Interview with Marilyn Maye – what’s she got that everybody wants?

Energy, good health, a long history of working as a performer, she’s fun, upbeat and an inspiration. She’s a singer’s singer! Who else can claim 76 appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson? And this Kansas gal is only 83 years young. Yes, it’s marvelous, mischievous, magnificent Marilyn!

I had a chance to speak with Marilyn, again, this time to focus on her upcoming run at Feinstein’s at the Regency here in New York City.

Marilyn has never known what it’s like not to work. It’s her passion, the love of her life and her business. She is the first to say she works really hard at the business end; it doesn’t just happen. Times have never been easy. Nothing has ever fallen into her lap. Mostly, she feels fortunate that she continues to work; always ups and downs with agents and managers. She’s had and hasn’t had them throughout her long career.

Interview with Marilyn Maye – what’s she got that everybody wants?Marilyn happily says that “once we play somewhere, 9 times out of 10, we’re invited back.” And she’s most grateful to people who come, as word of mouth is a big help.

Q You took everybody by storm in New York.
A – I so enjoy the loyalty of music lovers in New York. Everybody knows their history and they do their homework learning about the performer. God knows I do have history!
We get many young people who know what I’ve done. They learn and it’s a joy for me.

Q – You are a great inspiration to so many.
A- The resurgence . . . I always worked in the Middle west; worked right through 2005/2006. When I came to NY in 2005, it was a great upheaval, a good upheaval. Now, my bags don’t get unpacked. I’m working continually on new material, new acts, and we’re doing it again in May.

Q – What should people expect at Feinstein’s when you open May 24th?
A – It’s called “Singing Side of Life,” I have a couple of tunes that aren’t performed very much and some standards and Fats Waller material. It’s a variation of songwriters I know; 3 different songs by songwriters I know in this world. I would have loved to have known Johnny Mercer and Cole Porter but now I do know these people. Won’t tell you what because I want everyone to be surprised.

Q – Wonderful to have some of our contemporary songwriters to thank personally. Your dates are:
A – Tuesday thru Friday, May 24 thru June 4th I just love that room, the ambiance, the sound is great.

Q – What’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to you?
A – I have to go recently; lots of wonderful times. The excitement was the first night I did the Mabel Mercer Convention in 2005. The reason they invited me was because they knew I had done so many Jerry Herman shows and it was a tribute to him. I loved singing for Jerry; he was ringside. The most recent was Carnegie Hall last November with the NY Pops for Sondheim’s 80th Birthday and doing “I’m Still Here,” the 11 o’clock number, and it stopped the show. That was really, really fun! It was my first time, I’d ever been there. Like the song says: “Lord knows, at least I was there.”

And then another thrill being at Zankel Hall for Margaret Whiting’s tribute with Michael Feinstein, and Town Hall, Cast Party, standing ovations. Those kinds of things are great fun here in New York. And if you have another job to go to, it’s even more rewarding.

Q – Any words of wisdom for your fans?
A – Be sure to return your phone calls and emails. And flexibility is the key . . . that’s my motto

Marilyn Maye –  212 339-4095  May 24 – June 4 2011

About The Author

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email:

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