It’s Maye in December! Iconic Vocalist Welcomes the Holidays at Wick Theatre

If your holiday spirit is a tad low, there’s a show in town that can truly perk up your seasonal sensibilities. Legendary entertainer Marilyn Maye and co-star Nicolas King are headlining “A Winter Spectacular” through Dec. 19 at Boca Raton’s Wick Theatre.

Accomplished vocalist Marilyn Maye performs during “Winter Spectacular” at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio) 

Known as the “Queen of Cabaret,” Marilyn is well acquainted with that type of venue. She last performed at The Wick during its cabaret series in the spring. In fact, CBS Sunday Morning was in attendance to document that production and interview the famed singer as part of her celebrity-studded 93rd birthday celebration which took place at the sold-out Wick Theatre in April. 

The famed chanteuse, dubbed “the greatest white female singer in the world” by Ella Fitzgerald, scored a hit recording of the theme song from the musical Cabaret in the mid-1960s. She appeared on “The Tonight Show” with original host Steve Allen and later with Johnny Carson a total of 76 times – more than any other vocalist — and is also known for appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “Hollywood Palace,” among others.

“This show is sure to leave even the ‘Grinchiest’ folks full of joy and hope,” said Marilynn (spelled with two n’s) Wick, managing executive producer at the North Federal Highway entertainment spot, who describes the yuletide show as a “lavish production filled with glitz and glamour.”

And as Marilynn promised, snow is part of the on-stage forecast to play up the festive decorations that include Christmas trees, lighted candles and a glistening white riser topped by musicians who provide accompaniment for more than two dozen songs – many of them themed melodies and holiday favorites. Conductor Tedd Firth, a longtime associate of the veteran vocalist, is joined by Rich Switzer, Frank Derrick, Jaime Ousley and Rod Fleeman, who pump out some amazing tunes and notable solos.

Amy London, who certainly knows her way around stages, provides skillful direction to the holiday production.

Vocalist Marilyn Maye performs during “Winter Spectacular” at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio) 

Marilyn – the star, who spells her name with one n – kicked off the show, walking onto the stage in a black sequined pants suit. She soloed on the up-tempo tune, “It’s Today” and was joined by Nicolas King, dressed in a silver suit jacket, to launch into a medley of songs with “wonderful” as the theme: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “It’s a Wonderful World,” “S’wonderful” and others, all done with class and verve.

Nicolas King performs during “Winter Spectacular” at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)

Nicolas takes over the stage for Act I, but Marilyn is back for an even more sustained Act II, sharing 15 songs with the audience that applauded louder and louder with each passing tune. Just before the curtain dropped, the gallery rose in a thunderous standing ovation for the veteran entertainer who not only brought the house down with her talents, but interviewed four talented children – Noa Anker, Bailee Bonnick, Eden Gross and London Belle Redell – who added some enchanting holiday diversity, showing up as angels, dancers and singers. 

Pianist Tedd Firth leads the orchestra in “Winter Spectacular” at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio) 

Actually, Bailee didn’t wait for the second act. She joined with Nicolas during Act I for a sophisticated tap dance to the song, “All I need is the Girl.” 

Nicolas’ musical talents shine during the opening segment. He offered his own rendition of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You,” then launched into some holiday favorites, opening with “Wintertime in Central Park,” backed up by a video that provided a snowy glimpse of New York City’s famed recreational site. 

Nicolas King performs during “Winter Spectacular” at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio) 

A native of Westerly, R.I., Nicolas said he’s now a New Yorker and made his Broadway debut as Chip, the teacup, in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” 

He paid tribute to the Disney legacy with a medley of “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”  While in a tribute mode, he also paid his respects to the recently deceased Broadway phenom Stephen Sondheim with a touching vocal of “Children will Listen,” one of the composers few tunes that mentions winter.

Following intermission, the stage belonged to Maye and her talented musicians. Stepping out in a gold and black top, she launched the set with her “rainbow medley” that included “Somewhere over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz;” “Make Me a Rainbow” and “The Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie.” She followed that with riveting renditions of “What the World Needs Now” and “Look for the Silver Lining,” tunes spanning a couple of generations.

London Belle Redell, left, and Bailee Bonick are among the stars of “Winter Spectacular” at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio) 

Joined by the four little “angels” for a festive delivery of “Winter Wonderland,” Marilyn moved into a Christmas mood with “White Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry, Little Christmas” and “Mistletoe and Holly,” a ring-a-ding performance of Frank Sinatra’s signature holiday tune.

She eased on to another Sinatra melody, “Fly Me to the Moon,” performed as part of a medley that included “And the Angels Sing,” “It’s a Small World” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

In between, she offered an excellent vocal called “Shalom” as the rear wall shone with Stars of David, dreidels and snowflakes.

Marilyn seemed totally at ease in the holiday setting and comfortably handled every vocal. 

All performers joined her on stage to conclude the show with a medley wishing everyone “peace on earth” as snowflakes began to fall at the front of the stage.

Tickets for A Winter Spectacular range from $75-$95. They are available at www.thewick.org or by calling the box office at 561-995-2333.  

During A Winter Spectacular, Tavern at The Wick will be featuring a gourmet pre-show menu, crafted by chef William Walden. Menu options will be posted on the website and reservations can be made by calling 561-995-2333.

The Wick Theatre is located at 7901 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton.

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