An accomplished musician and vocalist, Steve Ross has been in the cabaret business for 54 years. Here the performer, labelled New York’s Crown Prince of Cabaret by The New York Times, pays tribute to ‘The Queen of Cabaret’, JULIE WILSON, who passed away at the age of 90 on 5 April.
Julie Wilson has left us – but with indelible and heart-warming memories. Just two weeks before her passing she was found in one of our best cabarets, the Metropolitan Room, cheering on another extraordinary performer, Yvonne Constant.
It seemed that every time one went to hear anybody in town, there was Julie, looking glamorous and bravo-ing the singer. But even if she hadn’t supported (it seems too mild a word in this context, for this woman) her fellow performers by her enthusiastic presence, anyone of us who sings in any venue or any style, from a theatre to indeed a cabaret, can draw power and inspiration from the indelible recollection of her own performing.
I first met her in 1974 when I was the pianist for a Gershwin show on a summer tour and was lucky enough to be in her audience as well as at the keyboard as her accompanist for lo these 41 years.
She was a take-no-prisoners kind of performer – never giving less that 150%. Her enunciation was flawless and every word of the lyric was sung with truth and from her great heart. She set the performance bar very high and never let the audience down, whether it consisted of two people (as happened one night in the Algonquin’s Oak Room) or two hundred. With her support, teaching and performing she was a big and irreplaceable part of the cabaret world.