Cabaret queen Marilyn Maye has brought her luscious pipes to Feinstein’s at the Regency for The Best of Times Is Now! a lovely tribute to Jerry Herman, who wrote all those great diva songs for and about Dolly, Mame, Mabel, and Albin.
Whenever there’s a Herman show, you can be guaranteed at least one number about how the title lady is looking swell — so swell she’s coaxing the husk right off of the corn as “the dingy curtains seem a little brighter.”
Naturally, Maye does those tunes, but she also pauses for the heartbreakers, the romantic ballads, and the bittersweet numbers of longing and regret.
In addition to the obvious classics, she gives us samples from more esoteric shows like The Grand Tour, Dear World, and Milk and Honey.
A nice twist has her trilling the romantically unromantic “I Won’t Send Roses” from Mack and Mabel, but making it “He Won’t Send Roses” and doing it from Mabel’s point of view.
She sings without artifice, going for vocal clarity and simple truths.
Jerry obviously approves.
He did send roses for Maye’s opening night last night, and they sat there on the piano as a big floral validation.