Maureen McGovern: A 45th Anniversary “Poseidon Adventure” Pajama Party

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Maureen McGovern

A 45th Anniversary Poseidon Adventure Pajama Party

Birdland, NYC, April 23, 2018

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Maureen McGovern
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

Maureen McGovern, celebrating the 45th anniversary of her theme song, “The Morning After,” was a hit and a miss. The hit, of course, was the glorious voice, which continues strong and clear, as well as the generosity of including a plentiful amount of numbers in the show.

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The miss was an unfocused presentation, which took its toll on the continuity and professionalism of the evening. The pajama party idea was quickly abandoned after the opening number, in which the diva appeared in bathrobe and slippers, clutching a large photo of the late Christopher Reeve as Superman. To his image she sang her hit, “Can You Read My Mind?” Therein followed a loose narrative based on songs from films, but which read like a first draft rather than a polished final presentation. Yet, indisputably grand was McGovern’s delivery on any number of film-based works, including “We May Never Love Like This Again,” “Charade,” and “The Rose.”

Standards were liberally sprinkled throughout, such as “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” and “The Boy Next Door.” McGovern paired many of her selections, including “Love Walked In” with “Embraceable You” and “Another Song About Paris” with an intensely heartfelt rendition of “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” Her a cappella “Over the Rainbow” was breathtaking, invoking a silence in the room where the proverbial dropping pin would have been thunderous.

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Yet, she went up on lyrics at least twice and, for much of the show, relied on reading music from charts placed on a music stand. That was a distraction unworthy of a singer of her experience and stature. All the more the pity since McGovern has a likeable stage presence with a wonderful sense of humor. Music director and pianist was Jeff Harris, one of those accomplished players who, through lushness of style, magically can sound like an entire orchestra.

Marilyn Lester

Marilyn Lester left journalism and commercial writing behind nearly two decades ago to write plays. That branch in the road led to screenwriting, script-doctoring, dramaturgy and producing for the stage. Marilyn has also co-authored, as well as edited, books. It seemed the only world of words she hadn’t conquered was criticism, an opportunity that presented itself via Theater Pizzazz. Marilyn has since sought to widen her scope in this form of writing she especially relishes. Marilyn is a member of the Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, Women in the Arts and Media and The League of Professional Theater Women.