Mary Wilson Test Header

Wonka to Wicked, cabaret festival is off to a stylish start

Posted in News on June 21st, 2012 by MaryWilson

By Mark Ellis, Photo: Tony Lewis, from The Age


Mary Wilson

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Variety Gala Performance, Adelaide Festival Theatre

“But the weekend was all about two big names: Wilson’s tribute to Lena Horne and Salonga’s ”best of” show. Wilson’s was unusual in that it was a lecture by Horne’s biographer James Gavin with slides and film clips on Horne’s life with Wilson sashaying on and offstage to sing nine of Horne’s songs while managing to incorporate seven frock changes. Her mastery of vocal colouring was on display from a bottom register as dark and velvety as Guinness into a still agile top.”

Singing supreme with seasoning of comedy

Posted in News on June 21st, 2012 by MaryWilson

By Graham Strahale, Photo: Tony Lewis, from The Australian

Mary Wilson

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Variety Gala Performance, Adelaide Festival Theatre

“The evening’s untouchables, however, were Mary Wilson and Lea Salonga. A founding member of The Supremes, Wilson was fabulously powerful in Arlen and Koehler’s Stormy Weather.”

Mary Wilson Reflects on Motown Magic

Posted in News on June 20th, 2012 by MaryWilson

The former Supreme recounts the trio’s beginnings


from: My Generation

In the early ’60s, the Motown label was producing hit after hit — all from male singers. But three Detroit schoolgirls caught the eye and ear of legendary producer Berry Gordy, and soon the Supremes were taking the world by storm. Even though much of that world would not allow them in its restaurants or hotels.

In this episode of My Generation, Mary Wilson recalls the “magic” of the famous music she, Florence Ballard and Diana Ross created, achieving 12 number one singles, empowering women and easing racial tensions (with support from a certain Dick Clark). Watch now.

Pedro, Mary & Steve

Posted in Friends & Fans, Mary's Journal on June 19th, 2012 by MaryWilson

My son, Pedro, me and Steve from England. Steve used to babysit Pedro in the 70′s.

Remembering Herb Reed of the Platters

Posted in Mary's Journal on June 19th, 2012 by MaryWilson

This lovely tribute was created by Guy Gilchrist, in memory of Herb Reed.


Late Platters founder Herb Reed most proud of Las Vegas lawsuit victory


Herb Reed, founder and naming member of The Platters, has filed a trademark lawsuit against Nevada entertainer Monroe Powell over Powell’s use of the group’s name.

By Steven Green from Vegas Inc.

The Platters founder and singer Herb Reed died Monday at the age of 83, his managers announced.

Reed, the last surviving original member of the 1950s group, died in a Boston-area hospice after a period of declining health, publicists and managers at Balboni Communications Group announced.

As a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Reed is known for singing bass on such hits as “The Great Pretender,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “Only You.”

His management team said that in the past year, Reed proclaimed that his greatest accomplishment was in 2011 winning a trademark lawsuit in Las Vegas over rights to the Platters name.

The ruling came after a series of lawsuits were filed over many years by various artists claiming to have rights to the name.

“Herbert Reed, having first used the mark ‘The Platters’ in commerce in 1953, and having continuously used the mark in commerce since then, has superior rights to the mark to all others,” said an order signed by U.S. District Judge James Mahan in May 2011.

The decision made Reed “sole heir to the group’s tremendous legacy,” Reed’s management team said in a statement Tuesday about his death.

“You know a lot of people tell me to just hang it up, but I just cannot do that,” Reed told a biographer early this year. “It’s not right to have someone steal your name. It’s just not right. We were cheated back then, but that’s how things were done then. It’s doubly wrong to face it again today. It’s theft, and I have to fight so that no other artist faces this.”

When Reed learned of the judge’s decision last year, he was elated, said Reed manager Frederick J. Balboni Jr.

“He teared up and told me this was the most important thing he had done. He joked that he was going to have the judge’s decision framed and hung up along the gold and platinum records that line the walls of his home,” Balboni Jr. said in Tuesday’s statement.

Two suits are still active in Las Vegas involving Reed’s company Herb Reed Enterprises LLC and alleged Platters copycat groups. Many of the lawsuits were filed in Nevada because over the years, various Platters groups performed in Las Vegas casinos.

Disputes over ownership of the name and trademark erupted after Platters members and managers left the group over the years and started their own Platters spinoff groups, and some assigned their rights to the Platters name to third parties.

There’s another Las Vegas connection to Reed: “The Great Pretender” lyrics were written in a washroom of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas by Buck Ram, who became the Platters’ manager in 1954.


Mary Wilson, Still Supreme

Posted in News on June 14th, 2012 by MaryWilson

Mary wilsonMary Wilson was a founding member of the legendary Motown singing group The Supremes.

She was there when they had a dozen number one hits and set a record for a singing group.

Mary Wilson is in Adelaide for the Cabaret Festival to perform her tribute to another pioneering African American singer.

Mary dropped into the 891 studios with writer James Gavin to discuss her extraordinary career and its latest chapter performing “Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project.”

Listen to the audio here.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala Performance

Posted in News on June 14th, 2012 by MaryWilson

Written by David Jobling from the Australian Stage

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala Performance

2012’s Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Kate Ceberano co-hosted this highly anticipated event supported by Mark Nadler. Her finesse and style won the hearts of the audience immediately while Nadler effortlessly managed to bring the tone down several notches in a classic ying and yang sort of way by airing his much loved New York vernacular; he was duly adored by the audience in doing so. Together they were a suitably impressive balance of shtick and class.

The Variety Gala is an appetizer before the grand buffet on offer now until the 23rd of June and this year it’s quite an eclectic band of gypsies descending upon Adelaide. The recently unearthed magician Cosentino made a cameo appearance during the hosts’ opening song ‘World of Imagination’ and literally stunned the audience with a gravity defying show of magic. This was followed by Eddie Perfect stripping down to disclose his hilariously diminutive manhood wrapped in Lycra as he bravely sang about bicyclists saving the planet, very funny.

Some of the most remarkable acts that featured in the evening’s program were Zoë Keating playing cello and accompanying herself with live loops, Justin Burford delivering himself in the guise of Kurt Cobain and rocking the socks off the crowd, Melbourne’s Boylesque filling the Festival Theatre stage with lads in jock straps and hair gel performing remarkable athletics along with an enormous drag queen who mimed with such precision it was difficult to comprehend that she wasn’t actually Edith Piaf reincarnate. All of these acts were a little different to the parade of outstanding women who shared their exceptional talents in a more traditional way.

The aforementioned women were nothing to scoff at. The likes of Eden Espinosa, Angela Harding, Lea Salonga and Clare Bowditch were each deliciously impressive as they took their individual turns in the spotlight but then there was more. Debra Byrne gave a most heartfelt performance of ‘Send In The Clowns’ with such grace and emotional transparency it was every bit as stunning as Cosentino making his assistant float in mid air.

For me, and probably everyone else in the packed audience there was a different sort of magical act that appeared in this show, something rare you don’t get to see very much anymore. One singer brought the house down. She sent shivers around the venue with her song because here and there through her rendering of ‘Stormy Weather’ the legendary Mary Wilson sang off mic. That’s correct ladies and gentleman, she sang unamplified by technology, only a few key phrases, but glory be to the heavens Mary Wilson’s luxuriously exquisite voice rang ‘like a bell’ as they say, and peeled through the cavernous Festival Theatre auditorium so clearly, so beautifully, it brought tears to the eyes.

This was such a rare moment of true magic where the actual vibration of her voice instantaneously resonated against each of our eardrums. Had we been in an intimate cabaret room, a lounge or a piano bar this wouldn’t have been such a momentous occasion, however we were in a vast space. I was twelve rows back and I was wrapped in the joy of her spirit.

I cannot adequately describe how impressive and emotionally potent this simple act was other that say it was truly divine.

On so many levels we accept the brilliance of singers as they are delivered to us through the sound system, and I don’t mean to undermine or chastise any of the other singers who delivered their world class performances in this evening of solid entertainment, but I do mean to give pause, and celebrate the completely unexpected and visceral magic, what I believe to be true magic, when an individual can fill a space with their song, sans any sound mixing or amplification, and sound just as authentic, just as beautiful, just as true to life as they do when they’re on the mic.

Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes stripped of anything bar the piano accompaniment gave of herself so completely she brought home the core of why cabaret is so loved. She displayed her talent in such a way as there could be no questioning it’s greatness; I was, and I remain flabbergasted and richly impressed.

The whole event was terrific, Kate Ceberano and her team should feel secure that they have delivered what looks to be a really enjoyable Festival, and more than anything Mary Wilson should promptly be handed the key to the city because tonight she demonstrated why any of us bother with live performance. Wilson delivered one of those moments where you simply had to be there in order to fully understand the power of a person singing with such passion and sheer expertise that it knows no bounds.

2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Variety Gala Performance

UPDATE: Schedule

Posted in Engagements, News on June 12th, 2012 by MaryWilson

The following concert dates have been added to the schedule:

Thursday, July 19th
Venue: Sound Board at Motor City Casino & Hotel
Location: Detroit, MI

Thursday, September 13th
Venue: Potawatomi Casino/Northern Lights Theater
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Stop! In the Name of Mary Wilson

Posted in Engagements, News on June 8th, 2012 by MaryWilson

Written by Patrick McDonald from Adelaide Now

Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson, one of the original members of Motown group The Supremes, is here to perform her tribute to jazz great Lena Horne at the Cabaret Festival. Picture: Tricia Watkinson.

MARY Wilson’s hand instinctively flies up and her head gives a sassy jerk from side to side when she breaks, mid-sentence, into Stop! In The Name of Love.

The trademark moves are second nature for the co-founder of Motown supergroup The Supremes, who is appearing at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival this weekend.

Just as The Supremes became role models for African-American women in the 1960s, Wilson’s show Stormy Weather pays tribute to 1940s civil rights activist, singer and actress Lena Horne.

“When the The Supremes became popular and famous … we had a goal, and that was to put a pretty good face on Afro-Americans,” Ms Wilson, 68, said yesterday.

“We were three little black girls growing up at a time when that was like an impossible dream.”

Horne, who was of mixed European, Native American and African heritage, was a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, but was  ostracised in the 1950s for her  political views.

“The same things that she and people of her generation were going through was what we ended up going through … but we were able to go on to the next level,” Ms Wilson, 68, said.

Stormy Weather, which is at the Dunstan Playhouse tonight and tomorrow, is a multi-media production that includes video of Horne speaking at civil rights rallies.

“I am not impersonating Miss Horne, by no means,” said Ms Wilson.”I personally have always been a ballads singer, even with The Supremes. So this falls right into what I do as Mary Wilson.”

Flo’s Birthday

Posted in Friends & Fans, News on June 8th, 2012 by MaryWilson

June 30th of this year marks what would have been Florence Ballard’s 69th Birthday. Mary is asking all of the fans to contact their local radio stations. Make them aware of Flo’s upcoming Birthday and request that they play a song that she had recorded with The Supremes. Our goal is to have as many radio stations as possible commemorate and celebrate Flo’s Birthday this month by playing her recordings. Thank you for your efforts and support.

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