Every seat is filled as the lights dim and the marvelous (as she’s come to be known), legendary Marilyn Maye steps onto the stage at New York’s nightclub, 54 Below, making her debut “Maye-den Voyage.” Looking fabulous in long red pants with matching sparkly fringed top, accented with a large diamond-like pin and bracelet, this remarkable phenomenon holds the audience in the palm of her hand and love is everywhere. She is ageless and gracefully modest and, always, awe-inspiring.
It wouldn’t matter if she sang the telephone directory, since the delivery would convey the importance of each name, each word and phrase, as she caresses a lyric with soul and expression. She’s got the vim and verve of a 20 year old, putting most of us to shame with her extraordinary non-stop energy. And she’ll be 85 in April! She’s what Johnny Carson dubbed a “Super Singer,” having made 76 appearances on his show.
Maye-den Voyage was designed to bring the best of Marilyn, from jazz to Broadway styling, to her loving audience with some tried and true songs, and the addition of songs she hadn’t sung in a long while. A Cole Porter Medley opened the show expressing her feelings for her fans in “Looking At You”/”I Get a Kick Out of You” (a small lyric change – you obviously should adore me) and more, each with it’s own rhythmic feel from Latin to swing.
It was audience Hallelujah time with signature “Get Happy Medley” (Get Happy/I Want to be Happy/Sometimes I’m Happy) giving Madame Marilyn a chance to include some shoobedo scat. A visit back in time to a song she recorded many years ago, “My Ship,” was filled with her unique brand of soulfulness, followed by a hot, hot, hot “Golden Rainbow,” – strong, powerful and insistent.
“Lazy Afternoon,” “Paradise Café,” “Lover Man,” “Something Cool” brought the house to its feet, her expressive hand gestures and vocal nuances second to none. This was all part of a story line about love – from blossom to traumatic endings to growing stronger and wiser.
She grabs the humor where it lies, she’s brassy and sassy when it counts, and struts and shows off those remarkable showgirl high kicks, all perfectly aligned in a “New York Medley” (I Happen to Like New York/There’s a Boat Leavin’ Soon for New York/My Personal Property/New York, New York), leaving the audience panting for more as she raises hell with “It’s Today.”
The extraordinary musicians who make up the Marilyn team include Pianist/Conductor Tedd Firth, Bassist Tom Hubbard and her drummer of 54 years, Jim Eklof.
The magical, marvelous Marilyn Maye continues thru March 16th at 54 Below
254 West 54 Street – Cellar – New York, NY
Reservations: 646-476-3551 TicketWeb.com or 866-468-7619