to make yourself a gin martini, because inevitably someone will come along to tell you you’re doing it wrong,” laughed Nadler. But he is confident in his version.

“I have had a lot of practice,” he said. “What? With gin being the alcohol of ’20s, I had to research it for the show!”

“Runnin’ Wild: Songs and Scandals of the Roaring Twenties” at On Stage at Kingsborough [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Oxford street in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368–5596, www.onstageatkingsborough.org]. May 21 at 8 pm. $32.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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