Marilyn Maye: 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

| May 15, 2017

Marilyn Maye

2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

CabaretFest 2017, Provincetown, MA

Interview by Dave and Nancy Wilber

Marilyn Maye
Photo: Kevin Alvey

“Here’s to Life!” That was Marilyn Maye’s response when asked what she would say to her many fans. Maye will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on June 3, 7:30-9:30.

In an interview conducted at The Royal Room in Palm Beach where she was appearing, she focused on the last fifteen years and the resurgence of cabaret. Maye was quick to note that she never left the cabaret scene. While many venues disappeared in the 1990s, she continued working in her home town of Kansas City and throughout the Midwest.

“The big New York clubs all closed down—the Rainbow Room, The Living Room, even Michael’s Pub. Boston actually fared better, with the Regatta Bar, Sculler’s with dear Fred Taylor and, of course, Club Café keeping jazz and cabaret alive.”

But the singer, who made 76 appearances on the Johnny Carson show, was always in demand. “I never stopped performing, you know.” I worked Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Fairmont Hotels in Dallas and San Francisco and various clubs up and down the Midwest. I also performed with many symphony orchestras throughout the country.

Then, in 2006, the Metropolitan Room opened in New York City. “I was doing a Cabaret Convention concert at Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Room wanted me to appear for several nights. I didn’t know if people in New York would remember me, so I only agreed to one night and hoped for the best. When I arrived at the club, the line was all the way down the block. Well, I thought, cabaret audiences certainly do their homework!”

Since then, Maye has appeared at all the hot spots in New York—the Metropolitan Room, Iridium, Feinstein’s/54 Below, The Town Hall, Don’t Tell Mama, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola—the list goes on and on. She is a regular at Jazz at Lincoln Center and has also appeared twice with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

In 2012, she made her first appearance at the Art House in Provincetown. “I love P’town; People are so happy, they are so friendly there. Everyone says hello to you on the street. I had vacationed there for several years and kept meeting people who asked where I was performing. I loved The Art House Theater, but at that time they only booked drag queens. So I said, I’ll just tell them I’m a drag queen. Now they have a summer series, Broadway at the Art House, featuring lots of famous female singers and the audience knows that we are not drag queens, so I think of myself as a trailblazer! And, I will be back this summer, for my seventh year to appear at The Art House, August 4, 5, 6 and 7.”

Maye has received other lifetime achievement awards in the last 10 years. How does she feel about this award from Provincetown’s CabaretFest? “I treasure and truly appreciate all my awards, but here is why the CabaretFest award is special to me. I love performing in Provincetown. And CabaretFest is more than just performances, it’s about the art of cabaret: the master classes and performers learning from each other. I teach master classes across the country and my students range in age from 16 to 80. This is vitally important to maintaining the art of cabaret and I am pleased to be a part of the CabaretFest weekend.”

At 89, Marilyn is speeding up rather than slowing down. “I wish this had happened to me earlier, but I’m singing as fast as I can,” she joked. Reviewers agree. After her January show at the Metropolitan Room, reviewer Frank Dain noted “only Marilyn Maye can top Marilyn Maye!”

The Lifetime Achievement Award dinner and presentation honoring Marilyn Maye will be on June 3 from 7:30 to 9:30, followed by the headliner show featuring Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano in Downton Abbey Road—The Best of Britain.

Tickets for all events are available through the Crown and Anchor box office: www.onlyatthecrown.com/tickets or by calling (508) 487-1430. For complete CabaretFest 2017 information, including performers, go to www.provincetowncabaretfest.com

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Category: Boston, Boston Cabaret Reviews, Cabaret Features, Regional

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