Leading Actors Lend Their Voices to Boston Pops’ Tribute to the Kennedy Brothers

Looking ahead to the upcoming week, on Tuesday actors Morgan Freeman, the voice of the CBS Evening News, and Robert DeNiro, Ed Harris and Cherry Jones (“President Allison Taylor” on Fox’s 24), will narrate “the world premiere performance of The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers – the centerpiece of the Boston Pops’ 125th anniversary season celebration,” a production which “combines quotes from speeches by the Kennedy brothers with original text and video, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral and choral score” so it “pays tribute to the towering achievements and singular spirit epitomized by the Kennedy brothers – the call to public service, drive for social change, and the legacy of optimism for America's future.”

Actor Alec Baldwin will take the lead for a July 18 performance at Tanglewood and actor Chris Cooper will narrate a Hyannis Village Green event August 1. Plus, “The Dream Lives On will receive additional performances” on July 4 “at the Charles River Esplanade as part of the annual Pops Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular concert,” an event usually broadcast by CBS and hosted by the Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson.

A promotional video features “Tony Award-winning lyricist Lynn Ahrens” relating the lyrics she created for the concert:

Now on the rain-slicked streets of Boston and across the wind-swept Cape Code sea, over the din of Washington's halls and down the halls of history, their passionate words can still be heard, their highest ideals a clarion call; these three American brothers inspiring the best in us all.

(Countering any pretense this isn’t political, the press release touted: “The title of the work was taken from the closing lines of Ted Kennedy’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.”)

In the video, Ahrens admired her own brilliance to match the marvel of the Kennedy brothers:

“They were athletes and scholars, practical jokers, sailors and singers with tales to tell. We called them by their nicknames, rebelled in their exploits, followed in thir footsteps and mourned when they fell.” And those two lines just seemed to me to be the tidiest and smallest summation of these three huge lives. And then I went on:

“Now on the rain-slicked streets of Boston and across the wind-swept Cape Code sea, over the din of Washington’s halls and down the halls of history, their passionate words can still be heard, their highest ideals a clarion call; these three American brothers inspiring the best in us all.”  

And I felt that was a leaping off point into their magnificent speeches. And you know they’re kind of a hard act to proceed or to follow because they are so amazing in their words. So anyway, that was a humble way of picturing the three men, painting a little word portrait and going from there.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center