By Tulis McCall
Oh for goodness sake STOP READING THIS NOW.
Go to you computer or even your phone (how old school would you like to go???) and make a reservation to see this wonder we call Marilyn Maye at 54 Below(646) 476-3551 – you’re welcome.
AND-AND-AND if you are too lazy, or still nervous about being in public, the Sunday, October 23 performance will be live streamed.
So now you have no excuse to not do what I told you to do.
I have had the privilege of seeing Marilyn Maye umpty-ump times. Starting in 2014 and most recently in 2022. More than any other performer. I go because it is a master class in performing. I go because I KNOW she will make me cry. I go because I KNOW she will inspire me to keep carrying on. Maye lives in the present. And her singing pulls you into that living. I can always use a dose of that, thank you.
Years ago Stephen Holden (New York Times) wrote, “Her singing was robust even for a woman of 50.”
That, my chums, was 44 years ago. Ms. Maye proudly wears her age. A recent show was titled “I Wish I WERE 90 Again!” The staff at 54 Below is predicting she will be back next spring with a new show titled, “Marilyn Maye: 95 And Still Alive.”
Her most recent show focuses on the lyrics of Johnny Mercer. Her most excellent musicians are repeat delights. Ted Firth , Musical Director; Tom Hubbard on bass and Mark McClean on drums. Johnny Mercer was so prolific that Maye spends the bulk of the evening singing medleys, so she can include more of his songs. They are ever-so-loosely grouped by category.
For instance – Angels: Dearly Beloved (Kern/Mercer); “And the Angels Sing” (Elman/Mercer) – you get the idea. Most of the tunes are well known – so well known that the audience chimes in – “Day In, Day Out” (Bloom/Mercer), “Satin Doll” (Ellington-Strayhorn/Mercer), “One For My Baby”(Arlen/Mercer)’ I Wanna Be Around” (Mercer and Vimmerstedt). And I swear she turns them into songs I have never heard before. In particular “Satin Doll,” which was actually a tune before Mercer added the lyrics. I never listened to the lyrics before. That is what Maye does – she MAKES you listen.
She also tosses in a few lesser knowns – “If I Had My Druthers” (Darin/Mercer), “I’m Old Fashioned” (Kern/Mercer) and “When October Goes” (Manilow/Mercer). The last mentioned crept over us like a cloud of shared memories. After all, it IS October.
Maye is a triple dose of pure electricity from her sparkling eyes, perfect manicure and coif, to her bedazzling costume, to her easy rapport with the audience she loves. And then she opens that throat and embraces us with every syllable she sings. She catches you somewhere between the glitter and the story and cradles you in her arms. Life explodes from her every cell and she passes it on to you without a flutter. She is seamless. Your conscious mind is scurrying about trying to pinpoint every minute detail and keep it to memory. The rest of you is saying, “Chill out. Just be in the miracle that is happening.” The Miracle of Marilyn Maye.
Click here for an extraordinary interview with Maye, written by Betsyann Faiella.
Did you make your reservation yet?
MARILYN MAYE at 54 Below. TICKETS HERE. Through Sunday, October 23.
Click HERE for her Schedule – this woman is on the move!