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Euan Morton Wows Center Stage Audience

Euan Morton Wows Center Stage Audience

It was back in 2003 when I first saw the Scottish actor/singer Euan Morton take on the role of Boy George in the Broadway musical Taboo and I'll never forget it.

And now you can get up close and personal with this terrific performer at Baltimore's Center Stage where he is performing with his talented accompanist Bryan Reeder until Sunday, November 15.

I knew he was a gifted performer but what a surprise it was to see his natural comedic talent on display as well.  It was as if the late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson (and yes he's also Scottish) could sing and act. The word entertainer surely fits Morton. He really wowed the Center Stage audience.

Dressed in a European cut suit (buttoned all night), stripped shirt, solid blue tie, and black sneakers, he opened the show with the 1989 Roy Orbison hit "You Got It" full of emotion.

Introducing the one song he sang from the musical Taboo "Pretty Lies", he thanked producer Rosie O'Donnell and Boy George.  He attempted to sing the song, but stopped due to a dry throat.  He asked for a bottle of whiskey to help. Morton then continued with the song. He didn't need the make-up or wig to get into his character. It was very tender.

And then here comes the bottle of Jack Daniels courtesy of Center Stage's Managing Director Debbie Chinn. You should have seen the expression on Morton's face. He commented, "Well, get ready, now we'll be here to 5 in the morning."

Next came an homage to the 250th anniversary of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, "My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose", an 18th century tune with lyrics by Burns. This was followed by the Irish classic "Danny Boy" (whose lyrics were really written by an Englishman in America according to Morton).

What could be Morton's return to Broadway is the musical Caligula.  From the show, he sang the gorgeous love song "Hold You" by Eric Svejcar who is the book writer, composer, and lyricist.  Caligula won the 2004 Audience Award at the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

The beautiful balled "Ordinary Fool" originally sung by Karen Carpenter from the film "Bugsy Malone" was next. This was followed by a Julian Lennon song about the environment "Saltwater".

Maybe it is the influence of Robert Burns that Morton then read an anti-war poem written by John Denver, "The Box".

Morton sang one song from his CD "NewClear"...the haunting "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, moving about the audience as he sang. After a standing ovation, Morton went to the Jack Daniels and commented "I feel like Elaine Stritch" (and commented about the wonderful documentary on the Stephen Sondheim musical Company and how terrific Stritch was with her classic rendition of "Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch"). The obligatory encore was Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now".

Accompanying Morton on the piano was the gifted Bryan Reeder who since meeting Morton during Tommy at the Bay Street Theater on Long Island four years ago has been working with him. Look for the "Bryan Reeder Jazz Trio" in New York or the pop rock group "Where's Ilva".

After the show, Morton met with the audience and signed copies of his CD. To show how the Center Stage audience was enthralled with his work, fifty copies were sold.

Morton performs Saturday night Nov. 14 and Sunday afternoon, Nov. 15. For tickets, call 410-332-0033. Visit www.centerstage.org to hear audio clips of his music.

You can also visit his web site www.euanmortom.com.

If you have never seen Morton in concert you owe it to yourself to see him at Center Stage. If you cannot make it, you're in luck. He'll be appearing in Arlington, VA at the Signature Theatre with Natascia Diaz from Nov. 17 to Nov. 22 singing songs from musicals performed at the Signature that include Passion, Sunday in the Park with George, Working, A Little Night Music, and Tell Me on a Sunday. For tickets there, call 703-820-9771.

For comments, write to cgshubow@broadwayworld.com.


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