Marvelous Marilyn Maye and her brilliant musical director, Tedd Firth
What do you get when you perfectly blend Kay Thompson's wildly clever wordplay and tempo-changing fearlessness; Peggy Lee's precise attention to every detail of lighting and presentation; Julie Wilson's sly rapport with the audience; the interpretive wisdom of Sylvia Syms; the chiffon-and-shot-silk huskiness of Rosemary Clooney; Doris Day's immediacy, Ella Fitzgerald's swing, and Judy Garland's throb? You get the complete nightclub performer, one who ultimately renders all comparisons moot because she is uniquely Miss Marilyn Maye.
Having witnessed Miss Maye's triumphant closing night performance at The Metropolitan Room yesterday (read our recap of her Sunday night show here), we are now sated but weary: from chafing our hands raw from clapping; from running our vocal cords ragged from cheering.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Miss Maye continually delights and astounds. We've seen this current show, "Her Kind of Broadway," four times -- and each experience is a surprise. The four songs which form the emotional core of a show with a higher ratio of upbeat swingers are the radiantly hopeful "Ribbons Down My Back," the bruised "I'm Thru with Love," the wistful "Joey, Joey, Joey" and the naked "Losing My Mind." Miss Maye devastates the audience with these numbers each and every time, but the interpretation is constantly evolving. One night, "Losing My Mind" might seem rueful, the next painfully desperate. "Joey, Joey, Joey" might evoke the title character's wandering soul one night; another, the quiet longing of one special "lady in the neighborhood" who cannot tie him down. "Ribbons" and "I'm Thru with Love" seem to always come from the same place in Maye's interpretive soul, but a flick of a phrase here, a switch in emphasis there, and the same song sounds entirely different from the previous performance.
We realize that we're cheerleading here, but Marilyn Maye is the one ticket in town which we will always vouch for with the utmost confidence. She's making an rare, unscheduled return on December 13, again at The Metropolitan Room, in a one night only holiday-themed show. If you haven't seen her yet, we can think of no better Christmas present to give yourself!