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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Maureen McGovern: A Long and Winding Road

Also see Susan's review of Chicago

Maureen McGovern
Maureen McGovern
Singing actress Maureen McGovern is now 59 years old, but her vocal command and skill as a performer are as pure as ever in her one-woman show, A Long and Winding Road, now visiting Arena Stage's Crystal City space in Arlington, Virginia. It must be noted that the performance, which runs about 75 minutes without intermission, will have the strongest interest among fellow members of the Baby Boom generation.

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.

Arena Stage
Maureen McGovern: A Long and Winding Road
March 27th April 12th
Co-conceived and written by Philip Himberg and Maureen McGovern
Directed by Philip Himberg
Musical direction by Jeffrey D. Harris
Presented in cooperation with Huntington Theatre Company
1800 S. Bell St.
Arlington, VA 22202
Ticket Information: 202-488-3300 or www.arenastage.org


Photo: Eric Antoniou


-- Susan Berlin


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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