Just in Time For Marilyn Maye’s Upcoming Birthday
By Larry Kerchner
Marilyn Maye. The mention of her name makes me smile. The smile is usually followed by a slow head shake — one of those “shakes of disbelief,” as if to say, “Wow. How can anyone be that good for that long?” Call it a force of nature or a gift from above — it doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s embodied in a woman who knows how to use it! Marilyn is a “singer’s singer,” a term she’d probably poo-poo, because she’s comfortable in her own skin and knows exactly how to use what she’s been given, and what she’s honed for eight decades. As self-effacing as they come, she connects with an audience in a way only someone with total confidence and a wink can. She brings you in to whatever she has in store, whether it’s a funny aside or a heart-wrenching ballad. No one is an outsider when Marilyn’s home — and make no mistake, the stage IS her home, and she owns every inch of it!
When my wife, Annette, and I were married eight years ago, a quartet of lovely ladies comprised of Theater Pizzazz’s own Sandi Durell and friends Magda Katz, Linda Amiel Burns, and Merrill Stone gave us a most generous and unique wedding gift: Marilyn Maye! As in, dinner with! Yep, the first time Annette and I met Marilyn was at an Italian restaurant on 46th Street. It was an intimate dinner for three . . . plus Sandi, Magda, Linda, and Merrill. Okay, an intimate dinner for seven! They’re no fools! And what about me? I spent the evening with six beautiful women! My kind of odds!!!
It was such a fun night. After dinner, we went over to the Friar’s Club to hear some entertainment. I loved Marilyn whispering her critique of each singer in my ear. She’s SO funny! It was hard to keep a straight face!
When the evening was over and our carriage was about to turn into a pumpkin, I jumped in the back to kiss Marilyn good-bye and said, “Thank you for being our wedding present.” And so began a treasured show biz friendship, and many opportunities to hear (and see) the hippest singer I know! Writing a song about her was inevitable – and a privilege.
As a short aside, Marilyn also sang a song Tex Arnold and I wrote, “Sinatra,” in the second rendition of Hidden Treasures, and also at Feinstein’s/54 Below in her Sinatra show.
The song I wrote for Marilyn Maye, called “The Marvelous Marilyn Maye.” (What else?) with Billy Stritch on vocals and piano, Tom Hubbard on bass, Sean Harkness on guitar, Ray Marchica on drums, and Aaron Weinstein on violin is being offered free for download . . .
(And there’s another Bonus Track Free!)