Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Maureen McGovern: A Long and Winding Road
Also see Susan's review of Chicago
McGovern broke through in the 1970s with recordings of the songs "The Morning After" (from The Poseidon Adventure) and "We May Never Love Like This Again" (from The Towering Inferno), causing her to become known as "the disaster theme queen" before she moved on to major Broadway roles. But in this performance, she returns to the songs of her youth, which she uses to narrate her life from childhood in Youngstown, Ohio, to the present, backed by family photos and home movies.
The most familiar songs in her repertoire are standards of their era, such as Simon and Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)"; the Beatles' "Let Ie Be" and "Rocky Raccoon" though not the title song; and Carole King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "You've Got a Friend." Still, her taste is highly diverse and idiosyncratic, as she demonstrates by following Tom Lehrer's "The Vatican Rag" with Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "Pirate Jenny," which she sang in a Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera opposite Sting.
Along the way, McGovern describes the interplay between her personal experience and contemporary history. She recalls being sent home from school following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; notes that one of the victims of the 1970 National Guard shooting at Kent State University was a high-school classmate; and shares memories of performers lost to AIDS and the ravages of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City. In other words, she may be doing the singing, but she's telling a universal story.