Ex­pect to see him around

Metro USA (Boston) - - WKND -

Lith­gow, who grad­u­ated from Har­vard in 1967, helped cre­ate the an­nual event in 1992 while serv­ing on the Board of Overseers. The fes­ti­val has grown in size since then, and now fea­tures four days of art, mu­sic and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment.

This year’s fes­ti­val will be par­tic­u­larly spe­cial for Lith­gow, as he’s the re­cip­i­ent of the 2017 Har­vard Arts Medal.

“I come back ev­ery sin­gle spring. This time they’re giv­ing me the award I cre­ated 25 years ago,” Lith­gow says. “I’ve been say­ing no all these years, they fi­nally pre­vailed.” In ad­di­tion to the fes­ti­val, Lith­gow is spend­ing a lot of time in Mas­sachusetts this year, hav­ing re­cently signed on to co-star in “Daddy’s Home 2,” with Will Fer­rell and Bay State na­tives Mark Wahlberg and John Cena. Work­ing on the com­edy se­quel has been a blast for Lith­gow, who’s fi­nally get­ting a chance to ex­plore the city.

“It’s been great spend­ing spring in Bos­ton. I’m al­ways here in Cam­bridge for Arts First week­end, but Cam­bridge and Bos­ton are al­most dif­fer­ent na­tions,” Lith­gow says. “I know Cam­bridge so well, but I didn’t re­ally know Bos­ton that well un­til this job. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Lith­gow’s time in Cam­bridge proved to be a for­ma­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for the vet­eran ac­tor. The Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe win­ner re­calls putting on im­promptu shows with his theater and mu­sic friends, of­ten en­list­ing dancers and singers from the New Eng­land Con­ser­va­tory and Bos­ton Con­ser­va­tory to per­form pieces such as Igor Stravin­sky “The Soldier’s Tale.”

“It was ex­per­i­ment­ing with ev­ery­thing,” Lith­gow says. “We didn’t even want to be coun­seled or guided. We didn’t want men­tors. We were too ar­ro­gant.”

“That’s kind of what I wanted to cel­e­brate among Har­vard stu­dents,” he adds. “I think that’s more typ­i­cal than not of young Har­vard artists.”

John Lith­gow is head­ing back to school. ISTOCK

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