Marilyn Maye Continues to Celebrate at Feinstein’s/54 Below





By Sandi Durell



I don’t like to give away secrets when it comes to birthdays, but in this case, the one and only, the iconic Marilyn Maye is the first to raise a glass and proudly admit she’s just celebrated her 88 birthday on April 10 at Feinstein’s/54Below. And here’s a photo of the amazing special cake creation by a Philadelphia fan and friend! Yes, an 88 keyboard cake . . . mmmm, it was delicious.




In a recent chat with Ms. Marvelous Marilyn, she says she does think about her age and particularly so when on stage conveying positive thinking lyrics. She’s all about positive . . . positive everything!


It’s no surprise that she’s the go-to singer when one is seeking the epitome of storytelling. In fact, says she “throughout my whole life I’ve considered the story/the lyric of the song . . . each song IS a story!


I know I usually run out of superlatives when I attempt to describe the talents of Ms. Maye – – from magical to miraculous, mesmerizing to marvelous (if you’re dealing in M’s). But if Marilyn were to describe herself she scales it down to “entertaining, unpretentious, honest and (I’m too old to be humble) – blessed with talent!”


Marilyn Maye has had a remarkably busy career, always singing, recording, making appearances, teaching master classes and, of late, directing. Looking back, there were some outstanding moments in her career that catapulted her forward. For instance, when Steve Allen heard a recording and invited her to perform on his national television show. That led to an RCA executive calling with a recording contract after seeing her on that show. Of course, performing 76 times on the Johnny Carson show certainly had its impact. But, in addition, she performed on the Mike Douglas Show, the Merv Griffin Show, the Jackie Gleason Show and Ed Sullivan Show. “These led to many prestigious engagements throughout the country,” says Ms. M and, eventually, in the past ten years “to appearances in New York plus more engagements in clubs and theaters in the US and London.”


When asked about the singers who had the greatest impact on her, here’s what she said: “The jazz talent of Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and Carmen McRae; the intonation expertise of Jo Stafford and the show-biz talent of Judy Garland.”


I often wonder when I watch Marilyn perform, and happily spend some personal time with her, where she gets all that energy. It can outshine many half her age! But she doesn’t mind sharing her secrets: “vitamins, constant positive thinking and ‘push’ – (gotta keep moving)”


And the dream of what is yet to come? She just wants more of the same . . . “and performing my symphony concert to a huge crowd at Carnegie Hall!”  Hey, powers that be out there . . . let’s make this happen!


Her wish to keep performing is very much viable with her upcoming appearance at Feinstein’s/54 Below  beginning May 10 thru May 20 (check exact dates/times)  “a positive thinking evening with music from the Great American Songbook. It’ll be a party where the audience is all-important to the performance.”


Here’s to the lady with more Pizzazz than anyone I know!