Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Loss of a Legend

In our small little cabaret circle, the concept of stars is a vague idea compared to the film industry and pop music. So the notion of cabaret icons or legends becomes even more foreign to the masses. But if one had to define a singular name that rose to the definition, it would likely be Miss Julie Wilson. Sadly, the diva has sung her last song and died at a ripe age of 90.

With a start on stage in musical theater, some 40 years later she had transformed into a cabaret figure who redefined the world of lounge acts into something with pedigree. Not always the perfect voice, but always the consummate storyteller - she was a presence on stage with her larger-than-life lashes and huge magnolia in her hair. Not content with the usual American Songbook, she dug deep into the great Broadway lyricists of Sondheim, Weill, Dorothy Fields, Coward and others that expected a true master to weave the songs they wrote into small one-act plays each. Just recently, she was honored at the MAC Awards with a celebration of her 90th birthday.

Julie had a special connection to many of our TCCAN artists as an advocate of our genre with frequent master class appearances at the Yale Cabaret Conference. It was important to pass on her tools to other young artists so that the cabaret legacy continues into new audiences outside of New York.