Mark Cortale and Broadway @ The Art House proudly present Marilyn Maye with Billy Stritch at the piano. In the years since Marilyn Maye first appeared in the spotlight as a tiny pre-teen vocalist in a series of amateur contests in Topeka, Kansas, she has received an endless stream of kudos. The late Johnny Carson called her a “Super Singer”. Ella Fitzgerald dubbed her “The greatest white female singer in the world.” The Houston Chronicle termed her “A National Treasure.” And the prestigious Smithsonian Institution chose her recording of Too Late Now (from her RCA Lamp Is Low album) for inclusion in its Best Performers of the Best Compositions of the 20th Century permanent collection, along with such other singing greats as Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.
Add 76 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, a Grammy nomination in the mid-Sixties as Best New Artist, a bevy of awards reflecting her showmanship, and you have an illustrious singing career that is still going strong after a life-time spent entertaining audiences who are now amazed to discover she still exudes the vocal strength and stamina of a singer half her age.
Throughout her career, Marilyn has worked with the best talents in the music business, such as the late Peter Matz, who both arranged and conducted her Smithsonian-enshrined album, The Lamp is Low, the esteemed arranger, Don Costa, as well as Manny Album and Don Sebesky, two other highly-regarded arrangers. She also appeared with Johnny Carson in a number of large venue concerts, sang with the Phoenix Symphony under the baton of Doc Severinsen and, more recently, was the featured singer with both the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra and the Florida Symphony Orchestra at the behest of Peter Nero, who was the pops conductor.
âMarilyn Maye sets the standard for the way any jazz, pop, or big band singer would like to sound,â Nero said when introducing Marilyn to the Philadelphia audience. And no one who has ever heard this songbird sing, whether with an orchestra, a trio or just a lone piano, would disagree. She has a command of the stage that can only come from having spent a lifetime of performing live, without the electronically-enhanced recording studio produced gibberish that has become the unfortunate musical standard of the last decade.
In 2006, in an ironic twist of fate, Marilyn was once again âdiscoveredâ when she appeared as a special guest of The Mabel Mercer Society at New York’s renowned Rose Hall at Lincoln Center. She followed this with, not only a second Mercer concert and a performance at the annual Cabaret Convention at Lincoln Center, but a series of glowingly-reviewed performances at New Yorkâs Metropolitan Room. As a result of this resurgence in popularity, Marilyn has never been busier. In the intervening years she has received a bevy of awards for her performances and has appeared in the nation’s top nightclubs from California to New York, always delivering her best to her audiences from whom she more often than not receives a standing ovation and invariably earning high praise from the reviewers.
Thus, as the musical magic of Marilyn Maye marches on, so do the glowing reviews. This was the case when Marilyn appeared for a week of appearances at The Metropolitan Room in October, 2010, and once again wowed The Big Apple’s critics with her new show.
“Exclamations of adoration regularly erupted at Friday’s opening-night performance of Marilyn Maye’s new show, ‘Her Own Kind of Broadway,’ at the packed Metropolitan Room. Ms. Maye, who personifies a hardy, upbeat show-business trouper, swung Broadway standards in a dark, honeyed voice untouched by the years. Again and again, Ms. Maye embraced show tunes that beat the drums for savoring the moment, wrapping her rich, robust voice around perky, cheerleading lyrics with an earthy conviction that revitalized their feel-good truisms.” (Stephen Holden, New York Times, October 12, 2010)
Audiences who, from coast-to-coast and all points in between, have been wowed by Marilynâs unforgettable performances of today and yesterday. As Will Friedwald summed up in his October 15, 2010, Wall Street Journal review of Marilyn’s performance at The Metropolitan Room: “Marilyn Maye is pretty much every singer you ever wanted to hear: She has the rhythm and musicianship of a great jazz singer, the projection and personality of a heavyweight Broadway diva, and creates the intimate bond with her audiences that we demand from a cabaret artist. Her current show at the Metro stresses show tunes and, at more than 90 minutes, still didnât seem nearly long enough.”
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