Press and Reviews

 

New York, NY - January 7, 2010

The Village Voice

Octogenarian Showstopper Rules New York!

by Michael Musto

 

I finally decided to check in on the hoopla around 82-year-old Marilyn Maye, an old-style jazz/standards singer who's been the toast of the cabaret scene since she was only in her late 70s. But she dates back way before that. In the 1960s, she was the go-to lady for recording brassy Broadway hit songs before the shows even opened, scoring extra spending money when she sang “Step to the Rear” from How Now, Dow Jones for a Lincoln-Mercury commercial. Today, she only sells herself, and with a whole mess of fiery gusto that's ripened with age.

 

Maye's “Her Kind of Broadway” show at the Metropolitan Room was a love-in, filled with showstopping 11 o'clock numbers no matter what time it was. She looks like your Aunt Bluebell all dolled up for a Saturday night, and while you could describe her sound as Margaret Whiting crossed with Elaine Stritch, she's singularly gifted in the way she dives into a song, mining it for emotional heat and zingy rhythm.

 

Even when she did achingly familiar material (songs from Hello, Dolly! and My Fair Lady), Maye brought a depth and pizzazz that made them sound newer than my love of cabaret. She flubbed some lines in the Frank Loesser section, but she kept going, undeterred, like a bell that couldn't stop ringing. It was Maye day in the best sense—and she even sprinkled in some girl talk, telling us that when James Lipton saw the show, he promised her, “ 'If you tell me your favorite curse word, I'll buy a drink for the house.' Well, I did, and he didn't.”