Marilyn Maye: 94, Of Course There’s More

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Marilyn Maye

94, Of Course There’s More

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, April 9, 2022

Reviewed by Ron Forman

Marilyn Maye

I first saw Marilyn Maye on her return to the New York cabaret stage in 2006, when she was a youthful 78 years old. She is now a very youthful 94, and in my opinion, she never put on a better show than she did last night at Feinstein’s/54 Below.

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Seeing the amazing Marilyn Maye is like going to a party where you know that you are going to have a very good time.
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As soon as she walks on stage, she lights up the room. All three of her all-star musicians—Tedd Firth (music director and piano), Tom Hubbard (bass), and Mark McLean (drums)—had big grins because the party was about to begin.

Maye never fails to impress with the power of her voice, her command of the stage, and her amazing energy. Her body language and hand motions make every number her personal property. Her off-the-cuff comments during and between her numbers invariably produced loud laughter from the tightly packed SRO audience. Her musicians, three of today’s best, never get in the way of her vocals, and each were given the opportunity to show off their talent with solos.

She opened the show with a six-song, 12-minute medley of Cole Porter songs beginning with “Looking at You” and ending with “All of You,” pausing for only a few funny comments. This was followed by a very powerful “You’re Gonna Hear from Me.” She gave each musician an opportunity for an applause-inducing solo during “I’ve Got the World on a String.” She recovered beautifully from an “I-forgot-a-lyric” moment, by having the audience sing the missing line from “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” Shifting gears, she did a soft and moving “When the World was Young,” followed by a dramatically performed “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

She turned from fun to drama with a song that has become her most requested, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” ending by pointing her finger at the adulterer on the final “It was YOU.” That was followed by another ultra-dramatic number, “Fifty Percent.” She really made me believe that she is indeed still here, with her wonderful performance of “I’m Still Here.” She closed the show on a joyous note with a song with which she sometimes opens her show, “It’s Today,” that included a number of her signature leg kicks.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.