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Pittsburgh by Ann Miner


Marilyn Maye
The Cabaret Series

Cabaret at Theatre Square

Also see Ann's review of Our Town


Marilyn Maye
Marilyn Maye is nightclub royalty, a singing legend—and one who still has the pipes, the charm and the class to bring an audience to its feet, authentically. Ms. Maye first performed on radio some 70 years ago, and was later "discovered" by another legend, Steve Allen. Though she appeared 76 times on "The Tonight Show," recorded seven albums, has possibly played every club in the country, and has received numerous awards and accolades, you may not be familiar with her name. Luckily, it's not too late. Maye recently appeared for a one-night show at Pittsburgh's Cabaret at Theatre Square and is about to commence a return appearance at New York's 54 Below. And then, on to more clubs across the country, dazzling more audiences with her inimitable style and talent.

The lovely singer presented some 30 songs with a little patter, but all the talk was engaging—no 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 more—Ray 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.


Photo: Kevin Alvey


See the current Schedule of Pittsburgh Theatre.


-- Ann Miner



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