BWW Previews: MARILYN MAYE at Quality Hill Playhouse
Cabaret singer Marilyn Maye kicks it after a legendary 80 year career, with still incredible energy, and enduring performance chops for another stellar engagement at the intimate Quality Hill Playhouse through November 5.
Marilyn has scheduled evening performances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday along with matinees on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It's a schedule that would be taxing for most performers, but Ms. Maye has just closed her New York show days ago at New York's Lincoln Center and she is 89 years young.
For those of you who wonder about hearing an 89 year old cabaret singer, I suggest you take a peek at the BWW Cabaret Award video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb0RyYe-0ZQ or the celebration of Marilyn's 88th birthday at Feinstein's Below 54 in New York https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvUeCX0EtXI in April of last year. You will be blown away. Marilyn Maye still has it.
Marilyn earned her big break when she was discovered by Steve Allen for the original "Tonight Show." She holds an all-time record with 76 appearances on "The Tonight Show;" the Grand-Daddy of all the late night TV shows hosted for many years by Marilyn's friend Johnny Carson.
Aside from her many recordings on the RCA label and her regular guest appearances on television, Marilyn worked the nightclub/cabaret circuit that she delighted in calling "upholstered sewers." Later, she took roles in musical theater, starring in Can-Can, Mame, Hello, Dolly, and others before finding a new audience with a 2006 concert appearance at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall for the Mabel Mercer Foundation.
Ms. Maye closed just last weekend at Lincoln Center in New York. "It's a special treat to hear how Ms. M orchestrates in and through the string of songs that make up several medleys within the context of a full show. Not something to take lightly as it takes a well-seasoned, extraordinary entertainer like Marvelous Marilyn to create these iconic medleys and make them work," said Sandi Durell of Theater Pizzazz this last week.
"Marilyn Maye is a true treasure. Her interpretation of the American Songbook is like no other," said Michael Feinstein, archivist, assistant to the late Irving Berlin, iconic concert performer, and proprietor of Feinstein's 54 Below.
According to another female Jazz Singer, the late Ella Fitzgerald, Marilyn is "the greatest white female singer in the world." Coming from Ella, that is some pretty high praise.
Marilyn Maye will be backed up at Quality Hill Playhouse by Tedd Firth on piano, Daniel Glass on drums, and Gerald Spaits on bass. Firth and Glass are New York City musicians. Spaits is a local jazz artist who teaches at UMKC and has worked with Ms. Maye for many years.
Should you not be able to catch Marilyn Maye this time around, you can always check her out at Dizzy's Jazz at Lincoln Center in February of 2018. And we can always hope that W. May be able to hear her again in Kansas City. Her permanent home is in Overland Park.
Photo courtesy of Quality Hill Playhouse