By Sandi Durell
Photo/Video: Magda Katz
With no down time from Ms. Maye’s appearance at the New York Cabaret Convention on Thursday evening at Rose Theater, Lincoln Center, she was up and running to make her debut and open the posh new restaurant/cabaret Dino’s Backstage in an elegant suburb just outside of Philadelphia, Pa. I swear, this lady of a certain age (oh, everyone knows . . . she’s only 88 years old) just gives me palpitations as I watch her scurry from theater to theater, club to club to regale audiences with her extraordinary performance skills!
And on Friday evening October 21, in her usual fun-loving style, Marilyn Maye was front and center in the beautiful Celebrity Room, a truly glamorous space, with Tedd Firth at her side on piano, Steve Doyle on bass and Eric Halvorson on drums. Nothing could keep me and Magda Katz, and a couple of other MM fans, from making sure we’d also be right there, together with the sold out crowd.
As most of us know, when marvelous Marilyn is around, it’s always a party. And this was a party extraordinaire! Women dressed to the nines, men in tuxedos . . . the sophistication evident everywhere, especially in the detail of the décor of this chic space. Ms. M opened the party in usual hi-energy fashion welcoming her “Old Friends” and you know she means every word when she sings “I Love Being Here With You, “ “I Love to See You Smile.” That’s what it’s all about – the love she gives to audiences everywhere comes back 10-fold from her cheering fans.
Old chestnuts, of which we never get enough, filled the evening including the Rainbow Medley (i.e.”Look to the Rainbow,” Rainbow Connection”) awakening the awareness that the rainbow of songs align so brilliantly with the colorful palette of Ms. Maye’s remarkable vocals. She is powerful and strong in her choices and delivery that never cease to amaze, as stories flow within each song . . . she the ultimate storyteller! And her stories aren’t limited to songs, but include a humorous peek into her life of three alcoholic husbands and one meaningful relationship.
The underlying yearnings and innuendo are ever present in Blossom Dearie/Jack Segal’s “Bye Bye Country Boy” (you’ve been a joy, a shiny toy . . .); the heat of sexual overtones a knock out in Fats Waller/Andy Razaf’s “Honeysuckle Rose” that bring screams of delight from the audience. Paul Desmond’s famous “Take 5” – originally performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, unusual in it’s quintuple 5/4 time – is an exercise in fantastic breath control, an easy task for this incomparable jazz singer. This is one sassy lady!
It’s not difficult to understand her “Secret O’ Life” offered up alongside “Here’s To Life – – – an anthem, a reminder . . . ‘ the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time, any fool can do it, there ain’t nothing to it.’
By the way, proprietors, Dino J. Kelly-Cataldi and Michael Richard Kelly-Cataldi are attentive professionals that understand the restaurant business and how to make their customers feel Numero Uno. Executive Chef Scott Howlett practices the art of fine culinary preparation. In other words, the food is delicious!
Marvelous Marilyn Maye will be at Dino’s Backstage October 22 and 23, 8 pm featuring a special complete dinner/show/valet parking package. Check their site for upcoming celebrity talent that includes Ann Hampton Callaway.
Dino’s Backstage – 287 N. Keswick Ave. Glenside, PA 215 884-2000 www.dinosbackstage.com – only 90 miles from New York City