The Huntington Theatre Company continues its 28th season - a season of American Stories - with Grammy Award winner, Broadway star, and pop icon Maureen McGovern's world premiere musical memoir A Long and Winding Road, conceived and written by Philip Himberg and Maureen McGovern and presented in cooperation with Arena Stage. Chronicling the moments that define the Baby Boomer Generation, Ms. McGovern returns to her roots as a folk singer as she performs the classic songs The New York Times has dubbed "the second half of the Great American Songbook." Sundance Institute Producing Artistic Director Philip Himberg directs; Jeffrey Harris provides musical direction and accompaniment.
"When I listen to Maureen sing, I discover new layers in songs I've known for decades," says Huntington Artistic Director Peter Dubois. "In this time of uncertainty and change in our country, her reintroduction of great American songs that inspired hope and purpose in a generation is cathartic and inspiring."
A Long and Winding Road revisits the hope-filled years of the 1960s, the tumultuous era of Vietnam, Watergate, the Civil Rights movement, the AIDS crisis, and on to today and its hope of a better tomorrow. It includes beloved music by Bob Dylan ("The Times, They Are a-Changin'"), Carole King ("You've Got a Friend"), The Beatles ("Let it Be"), Joni Mitchell ("All I Want," Paul Simon ("America"), Laura Nyro ("And When I Die"), and many more.
Maureen McGovern's (Performer, Conceiver, Writer) almost 40-year career includes Grammy Award nominations for "Best New Artist" and "Best Traditional Pop Vocal," a Grammy Award for "Best Musical Recording for Children" for her participation in "Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers," and the Academy Award-winning Gold Records "The Morning After" (Billboard #1) and "We May Never Love Like This Again." Her PS Classics release A Long and Winding Road was praised by The New York Times as "a captivating musical scrapbook from the 1960s to the early ‘70s. Ms. McGovern is blessed with a vocal technique second to none." Other critically acclaimed musical tributes include her Gershwin, Arlen, Rodgers, Marilyn and Alan Bergman CDs and more.
On Broadway, Ms. McGovern appeared in Little Women, The Musical, creating the role of Marmee, for which she was nominated for a 2005 Drama Desk Award, The Pirates of Penzance, Nine, 3 Penny Opera, and the recent national tours of Little Women, The Musical and The King and I. Off Broadway, she appeared in Brownstone, originating the role of Mary. Regionally, she has performed in Maureen McGovern: A Long and Winding Road (world premiere at Arena Stage, presented in cooperation with the Huntington), Elegies, Dear World, Letters From 'Nam (originating the role of Eleanor Bridges, at the North Shore Music Theatre), The Lion in Winter, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Of Thee I Sing, Let 'Em Eat Cake, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Guys & Dolls, I Do, I Do, and The Bengal Tiger's Ball (composed the music, co-created, and starred). She also appeared in The Towering Inferno and as the guitar-strumming nun in the film Airplane!, and lent her voIce To DreamWorks' animated feature Joseph: King of Dreams.
"Peter [DuBois]'s invaluable guidance helped greatly in the development of A Long and Winding Road," says Ms. McGovern. "I am so grateful to him and to the Huntington Theatre Company for providing a nurturing workshop environment with invited audiences last spring. I'm looking forward to returning to the Huntington with the piece in October."
Philip Himberg (Conceiver, Writer, Director) is the producing artistic director of The Sundance Institute Theatre Program, where he has created and overseen the developmental theatre laboratories since 1997. Sundance Theatre is a nationally recognized program, and under Mr. Himberg's aegis, it has successfully developed over 150 new works for the stage, including such titles as The Light in the Piazza, Grey Gardens, 33 Variations, Passing Strange, Spring Awakening, and I Am My Own Wife, among many others. Mr. Himberg's directing credits include the world premiere concert of William Finn's Songs of Innocence and Experience at Williams College and Merkin Hall in New York. He directed the world premiere of Terrence McNally's Some Men at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and most recently, Reprise/LA's revival of Flora, The Red Menace starring Eden Espinosa. For the Sundance Summer Theatre: Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, and Dear World. He is also an author; his essay, "Family Albums" appears in the Dutton Anthology, Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. He is a trustee of Theatre Communications Group.
Jeffrey Harris (Musical Director, Conductor/Pianist) is equally at home as a pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, and lyricist. He has worked with such diverse singers as Maureen McGovern, Chaka Khan, Barbara Cook, Jack Jones, Audra McDonald, and Cleo Laine. His longest association has been with Ms. McGovern, playing on and arranging six of her CDs, writing many songs for her (she has recorded sixteen), and appearing with her frequently on television and in concerts. Mr. Harris has worked extensively on Broadway as both pianist and conductor, most recently as associate musical director for Gypsy (starring Patti LuPone; directed by Arthur Laurents). Other Broadway credits include On the Town (directed by George C. Wolfe), Chicago, Fosse, Beauty and the Beast, and Crazy for You. He is a frequent guest as a pianist and conductor with many of the leading orchestras including the Boston, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit, and National Symphony Orchestras, and as a regular member of the New York Pops. As a composer for the theatre, he most recently composed Pinocchio (book and lyrics by Susan DiLallo), which has been produced at South Coast Repertory Theater and at Omaha Theater Company.
The Huntington's season of American stories is the first in the Company's 28-year history comprised entirely of shows by American writers. The plays of the season relate to one another through stories of opportunities lost and found, of intergenerational struggles and successes, and of the most intimate and meaningful relationships. Drawn from some of the best writing the country has to offer, the Huntington will engage its audience in a season-long conversation about issues of race, class, values, and a shared American experience. "This season at the Huntington, we are taking on a range of compelling American writing," says Mr. DuBois. "Each production offers us a singular point of view about the American experience, and I'm very excited by the diverse perspectives these artists bring."
The creative team for A Long and Winding Road includes scenic designer Cristina Todesco (The Atheist for the Huntington, Culture Project at the Barrow Street Theater, and Williamstown Theatre Festival; Grey Gardens for The Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Picasso at the Lapin Agile for New Repertory Theatre); costume designer Charles Schoonmaker (The Einstein Project and Faith Healer at Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Light in the Piazza and The Wrestling Patient at SpeakEasy Stage Company), lighting designer David Lander (2009 Tony Award nomination for 33 Variations; A Man for All Seasons, I Am My Own Wife, Dirty Blonde, and Golden Child on Broadway), projection designer Maya Ciarrocchi (Tales from the Salt City at Syracuse Stage, Fire Throws at 3LD, On The Way to Timbuktu at Ensemble Studio Theater, and sound designer Ben Emerson (Fences, The Miracle at Naples, What the Butler Saw at the Huntington). Production stage manager is Kathryn Most.
The Huntington's Grand Patron is Boston University. The 2009-2010 Season Sponsor is J. David Wimberly. Production Co-Sponsors of A Long and Winding Road are Cokie and Lee Perry.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston's largest and most popular theatre company, hosting 64 Tony Award-winning artists, garnering 36 Elliot Norton Awards, and sending ten shows to Broadway since its founding in 1982. In July 2008, Peter Dubois became the Huntington's third artistic leader and works in partnership with longtime Managing Director Michael Maso. In residence at and in partnership with Boston University, the Huntington is renowned for presenting seven outstanding productions each season, created by world-class artists and the most promising emerging talent, and reaching an annual audience of over 130,000. The company has premiered plays by Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, and Tony Award-winning luminaries such as August Wilson and Tom Stoppard, as well as rising local literary stars such as Melinda Lopez and Ronan Noone. The Huntington has transferred more productions to Broadway than any other theatre in Boston, including current Broadway hit and Tony Award-winner Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. In 2004, the Huntington opened the state-of-the-art Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, which includes 370-seat and 200-seat theatres to support the company's new works activities and to complement the company's 890-seat, Broadway-style main stage, the Boston University Theatre. The Huntington is a national leader in the development and support of new plays, producing more than 50 New England, American, or world premieres in its 28-year history. The Huntington's nationally-recognized education programs have served more than 200,000 middle school and high school students in individual and group settings and community programs bring theatre to the Deaf and blind communities, the elderly, and other underserved populations in the Greater Boston area.