Maureen McGovern seems as comfortable onstage with one pianist as she is with a large cast of characters.
She will perform her "The Long and Winding Road" show Nov. 4 with pianist Jeff Harris at the Cabaret at Theater Square, Downtown. For the one-time Broadway and musical show star, shows this size provide a great option.
"There is just something incredibly free in doing this," she says. "It is not just putting together a collection of songs."
But it is, at least, analyzing a collection of songs. She says she and Harris looked at about 400 songs from a fairly contemporary songbook in assembling "The Long and Winding Road."
The result is a collection of material that ranges from "MacArthur Park" -- minus the huge arrangement -- to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'." It includes songs as light as the Beatles' "Rocky Racoon" and as sorrowful as "Fire and Rain."
"I think people have come to expect they are going to laugh as well as cry at my shows," she says.
The show here will include part of her one-person show "Carry It On," she says. She also is assembling material for a show called "Sing, My Sister, Sing," a look at the work of female singer- songwriters such as Laura Nyro and Carole King.
The variety of McGovern's music in some ways reflects the range of her career. She has performed in classic musicals such as "The Sound of Music" and "The Pirates of Penzance," performed a soundtrack hit that has followed her for 40 years and toured with a singer she calls her mentor, jazz legend Mel Torme.
Cabaret is simply another way to display her marvelous voice and sense of song.
McGovern, 64, a Youngstown, Ohio, native says Pittsburgh "always has been a good town" for her. It was here in 1981 she first performed as Maria in "The Sound of Music." That led her to getting the role as Mabel in Broadway's "Pirates of Penzance" three weeks later.
Before that, she had snared some fame with "The Morning After" from the soundtrack of "The Poseidon Adventure." That song topped pop charts in 1973 and has managed to stay with her since. She does not regret gaining a theme song.
"Whenever I talk to people about how that song gives them some hope in whatever they are going through, I am glad I sang it," she says. "Hope is contagious and necessary."
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.
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