Broadway actor and singer Maureen McGovern impressively demonstrated that she is so much more than the disaster movie theme queen she is known as when she performed in “A Long and Winding Road,” Friday, at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club.
Early in her career McGovern received lots of attention for her rendition of “The Morning After” from the 1972 film “The Poseidon Adventure” and “We May Never Love Again,” from “The Towering Inferno,” released in 1974.
Most recently the Grammy-nominated McGovern’s career has centered on musical theater, concerts with symphony orchestras and recording.
For her Cabaret show, McGovern, accompanied by pianist Jeff Harris, performed a program consisting of music from the 60’s and 70’s. Promoting herself as “The Stradivarius Voice,” McGovern, who possesses a multi-octave vocal range, more than lived up to that designation with an agile voice that was warm, bright, and lustrous.
McGovern also projected a warm personality telling stories about her life throughout her act. After opening her show with “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake,” she spoke of her early musical influences, which included the score of “West Side Story” in her middle school years, The Beatles during her high school years and Joni Mitchell during and after her divorce.
During her 75-minute show McGovern performed a set list that was particularly entertaining, if not nostalgic, for the audience consisting mainly of baby boomers. Many of those present for her sold old performance, frequently responfed to her songs with verbal recognition.
Songs performed by McGovern included “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Ode to Billie Joe,” a mash up of “If I Had a Hammer” and “We Shall Overcome.” During a section which she referred to as “Silly Syllables,” she also sang a series of nonsense lyrics which included “da doo run run,” “shoop shoop,” “pa pa ooh ma ma,” “we oop” and “na na na na na na.”
There were several moments during McGovern’s show that were especially moving. One occurred when she sang “The Water is Wide,” with lyrics from Corinthians 13, the love chapter in the New Testament of the Bible. During her introduction of the song, McGovern revealed that the song would be included in a new album of spiritual music that she is currently recording. Another was her heartrending interpretation of Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man.” Lastly, McGovern was stunning as she sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” acapella, to an audience that was hushed and riveted.
So as not to disappoint those present who were anticipating it, McGovern, during her encore, sang her iconic signature song, “The Morning After.” Performing it with freshness and nuance, the gifted entertainer made it sound like she was singing it for the very first time. It was a superb finish to a well-programmed show in which McGovern made each and every song her very own.
Prior to McGovern’s performance, two Ball State musical theatre students Casey Prins and Lincoln Clauss sang “When I Sing In My Car” and “Buddy’s Blues,” respectively. Both exhibited poise and talent which bodes well for their futures in show business.
For tickets and information about the Cabaret at the Columbia Club’s 2016 winter/spring season call (317) 275-1169 or visit thecabaret.org.