Euan Morton at The Metropolitan Room: Art In Music

By: Apr. 26, 2007
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I was asked to review Euan Morton's cabaret engagement at The Metropolitan Room with the understanding that it was a work in progress, but really, there was no need for any extra critical kindness.  Morton is the type of performer who seems to excel when working off the cuff (and after the performance one of his agents assured me that just about everything he did between songs was off the cuff) and his perfectly charming evening called Art In Music is another happy highlight in the career of the adventurous young actor who has become one of New York theatre's most interesting performers since making his Broadway debut as Boy George in Taboo.

Morton's vocals are uncomplicated and melodic with a pleasingly simple tenor and gift for lyric interpretation that is completely captivating.  He's at his strongest when appearing most fragile, as in a painfully emotional "If I Loved You" that softly contemplates the sadness of a missed opportunity, or while flashing a wide open, but bittersweet smile during "Leavin' On A Jet Plane."  Tender renditions of "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" and "Anything You Want" are offset by loud and rowdy numbers that comically proclaim his distaste for President Bush and the Republican Party.

Between songs he can be wonderfully goofy just chatting about how the shoes he's wearing were stolen from a bowling alley, his starring role in the musical Caligula ("I got naked.  I haven't worked since.") or impulsively riffing on the notion of singing our fights instead of hitting each other.  (I won't describe it.  It was a hilarious you-had-to-be-there moment.)  He's very casual and relaxed working the intimate room ("Does anyone have anything interesting that happened to them this week?"), merrily joking with music director Bryan Reeder who delivers fine accompaniment at piano.

Not one to hog the stage, Morton invited a guest singer named Kenny (I don't think his last name was ever mentioned), a backstage worker currently employed at the Broadway production of Hairspray and who hasn't performed in ten years, to sing a hearty "King Of The Road."

The final performances of Euan Morton's Art In Music are scheduled for May 6th and May 13th.  If this is a work in progress, it's progressing extremely well.


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