It’s one of the challenges of aging and it happens to most people in many professions. Especially careers that require physical and mental virtuosity. As the years diminish one’s skills but not one’s enthusiasm to participate, a predictable disconnect occurs when we’re present at a senior entertainer’s show.
We find ourselves loving the artiste and admiring their spirit, but alas, scouring our memory for the performers prior facility. The audience finds itself lovingly sympathetic to the current experience.
And then there was Marilyn Maye’s opening performance at Feinstein’s/54 Below last night!
The audience was not there solely in recognition of her magnificent 80 year career. They have come to be present as a “Super Singer” ( Johnny Carson tag), who possesses both old skills and new skills brings a crowd to it’s feet after practically every song. Marilyn never misses a note (no pun intended) or skips a beat, and her pauses are elegant musical cliffhangers that keep an audience spellbound. Check the patron comments after a Maye performance, there’s never any ambiguity. “We’ll never forget this night” is most often heard.
I’ll also never forget this night with Marilyn, and I’m well aware of the relevancy of seniors as I was celebrating my birthday at her opening. Thank you Marilyn Maye for the best birthday present ever. The gift of great music performed by a great entertainer still in her prime.
Marilyn and some other very special entertainers came to my Birthday celebration at Birdland after the opening, but more about that later…..