DIVA TALK: A Chat with Maureen McGovern

News   DIVA TALK: A Chat with Maureen McGovern Hello, diva lovers! I’m in London this week to catch Betty, Elaine, Lucie, Maria, Joanna and other gals. I’ve left you with a brief discussion I had with that multi-octave chanteuse, Maureen McGovern. Enjoy!

Hello, diva lovers! I’m in London this week to catch Betty, Elaine, Lucie, Maria, Joanna and other gals. I’ve left you with a brief discussion I had with that multi-octave chanteuse, Maureen McGovern. Enjoy!

Q I know you have performed several times at the now-closed Rainbow & Stars. Is this your first engagement at the Algonquin?
MM This is my second Algonquin engagement. The first was June of 1999.


QTell me a bit about your upcoming show. Is there a theme or a particular composer you’re highlighting? What songs can we expect to hear?
MM With a Song in My Heart” is the title of my new Algonquin show and forthcoming CD with Skitch Henderson and The New York Pops. It is a pre-centennial homage to Richard Rodgers, concentrating on the musical chapters of his life with Larry Hart and Oscar Hammerstein -- songs from Carousel, Connecticut Yankee, South Pacific, The Boys From Syracuse, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, The King and I, Babes in Arms, Garrick Gaieties, Higher and Higher, Love Me Tonight, On Your Toes, Spring Is Here and Too Many Girls.


Q When you’re putting together a new concert or cabaret show, how do you go about choosing the songs?
MM First of all, I have to love the song. Secondly, I look for music that is timeless and has a great lyric and melody. It should also be a song that stands on its own from its original setting . . . or a song that takes on a new meaning when heard in a different context. Each song has to emotionally have a beginning, middle and an end . . . as does the entire thread of the show. I often like to explore a body of work by a composer or lyricist, or a particular musical period of time. Within that context, I look for things that unfold a variety of emotions and points of view. Basically, I set out to love what I’m doing and have a great time doing it and invite the audience to take the journey with me.
Q I remember you once mentioned that you never had an official opening in a Broadway show because you had vocal problems during the opening of 3 Penny Opera. Is there any chance we might get you back on the Great White Way? Also, what were your Broadway experiences like in Nine and Pirates of Penzance?
MM I loved my experiences on Broadway and look forward to being back on the boards very soon. I recently performed in Letters From ‘Nam’ at the Kennedy Center’s In The Works series sponsored by ASCAP/DISNEY. Letters From ‘Nam’ is a new theatre piece with music by Paris Barclay, book and lyrics adapted by Paris Barclay from the book Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam. It was a profoundly moving experience.
My Broadway debut and 14-month run in Pirates of Penzance was an absolute joy. Nine had such gorgeous music, Tommy Tune’s brilliant direction, a great cast lead by the late Raul Julia. The show taught me infinite lessons in focus, concentration, discipline and mind over back pain, as I spent a goodly amount of the show seated on a raked box with my back to the audience . . . but I loved it!


Q Whenever I hear you in concert or on TV, I’m always impressed with the range and clarity of your instrument. How do you keep your voice so strong? What’s your daily regimen for vocal health? Do you work with a vocal coach at all?
MM Marge Rivingston has been my vocal coach for nearly 20 years. I worked with her weekly during Pirates and Nine and use her 30 minute “warm-up” tapes twice a day while performing. I still work with her periodically through the year on new projects. Since of late I tend to be singing 24/7(!), her greatest pearl of wisdom for me is SILENCE whenever possible. I have many food allergies and eat a mostly non-dairy (except for occasionally fat-free yogurt) vegetarian diet. I get as much sleep and exercise as possible -- love tap and yoga! All good for the pipes.


Q Are you working on any new recordings?
MM With a Song In My Heart will be released in stores and for direct mail in October by Reader’s Digest Music as a special pre Centennial celebration of Richard Rodgers’ music. I’m in pre-production for a live jazz big-band recording project, a Sondheim CD and a series of healing music CD’s.
In November, Joseph: King of Dreams video/DVD is being released by Dreamworks Home Entertainment. I play Joseph’s mother, Rachel, and sing two wonderful songs by John Bucchino, who wrote an absolutely gorgeous score. It also stars Ben Affleck, Mark Hamill, Steven Weber, David Campbell, Jodi Benson and Judith Light.


Q I am a big fan of the score to Carrie and wondered what you thought of the material, having done the original demo to the musical.
MM Carrie had a very promising “early” beginning and an enigmatic end!


Q What performers inspire you? What CDs would we find in your CD player today?
MM Performers who inspire me: Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Judy Collins, Annie Lennox, Cleo Laine. On my CD player you would find: “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman,” anything by Dori Caymmi, Ivan Lins, Oscar Castro-Neves or Joao Gilberto, “Eden” by Sarah Brightman, “Christmas” by The Singers Unlimited (all year long!), anything by Faure, Debussy, Ravel or Delius, “Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Songbook,” “The Mel Torme Collection 1944 - 1985,” “G. I. Jo” by Jo Stafford, “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell, “Nothing Like The Sun” by Sting, “Bill Evans With Symphony,” “Where Is Love?” by Irene Kral and Alan Broadbent.

McGovern will be appearing at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City from Sept. 8 through Sept. 14. Be sure to catch this wonderful entertainer live! McGovern’s complete concert listing follows:


Aug. 27 at Boardman High School Benefit (McGovern's alma mater), in Boardman, OH
Sept. 3 & 4 Jerry Lewis Telethon in Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 6 Tribute to Mel Torme at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 8 to Oct. 14 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, NY
Oct. 23 Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation Benefit Concert with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Dec. 8-11 Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Portland, OR
Dec. 12 Holiday concert with the Oregon Symphony in Salem, OR

REMINDERS:

SARAH BRIGHTMAN
U.S. Concert Schedule:
Sept. 19 in Portland, ME
Sept. 20 in Rochester, NY at the Auditorium Centre
Sept. 22 in New York, NY at the Theatre @ MSG
Sept. 23 in Atlantic City, NJ at the Mark G. Etess Arena
Sept. 24 in Wallingford, CT at the Oakdale Theater
Sept. 26 in Providence, RI at the PAC
Sept. 27 in Lowell, MA at the Memorial Auditorium
Sept. 29 in Philadelphia, PA at the Mann Center
Sept. 30 in Washington, DC at the Patriot Center
Oct. 2 in Norfolk, VA at the Scope Arena
Oct. 4 in Miami, FL at the AA Arena /Nat. Car Rental Arena
Oct. 5 in Tampa, FL at the Ice Palace
Oct. 6 in Atlanta, GA at the Civic Center
Oct. 8 in New Orleans, LA at the Saenger Theatre
Oct. 9 in Dallas, TX at the Reunion Arena/Starplex Amph.
Oct. 10 in Houston, TX at the Aerial Theatre
Oct. 13 in Columbus, OH at the Nationwide Arena
Oct. 14 in Detroit, MI at the Palace
Oct. 15 in Cleveland, OH at the CSU Convocation Centre
Oct. 17 in St. Paul, MN at the Minn. Wild Arena
Oct. 20 in Las Vegas, NV at the MGM Grand
Oct. 21 in Santa Barbara, CA at the Santa Barbara Bowl
Oct. 22 in San Diego, CA at the SDSU Open Air Theatre
Oct. 24 in Los Angeles, CA at the Universal Amphitheatre
Oct. 26 in Sacramento, CA at the Arco Arena
Oct. 27 in San Jose, CA at the San Jose Arena
Oct. 29 in Portland, OR at the Rose Garden
Oct. 31 in Seattle, WA at the Paramount/Key Arena
Nov. 5 in Spokane, WA at the Arena
Nov. 7 in Salt Lake City, UT at the Delta Center
Nov. 8 in Denver, CO at the Magness Arena
Nov. 11 in Chicago, IL at the Chicago Theatre
Nov. 13 in St. Louis, MO
Nov. 14 in Grand Rapids, MI at the Van Andel Arena
Nov. 15 in Milwaukee, WI at the Riverside Theatre

BETTY BUCKLEY
Several new concert dates have been added to BB’s always-growing schedule:

Now through Sept. 3 Donmar Warehouse in London, UK
Sept. 9 & 10 Robert Park Auditorium in Taunton, MA
Sept. 15 Southern Theater in Columbus, OH
Sept. 16 Stranahan Theatre in Toledo, OH
Oct. 6 & 7 Scottsdale Center for the Arts Theatre in Scottsdale, AZ
Oct. 28 Univ. of Texas Cowan Fine & Perf. Arts Center in Tyler, TX
Nov. 10 & 11 University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT
Jan. 5, 2001 Koger Center for the Arts (Univ. of SC) in Columbia, SC
Jan. 6 Georgia Institute of Technology Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA
Jan. 19-28 Florida Condo Tour in Florida
March 3 at the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA
May 12 at the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts in Staten Island, NY
June 17 at the Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans, LA BARBARA COOK
Cook’s concert itinerary follows:

Sept. 14 at the Poway Center for the Perf. Arts in Poway, CA
Sept. 21 & 22 at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia
Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 at the Orange County Perf. Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA
Oct. 20 & 21 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
Dec. 5 at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ
Feb. 2, 2001 at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY
Feb. 23 and 24 with Michael Feinstein at the Cerritos Center for the Perf. Arts in Cerritos, CA

LINDA EDER
Eder in concert:


Aug. 25 with Feinstein at The Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL; go to www.ravinia.org
Aug. 26 Boys & Girls Club Fundraiser at The River Center w/ Michael Feinstein in Minneapolis, MN
Sept. 26 at the Jones Hall w/Houston Symphony in Houston, TX; call (713) 224-7575
Nov. 4 at the Westbury Music Fair in Long Island, NY; call (516) 334 0800
Nov. 17 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ; call (732) 246 SHOW
Nov. 18 at the State Theatre in Easton, PA; call (610) 252-3132
Nov. 19 at the Strand-Capitol Theatre in York, Penn.
Jan. 12 & 13, 2001 in Charlotte, NC at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center; (704) 372-1000
Jan. 21 in Naples, FL at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts; (941) 597-1900
Feb. 1 & 2 in Phoenix, AZ at the Orpheum Theatre
Feb. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; (202) 467-4600
March 8 in Clearwater, FL at the Ruth Eckerd Hall; (727) 791-7400
March 9 in Sarasota, FL at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; www.vanwezel.org
March 10 in Melbourne, FL at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts; (407) 242-2219
May 31-June 3 in Pittsburgh, PA at Heinz Hall; call (412) 392-4900

PATTI LUPONE
Several concert dates have been added to Patti LuPone’s ever-growing schedule. What follows are La LuPone’s confirmed concert appearances as of this week:
Sept. 9 ("Matters of the Heart") at the Valentine Theatre in Toledo, Ohio; (419) 242-2787
Sept. 23 at the University of Maine in Orono; (800) 622-8499
Oct. 7 ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda") with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham, Alabama; (205) 458-8401
Nov. 3 ("Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda") with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky (502) 583-4555
April 8 ("Matters Of The Heart") at Duke University’s Page Auditorium in Durham, North Carolina; (919) 684-4444
Jan. 5-7, 2001 at the Morton J. Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX (214) 871-4000

KAREN MASON
Sept. 6 - Oct. 15 Returns to Arci’s Place, 450 Park Avenue South; NYC; (212) 532-4370
Oct. 17 Appearance at ASCAP evening at the Cabaret Convention at Town Hall, NYC
Nov. 1-12 Appearance at The Plush Room in San Francisco’s York Hotel; (415) 885-2800
Dec. 6-10 Karen performs her Christmas Show at Davenports in Chicago, IL (773) 278-1830

AUDRA McDONALD
Audra McDonald’s most recent concert listing follows:
Sept. 28-30 with the National Symphony Orchestra
Oct. 7 in Atlanta, GA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 14 in Hershey, PA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 21 in Los Angeles, CA at UCLA’s Royce Hall
Oct. 22 in San Diego, CA (venue to be announced)
Oct. 28 in Fort Worth, TX (venue to be announced)
Dec. 30 in West Palm Beach, FL at the Kravis Center

BERNADETTE PETERS
The two-time Tony winner will conclude her run in Annie Get Your Gun on September 2, when she will begin a U.S. concert tour:
Sept. 15 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City (with symphony)
Sept. 22 at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia
Oct. 6 at the Einsenhower Hall Theatre in West Point, NY
Oct. 7 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
Oct. 13 at the OnCenter War Memorial in Syracuse, NY
Jan. 5, 2001 at PAC in Tulsa, Oklahoma (with symphony)
Jan. 11 at the Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee
Jan. 13 at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
March 29 at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, NY
April 6 at the Bass Perf. Hall in Fort Worth, TX (with symphony)
April 7-8 at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX
April 19 at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto (with symphony)
April 28 at the Pasquerilla PAC in Johnstown, PA
May 11-12 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN (with symphony)
May 18-20 at the Myerson Hall in Dallas, TX (with symphony)

CHRISTIANE NOLL
Former star of Broadway’s Jekyll & Hyde, Christiane Noll will be hitting the concert circuit, performing throughout the USA. Noll will join other Broadway names in this concert tour, backed by some of the world’s greatest orchestras. Her complete schedule follows:
Sept. 22 with the Nashua Symphony in Nashua, NH; (800) 639-3101
Oct. 14 with the Cape Symphony Orchestra at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis, MA (508) 362-1111
Dec. 2 with Doug LaBrecque and Michael Maguire and the New London Symphony in New London, CT
Dec. 7-17 The Magic of Christmas with the Portland Symphony in Portland, ME; (207) 842-0800

Well, that’s all for now. Happy diva-watching!

By Andrew Gans