Marilyn Maye is Carrying the Torch
By Sandi Durell
And that torch is shining ever so bright and brilliantly as the doyenne of Jazz, lyric interpretation and storyteller extraordinaire, dressed in a favorite Bob Mackie, once again, makes her appearance at Broadway’s Supper Club, 54 Below.
Using extravagant and descriptive words like, she blows you away – out of this world – magnificent and marvelous – well, it just underplays the sheer reality and joy an audience actually feels when in the grip of Ms. Maye. . . who grabs with a loving but firm touch to which you have no resistance.
Celebrating her birthday month, she reveals her mantra immediately opening with “Let the Good Times Roll” (Goodman and Lee), following with “I’m Just a Lucky So & So/Oh What a Beautiful Morning” (Ellington/Mack David & Rodgers/Hammerstein), the latter taking on its own reimagined jazzy interpretation. There’s no doubt, this is one hot mama and when you’re in her grasp you learn to party hardy.
When you’re 89 years young, “No Bad News” (Charlie Smalls) is exactly what you want and if you can get yourself a rockin’ “Rich Man” (Harnick/Bock), even if you gotta fish in the sea, it’s worth it. Moving on to more reflective tunes, “God Bless the Child” (Holiday/Herzog Jr.) brought up some powerful visuals followed by a beautifully resonating “When the World Was Young” (Phliippe-Gerard/Angele Vannier/Johnny Mercer).
With an ever present coy sense of humor, nobody does Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here” better than Marilyn Maye. A newly added “Joey Joey Joey” (Frank Loesser) took on slow bossa momentum and two outstanding songs (that always take me aback), are intimately sung stories “Guess Who I Saw Today” (Grand/Boyd) and Goldenberg/The Bergman’s “Fifty Percent.”
With Tedd Firth (Musical Director/Piano) riffing on “It’s A Most Unusual Day” and Tom Hubbard soloing on bass, alongside Daniel Glass on drums, the party continued until it was suddenly, so quickly, time to end it with “Some Other Time/The Party’s Over” (Bernstein/Comden & Green).
Marilyn Maye is a force of nature – singer, storyteller, brilliant actor who enjoys every moment and willingly and lovingly takes us along for the ride of a lifetime.
Her energy, powerful presence and presentation are remarkable. This is her life story, her soulful emotions, her accomplishments and her ever-positive vision of more to come.
I know I’m prone to saying this each time I write about Marilyn Maye, but I can’t be more emphatic when I recommend that you do not miss this show!
Photos: Kevin Alvey
Video: Magda Katz
Marilyn Maye: Carrying the Torch at 54 Below – April 18 thru 23 at 7 pm
254 West 54 Street (Cellar) NYC 646 476-3551