BY Rob Lester (No relation) (…or is he???)— Born on the 4th of July, Marilyn Lester is that smiling, knowing cabaret and theatre and concert presence, writing for this website and others, sitting in the dark and shedding light on what’s been seen and heard. She also has worked in the book world, sits on Boards of organizations she cares about, and works with select clients as dramaturg and does promotion work/PR for performers and special projects. Of hearty stock and fortitude of character, she has quite a Constitution herself. All of us at NiteLife Exchange wish a happy birthday to the lady we like to think of as “our own,” although we know we must share her with the other publications lucky to have her talents and perspective.
Below is an ode to Marilyn, but first–here are some very, very rare archival photos of Marilyn’s early years as a developing writer recently unearthed, and we feel they are invaluable in capturing her landmark “firsts” as a budding incisive and articulate, if precocious, young reviewer, playwright, and publicist.
And now, dear readers….from her fellow writer, here’s that rhymed, well-timed ode to my cousin in journalism on the occasion of the birth date she shares with our entire country, the Fourth of July.
She writes about music, mostly cabaret and jazz,
For Cabaret Scenes and Theater Pizzazz.
And the New York Jazz Record, too,
Has many a Marilyn music review.
And we’re glad that quite often she’s able to arrange
To write quite a bit for NiteLife Exchange.
With Duke Ellington’s work she has expertise
And on that she has written many a piece.
Her writing has verve and vim and variety
And the American Popular Song Society
Has member Marilyn there on its Board
As Recording Secretary, well, she’ll record.
Her time (not much left) has also been filled
Dramatically by her dear Dramatists Guild
For, while reviews she may by day write
By night, time permitting, she’ll toil as a playwright.
As if that’s not enough, she is one folks approach
To consult with or advise as a bright writing coach.
She’ll help with P.R. and press and promotion
With care and with flair and decided devotion.
She’s been a stage manager and dramaturg, too.
And this fall she is making her acting debut.
(I happen to know that this isn’t fake news
She’ll be IN a play, not just writing reviews;
And, oh, how do I know that this is quite so?
I’m the writer/director of that very show!)
With all that she does, how can she make
Enough time this week to eat birthday cake?
I am not not quite sure. You’ll just have to ask her.
Consult this consultant, a smart multi-tasker.
See mjLester.com if you want to know more,
Of what she does now and once did before.
Without further ado and with no need to review,
We sing her praises and sing “Happy Birthday to you.”