Marilyn Maye wowed the Dallas Fairmont Venetian room recently when she performed a benefit concert for the Dallas Children’s Theatre.
This had been a long awaited event for me (see my preview article http://knotmove.com/travel-in-oklahoma-city/ticket-stubs-marilyn-maye-the-singer-worth-waiting-for ) and to some a first time introduction to the veteran songstress. I sat at a table of American Airlines sponsors and one young couple had no idea who Marilyn Maye was; just that the evening was a good cause.
Before the concert ended they leaned over to me and said “We have to go pick up our kids, but she is really something. I’m so glad I had a chance to hear her.” That is quite an unsolicited accolade. And they were right.
Marilyn in her own down to earth personable way began the concert with a number of songs relating to rainbows – pretty, but so what? Then she tickled our funny bone by sliding into the Sesame Street song, “ The Rainbow Connection,” which begins with the line,“Why are there so many songs about Rainbows?” The audience easily got the joke.
The rest of the over 1 hour and 40 minutes of music, nostalgia, humor and pathos was peppered with over 22 songs and or medleys including; a suite from Hello Dolly, her signature “Let a Winner Leader the Way,” “Maybe This Time”, a song from the current broadway show Catch Me If You Can, “I’m Through With Love,” and a song from her childhood, “Look For The Silver Lining.”
Commenting on her age, between doing high kicks, she exclaimed, “I’m too old to be humble.” All said in good nature, and with her talent and decades of performances with some of the greats of the musical world, there’s no need to be.
Near closing she performed Follies’, “I’m Still Here” where she got a standing ovation as she did recently when she performed if for Stephen Sondheim’s Carnegie Hall Birthday Party. She recalls, “Steve came up to me after the show and just said ‘Congratulations’, that’s all.” Sondheim is know for his brevity and what can you say to the performer here who lived and interpreted that song to perfection, other than “Congratulations?”
Her warmth continued after the performance where she enthusiastically signed autographs on the concert poster and on CD covers. While signing she said, while smiling at a young couple in line, “I love having the young people appreciate my singing. After all most of my fans are dying off.”
She truly loves performing and continues more and more as she is booked constantly at New York Supper clubs and other concert appearances.
It was my good fortune after my decades of admiration, to have seen, heard, met and had a brief conversation with this epitome of song styling and virtuosity. I say, “Congratulations” to The Dallas Children’s Theatre Benefit for bringing Marilyn Maye to a new crop of fans, and to the worthy cause the benefit supports. You should look into going next year.
Terry Zinn holds a masters degree in theatre from the University of Cincinnati, and is a graduate of Oklahoma City University, known for its excellence in music and the performing arts.