Maureen McGovern’s career spans 35 years, including recordings, concerts, Broadway, films, television, radio and composing, all with a voice that defies categorization. From a jazzy, warm pop register, Maureen glides easily into a crystalline coloratura. It is no wonder she has been called, "The Stradivarius Voice." Her appearances with America's most prestigious symphony orchestras are highlighted by duets with orchestra members in which her voice matches the tonal quality and dexterity of various instruments. She has earned a reputation for being one of America's most popular artists. To quote Mel Tormé: "Maureen McGovern is, quite simply, the most glorious singer to come down the pike in several months of Sundays. Possessed of one of the finest vocal instruments in the world, a range that hasn't been matched since Yma Sumac stunned us all decades ago, and the ability to softly breathe into a lyric or ‘read’ the words in a clear, strong voice, perfectly in tune; she is positively daunting to the parade of soubrettes who wish they could sing like Maureen McGovern. Add the fact that she is the loveliest of them all in form and face, and it is easy to under-stand why she is a world-class performer."
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Maureen was featured on Disney Records' Winnie the Pooh Celebration CD, Take My Hand: Songs from the 100 Acre Wood, which was certified Gold in 1998. She received her second Grammy nomination in 1999 for The Pleasure of His Company, a piano/voice CD with jazz pianist, Mike Renzi. She has also participated in six Grammy nominated recordings. Maureen is featured singing a Brazilian jazz version "This Is Just The Day" on the Grammy winning, "Best Musical Recording for Children" CD/DVD, Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers.
A singer with a vocal range of unparalleled purity, Maureen has earned rave reviews for her current recordings The Music Never Ends: The Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Out of This World: McGovern Sings Arlen (both CDs feature new bonus cuts produced and recorded by Maureen.) Her beloved Bergman tribute CD showcases the best of the Bergmans, with music by contemporary composers including Marvin Hamlisch, Michel Legrand, John Williams, Dave Grusin, Johnny Mandel, Dori Caymmi, Roger Kellaway and David Shire. Maureen's tribute to Arlen pays a Centennial celebration tribute to the music of the great Harold Arlen.
Ms. McGovern's recording career began with her #1 chart-topping, Oscar winning International Gold Record "The Morning After" from the blockbuster film The Poseidon Adventure followed by a Grammy nomination for "Best New Artist." She replicated this success with another Oscar winning International Gold Record, "We May Never Love Like This Again," from The Towering Inferno. Maureen made history in 1975 as the first singer to have recorded and introduced two Oscar nominated songs in the same year, "We May Never Love Like This Again" and "Wherever Love Takes Me" from Gold. She is the recipient of International Gold Records from the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and the Philippines and has also won the Grand Prize award at the 1975 Tokyo Music Festival. Other hit records include the John Williams and Leslie Bricusse love theme "Can You Read My Mind," (Billboard Top 10 and #1 AC hit) from the motion picture Superman and "Different Worlds," (Billboard Top 20 and #1 AC hit) the theme from the ABC television series Angie.
Maureen recorded four highly-acclaimed albums for CBS Records: Another Woman In Love, a CD of classic standards spanning seven decades, accompanied solely by New York jazz pianist Mike Renzi, State of the Heart, a fully orchestrated collection of contemporary love songs written mainly by composer/arranger Jeffrey D. Harris and lyricist Judy Barron, Naughty Baby, a live, in-studio concert of Gershwin classics which The New York Times dubbed the 'quintessential Gershwin CD' and Christmas with Maureen McGovern, a treasure of seasonal favorites from the 14th Century to the present.
Other notable recordings include the RCA Victor release Baby I'm Yours, a collection of “baby boomer” favorites from 1955-1970, the Grammy nominated TELARC recording Amen! A Gospel Celebration with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, and With a Song in My Heart: The Great Songs of Richard Rodgers featuring the late Skitch Henderson and The New York Pops, celebrating the Richard Rodgers Centennial. Maureen has recorded more than 25 albums and has been a guest on other numerous prestigious recordings, including a duet with Placido Domingo, "A Love Until the End of Time,” the CBS recording of Bernstein's "Glitter and Be Gay" and Faure's "Pavane" with the Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York.
Maureen's feature film roles include Airplane! (playing 'Sister Angelina,' the guitar-strumming nun), Airplane II: The Sequel, The Towering Inferno, and the independent film The Cure for Boredom (aka Sex and Bullets.) Maureen is also heard as the voice of 'Rachel' in the DreamWorks animated video/DVD Joseph: King of Dreams with Ben Affleck.
Maureen returned to Broadway's 2005 season, originating the role of 'Marmee' in Little Women, The Musical for which she received a Drama Desk nomination. "Maureen McGovern's Marmee emerges as Little Women's chief asset. As singer and actress, McGovern exudes a shimmering warmth ideally suited to the mother..." USA Today. "Maureen McGovern's Marmee is superb - her speaking voice is as musical as her singing." Wall Street Journal. "There is one performance worth seeing, and that is being given by Maureen McGovern as the faithful maternal Marmee. McGovern has dignity and a warmth that surrounds her like a golden bubble, not to mention that rich, honest voice that ennobles any song it touches." Toronto Star.
Maureen received a Drama Desk nomination and reprised her role as ‘Marmee’ in the 2005-2006 Broadway National Tour of Little Women. Critics and audiences alike were equally as delighted with her definitive portrayal of ‘Mrs. Anna’ in the recent Broadway National Tour of The King And I. Maureen performed in the West Coast Premiere of William Finn's Elegies at the Canon Theatre, and starred as 'Countess Aurelia' in an historic revival of the Jerry Herman musical Dear World (an adaptation of The Madwoman Of Chaillot) at The Sundance Institute Theatre. She originated the role of ‘Eleanor Bridges’ in the world premiere of Letters From 'Nam at Boston's North Shore Music Theatre. Other performances include her dramatic debut role as ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine’ in The Lion In Winter at The Carpenter Square Theater, ‘Madame Emery’ in The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg at the Sundance Theatre and as ‘Mary Turner’ in George Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing in the 'Reprise' series at UCLA's Freud Playhouse.
Ms. McGovern made her Broadway debut in 1981 as ‘Mabel’ in the Joseph Papp production of The Pirates Of Penzance and was hailed by then New York Times critic Frank Rich as "...a winning comedian... a real find for the musical theatre." Other Broadway roles include ‘Luisa Contini’ in the Tony Award winning production of Nine with the late Raul Julia and as ‘Polly Peachum’ opposite Sting in 3 Penny Opera. Off-Broadway, she originated the role of ‘Mary’ in Brownstone. Maureen has also starred in productions of The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Guys & Dolls (playing both ‘Sarah’ and ‘Adelaide’) and I Do, I Do. Her children's musical, The Bengal Tiger's Ball, premiered in 1999. Maureen wrote the captivating music, co-created and starred in the production.
Ms. McGovern’s love affair with Gershwins’ music has received countless accolades. She performed on the PBS/BBC Emmy award-winning television special Celebrating Gershwin marking the 50th Anniversary of the composer’s death. She also starred with Larry Kert and Jack Gilford in the historic concert revival of Of Thee I Sing/Let 'Em Eat Cake at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Kennedy Center. The CBS Masterworks recording also received a Grammy nomination. Maureen performed in the George Gershwin Centennial Celebration at the London Palladium. Regarding her Gershwin interpretations, Clive Barnes of The New York Post wrote, "...the stylish Maureen McGovern can sing Gershwin like Joan Sutherland can sing Donizetti."
Maureen performed with the Boston Pops on their 2006 Christmas Special, Holiday at Pops on PBS. She has starred in her own PBS special, Maureen McGovern: Live at Wolftrap and guest starred with Buddy Rich in his last public performance on Sentimental Swing: A Tribute to the Music of Tommy Dorsey hosted by Mel Tormé. Her many symphonic television guest appearances include the Boston Pops: Pops Goes the Fourth for A&E and the PBS telecast of John Williams' 10th Boston Pops Anniversary Concert. Other television highlights include many appearances with the National Symphony including two A Capitol Fourth Specials with Erich Kunzel and Henry Mancini, and the PBS D-Day 50th Commemorative Memorial Day Concert (saluting Veterans and attended by her own late father, a D-Day Veteran) with Erich Kunzel and the National Symphony on The Mall in Washington, D.C. Maureen also starred in the PBS Special Happy Birthday George Gershwin with the Dallas Symphony conducted by Andrew Litton (available on CD/DVD) and the George and Ira Gershwin Centennial Specials at The Palladium and Royal Albert Hall in London for the BBC.
Ms. McGovern was a guest host on Lifetime television’s comedy series, Girls Night Out. Her television roles include ‘Dr. Berg’ on USA Network’s Pacific Blue, the fortune teller, ‘Mrs. Hatchigan’ on Beyond Belief, Tracey Ullman’s mother in a mother/daughter singing duo on the Fox Network show Tracey Ullman, and a guest appearance as herself on ABC’s daytime drama One Life to Live. Maureen also provided the singing voice of 'Ajax' on USA Network’s Duckman.
Ms. McGovern spent three seasons as a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor's live radio show, The American Radio Company of the Air for American Public Radio.
Maureen's Carnegie Hall performances are highlighted by her solo debut in 1989 which launched her Naughty Baby: McGovern Sings Gershwin CD, in appearances as Mel Tormé’s special guest for the legendary Kool Jazz Festival, the Centennial Celebrations of Irving Berlin and Oscar Hammerstein, as well as the Cole Porter, and George & Ira Gershwin Centennial Celebrations, both at Carnegie Hall and in London. Ms. McGovern has performed in extensive cross-country tours with jazz greats Mel Tormé, Mercer Ellington and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and co-starred with John Pizzarelli in a 36 city tour.
Ms. McGovern is a much sought after guest for symphony concerts. She has appeared with every major symphony including the Boston Pops, New York Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Baltimore Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Dallas Symphony and the National Symphony to name a few.
Maureen received rave reviews for her performances at The Hollywood Bowl's Jazz Tribute to Mel Tormé. Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "...McGovern was up to the task singing with astonishing musical facility. Her scatting on "I'm Late" and "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" was astounding. And her a cappella rendering of "Skylark" (a tune some singers have difficulty delivering in tune even with accompaniment) was both a musical and a storytelling tour de force. Tormé would have loved every minute of her presentation."
Maureen has performed for years in New York City cabaret and clubs to rave reviews in such venues as the legendary Rockefeller Center's Rainbow & Stars, Le Jazz Au Bar and Birdland. Her performances at the famed Algonquin's Oak Room garnered raves from Stephen Holden of The New York Times who wrote: "...Ms. McGovern's gorgeous voice and the melodies of Richard Rodgers were meant for each other... Not only is the singer the closest American equivalent to Julie Andrews in her vocal prime, but she also adds a jazzy, coloratura panache."
Along with composing her children's musical, The Bengal Tiger's Ball, Maureen also composed “I Want to Learn to Fly” (lyrics by Judy Barron), a song that accompanies an illustrated children's story for Scholastic Books. Maureen also co-wrote “Born in the Heart” with Jeffrey D. Harris and Michele Pace Hofbauer which she recorded with Sara Harris and The United Nations International School Concert Choir and featured on her Works of Heart: Songs of Hope CD.
In 2006, Maureen founded the Maureen McGovern Works of Heart Foundation for Music and Healing. She released the CD Works of Heart: Songs of Hope featuring a newly recorded 30th Anniversary version of her signature song "The Morning After." This first-in-a-series CD is her gift of hope to individuals who face insurmountable odds and to address the emotional and inspirational needs of patients and caregivers.
Her current Works of Heart release (in partnership with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) is "Help is on the Way." Ms. McGovern is an Artist Spokesperson for The American Music Therapy Association and is the recipient of the "Songs From The Heart" Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and the American Music Therapy Association, the "David Bodian Memorial Award" from the Post-Polio Institute, and the CUNY "Lifetime Achievement Award" for her more than two decades of active service to causes serving people with disabilities. Maureen is the recipient of the 2007 Imagination Award, presented by Imagination Stage, for her work with children, the Arts and philanthropy.
Ms. McGovern devotes her energies to a number of charitable organizations. She is a National Board member of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and serves as the National Chairperson for the Polymyositis/Dermatomyositis Division of MDA, and serves as the National Spokesperson and familiar face of the Shamrocks Against Dystrophy yearly campaign. For the last 27 years, Maureen has performed on the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, acting as New York City’s co-host for six years.
Maureen was named one of the Top 100 Irish-Americans by Irish America Magazine in April/May 2005 and recently received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Youngstown State University.
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