October 30, 2012


by Lee Hartgrave

MARY WILSON of the “Supremes” 

 ****Mary Wilson will sing at "Help is on the Way" --  Marines Memorial Theatre

 Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Motown singing group – already was famous in the 60’s, and she also published the autobiography “Dreamgirl": “My Life As a Supreme.” She is a busy one – she also had two follow-up books published, plus several other follow-u books.

Wilson has done it all in her career. She has been in musical theater, human rights activism, artist’ political action rights and she certainly is one of the worlds most critically acclaimed jazz and blues cabaret act.

Bay Area Cabaret looks for the cream of the crop. And boy did they hit the spot with Wilson’s recent glittering show at the gorgeous Fairmont Venetian room.

I’ve always been a fan of the legendary ‘Supremes”. But what I didn’t expect was that now as a single star - Wilson sounds better. Her voice is stronger, and mellow. When she sang her way out of the Supremes, she emerged as one of the best dynamic and soulful performers on the stage. Her training and musical experiences has really paid off.

Wilson has only one backup singer. I didn’t quite catch his name, but I believe it is “Damon”. If I’m wrong, please let me know. He is really terrific. He also got to sing solo on a couple of the songs. Fantastic!

The Fairmont evening was charming and perfect. Magic was definitely in the air. Ms Wilson had her usual talented Musical Director on hand – Mark Zier. San Francisco’s favorite bass player (Daniel Fabricant) -- who’s heavenly sounds are - well heavenly.  Then of course -- we loved Russ Gold (drums) & Bob Brumbeloe (guitar).

Here are a few lyrics from Mary Wilson: “They tell m something will change. Win or lose – life is an Illusion – I really don’t know life at all.” – “But now it’s just another show. Don’t give yourself away now – I don’t know you at all.” Wilson lost her Son in a Car Accident: - Here’s a lyric. “Would know your name – If I saw you in heaven. I must be strong and carry on. Would you hold my hand, if you saw me in Heaven – because you know I can’t stay in heaven.” And then there is the heart breaking ‘I’m Changing’. Lyric: “Look at me – I am changing, and trying every way I can – changing right now and right here – and I don’t need you! – I’ll get myself a better friend.” And this one really grabs me: “There is no yes – in yesterday!” Mary Wilson is “Downright Amazing!”

(((Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) -trademarked-)))

 See her again at the Marines Memorial Theatre on Sutter Street (one night only with the cast of Lion King, and cast of Book of Mormon.)  

Mary Wilson’s show was a one-time event at the Fairmont – it was a thrilling evening. But here is more good news. Mary Wilson is going to be part of the of ‘THE RICHMOND HELP IS ON THE WAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS X1. The Star-studded AIDS Benefit Concert & Gala will be on Monday Dec. 12, 2012. The show will feature The Casts of “Book Of Mormon” and Disney’s “The Lion King” – including performers…MARY WILSON, Bruce Vilanch, Tim Hockenberry, Spencer Day, Paula West and Connie Champagne and more. The perky dazzling show will be at The Marines Memorial Theatre – 609 Sutter St., SF. Tix: 415-273-1620.  www.helpisontheway.org. Cast party follows with premium tickets. 

 (((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook Section and he produced and hosted a long running Arts Segment on PBS-KQED)))

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