Also see Ann's review of Our Town
The lovely singer presented some 30 songs with a little patter, but all the talk was engagingno padding. After opening with four Cole Porter songs, then a "happy"-themed medley with a smooth and jazzy "Sometimes I'm Happy," she talked about the genius that was Steve Allen and treated us to two of his many songs: "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" and a lovely and heartfelt "I Love You Today" from Sophie, the "most perfect love song." She lamented never having appeared in My Fair Lady and showed her love of the score through a swinging "I've Grown Accustomed to [His] Face," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "On the Street Where You Live." Now, when I say "swinging," I don't mean exaggerated "ring-a-ding" swinging; it's natural and intelligent, not overdone.
Jerome Moross and John La Touche's beautiful "Lazy Afternoon" was given a loving treatment, as was "Bye, Bye Country Boy" in perhaps a nod to composer/singer Blossom Dearie, another nightclub legend. At just the right time, the energy level was stepped up with "My Mama Done Told Me" and "Luck Be a Lady." And there was moreRay Charles, rainbows and a crowd-pleasing encore which concluded with "It's Today."
Accompanied by Tedd Firth on piano, Tom Hubbard on Bass and her Jim Eklof on drums (where he's been for 54 years), Marilyn Maye held the packed Cabaret audience in palm of her hand for almost an hour and a half (and was quite gracious about the sound problems). Count 200+ lucky people. It was indeed a lovely ride.
A great way to spend a Monday evening, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Cabaret Series continues with Maureen McGovern on November 4, Carol Woods on March 3, Liz Callaway on April 7 and Clint Holmes on May 12. For more information, visit www.trustarts.org/events/series/cabaret-series.