By ROB LESTER****Wow! At affordable prices, with top-notch stars, cabaret, class, and classic Cole come East for a feast: merry Mark Nadler launches a Cole Porter-centric series and his own custom brand of late-night mix of music and mischievousness.
Coming attractions: Jeff Harnar, Karen Akers, Heather Mac Rae, T. Oliver Reid, and Stacy Sullivan will follow week by week with their own Porter shows, starting at 9:15 PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
The spot is Beach Cafe, a longtime neighborhood eating/drinking place (since 1968) on Second Avenue at East 70 Street — the location is now a subway-convenient spot now that the long-awaited Q subway extension is open (as of New Year’s Day, FYI for those thought one needed a passport or an extra hour to get to the Upper East Side) with a station at East 72 Street/Second Avenue (one exit is just a stone’s throw from one of the exits, even if you throw like a girl) if you’re coming north and from the West side stops such as the ones by Carnegie Hall, Times Square — where you can give my regards to Broadway —- or West 34 Street where you can remember me to Herald Square, etc.
Prices are as refreshing as the cold drinks will be on a hot summer night (or, as Porter put it in song: “Too Darn Hot”) and here’s a tip to note: They are even more attractive if you reserve in advance instead of just popping in to pay at the door.
These 9:15 shows offer table seating reservations for $20 cover charge per person ($30 at the door) and you can even reserve bar seats for just $10 cover ($15 at the door). The minimum is $20 per show, which can apply to food and/or drink. There’s a wide variety of items on the food menu, starting at $9 and very few dishes are over the $20 so you could say the steaks aren’t so high and with one fish dish to go with the singing, it’s a salmon/chanted evening. (That will be a better pun if they’d do a Rodgers & Hammerstein grand night for singing, but Cole Porter is always de-lovely.)
So, calendars out—mark ’em for Mark and for the other singers who’ll be there on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with the exception of Labor Day Weekend. This is not just for the Pick of the Week for lovers of the champagne and fizz of cabaret and the Broadway/Hollywood musicals scored by the sophisticated songwriter. It is the Pick of the Summer. And the “Beach” season doesn’t end when you have to pack up your swim suit as autumn approaches; there is another Karen Akers show booked in September and Christine Andreas comes on board, too. And Rex Reed also holds court!
(212) 988-7299 is the number for reservations, the exact address is of the restaurant is 1326 Second Avenue, and here’s the website https://www.thebeachcafe.com/ where you can see who’s singing which week, and see prices and pictures of the menu-related items. Here are a few that are relevant to Cole Porter songs: “Tale of the Oyster” (from the score of Fifty Million Frenchmen); “Make It Another Old-Fashioned, Please” (from the score of Panama Hattie) and “Say It with Gin” (from the score of The New Yorkers); “Music with Meals” (a song written when Porter was a student at Yale University);”Fish” (from the score of La Revue des Ambassadeurs; “Coffee” (from the score of the unproduced Ever Yours, has been interpolated into Something for the Boys) “Cherry Pies Ought to Be You” (from the score of Out of This World; I assume the listed $9 “seasonal fruit pie” will come up cherry sooner than later). But I won’t grill them to ask if one of those beef items is Porterhouse Steak because that would be like asking “Is it real turtle soup or merely the mock?”