When it comes to Wily Marketing, few businesses can compete with Crooners, a large jazz club here in the ‘burbs. (Yes, the ‘burbs!) They’ve found ways to keep open, keep the conviviality flowing, and keep the musicians working—much to the glee of the socially-distanced, sell-out audiences. Their latest innovation: The tent.
Last week, at age 92, the Marvelous Marilyn Maye filled the big-top for 5 nights with world-class music, spontaneous and spot-on humor, and enough Covid-may-care charisma to leave the audiences deliciously, if temporarily, filled with faith. Don’t believe me? Peruse this rave review from the Star Tribune’s seen-it-all critic.
I sit in awe during her shows. And I’ve seen, oh, 55? 95? Because I spent a few summers working a club in Okoboji, where she played—and has for 64 years—2020 being the first miss since the run started. She also plays fine venues all over including in NYC, Palm Springs, and (in the day) Johnny Carson’s show a record 76 times. No wonder I still show up giddy.
A silly pandemic couldn’t stop her from a five-night run at Crooners. She even flew in her favorite but often-unavailable pianist (since he also accompanies starry names like Liza and Bette), Mr. Billy Stritch. Never heard of him? Just trust me when I say he’s the best. And their harmonious chemistry makes your heart pound.
So…YES! Life goes on. Mini-musical-BreakAways can still happen. My obsession with live performance (best served live with good friends and red wine) has not died of C-19. And there are still savvy establishments like Crooners that won’t shut down, and won’t shut up. Instead, they throw up a tent and invite everyone inside.
Marilyn and Band remind us to fight the fear, support your loves and causes, and of course, to…
Keep the faith.