Ever since seeing Marilyn Maye sing a knock-out “I’m Still Here” at the NY Pops Sondheim Bash, I’ve been unable to get the performer out of my mind. I’d heard of Ms. Maye, but I had never seen her or for that matter even heard her perform before that day. Well, I was floored. The iconic anthem from Follies proved the biggest showstopper of the night, given a fabulous rendition by the singer with an interesting new arrangement by Tedd Firth.
Though Marilyn never performed on Broadway, she is forever linked with our musical theatre. Her career as a singer made her a headliner in the top supper clubs and cabarets of the 1950s and 60s. When the supper club market declined, she took on many of the great musical theatre roles like Dolly and Mame in touring and stock productions. She was also the first to record many Broadway songs for RCA – even before the original cast – such as “Cabaret.” She was also a constant presence on TV, particularly on The Tonight Show where sang 76 times.
Here is Marilyn Maye in 1967 appearing on The Hollywood Palace singing “You’re Gonna Hear From Me” and “Cabaret.”
Cut to March 2010. Here is Marilyn singing “It’s Today” from Mame to promote her cabaret act. A lyric may go the wayside here or there, but she’s still got a powerful instrument and a sharp connection with the music and material. It’s a joy to watch her sing. She still performs regularly at the Metropolitan Room and will be appearing at the venue December 5, 6, 7.