KT Sullivan has again joined forces with Mark Nadler, the lanky troubadour who manages to tap a time step while playing the piano. Having previously teamed in an Off Broadway songfest of tunes by the brothers Gershwin, they’re now celebrating the centennial year of Jule Styne. “Everything’s Coming up Roses” spans the Styne career from his first composition, 1933’s “Sunday,” to a Broadway career marked with hits like “Gypsy,” “Bells Are Ringing” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Sullivan noted that the diminutive composer simply ran out of piano keys.
Glamorous silvery soprano Sullivan, who always looks as though she just stepped out of a long ago Technicolor screen musical, plumbs the depth of despair with “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears out to Dry” and reveals the passing ardent hours of “Time After Time” (both with lyrics by Sammy Cahn). She presents a spunky comic edge with the Comden and Green “I’m Going Back” from “Bells Are Ringing.”
Nadler is the ideal companion and sparring partner. He has a wonderfully manic sense of humor and a genial way of charming his listeners. His reading of “Bye Bye Baby” boasts a tender edge and he puts a new spin on a gently paced take of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” All that, plus he is an accomplished pianist who demonstrates the glory of Styne’s landmark show with the overture from “Gypsy.”
Sullivan reveals the core of loneliness with “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You.” The song, a classic film curio with a Frank Loesser lyric, has an interesting genesis. While it was popular during WWII as a GI’s lament for the girl back home, it actually served as a setup for a murder in the 1942 collegiate mystery “Sweater Girl.” Finale, a toast to Gotham called “Every Street’s a Boulevard in Old New York,” puts a spring in your step as you exit to stroll down West 44th.