Maureen McGovern’s Long and Winding Road
One-woman show revisits an era, in song
In the slide show above, Maureen McGovern discusses the inspiration that brought her to A Long and Winding Road.
“It was 1969, and by God, we were determined to change the world.”
Maureen McGovern is best known for her Billboard-topping hit “The Morning After,” the theme song from The Poseidon Adventure, which catapulted her to stardom and landed her an Academy Award.
But before she became America’s “disaster theme queen,” the strawberry blonde from Youngstown, Ohio, was singing tunes composed by folk icons Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins. “It was a very exciting and volatile time,” McGovern recalls. “Amidst the Vietnam War, there were these remarkable songwriters singing incredible songs of peace, hope, and justice.”
McGovern revisits the songs of that era in her one-woman show A Long and Winding Road, the current production of the Huntington Theatre Company. Part memoir, part concert, the play is a musical scrapbook chronicling the singer’s recollections from four decades: the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the Kent State University shootings, the AIDS crisis. “I’ve always been a storyteller through song,” McGovern says, “so recounting the story of my own long and winding road through the music of my youth wasn’t such a stretch.”
Although some may dismiss A Long and Winding Road as “just another Boomer show,” director Philip Himberg, who cowrote the script with McGovern, maintains that audiences of all generations will relate. “It’s less of a ‘me’ and more of an ‘our’ story,” he says. “It’s the universal tale of a woman finding her personal and artistic voice during a time of tremendous uncertainty.”
McGovern believes that the songs she weaves through the narrative — among them Paul Simon’s “America,” Mitchell’s “The Circle Game,” and Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer” — are still relevant. “In many ways, 1969 and 2009 parallel each other,” she says. “Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ ’ could have been written yesterday.”
The melodies may be mellow, but there’s an underlying sense of urgency. “Time is precious,” McGovern says, “and ‘someday’ is not in my vocabulary. The time to act is now. Raise your voice, raise your fist, and pass along the torch to the next generation.”
A Long and Winding Road runs at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston, through Sunday, November 15. Tickets range from $20 to $82.50 and may be purchased online, by phone at 617-266-0800, in person at the BU Theatre box office, 264 Huntington Ave., or at the BCA box office. Patrons 35 and younger may purchase $25 tickets (ID required), and there is a $5 discount for seniors and military personnel. Student rush tickets are available for $15 at the box office two hours before each performance, and members of the BU community get $10 off (ID required). Members of the BU community are eligible for a special subscription rate. Call 617-266-0800 for more information.
Vicky Waltz can be reached at email@example.com.+ Comments