[Broadway Ad Network]

[Broadway Ad Network]

Follow Spot
by Michael Portantiere

Euan Morton's Roots

  • Euan-Morton.jpg

    You can take the boy out of Scotland, but...Euan Morton has not forgotten whence he came. Having received a Theatre World Award as well as Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League Award nominations for his Broadway debut role of Boy George in Taboo, and having subsequently shone in several other shows on and Off-Broadway, Euan returned for a visit to his homeland last year after an absence of six years.

    That trip inspired his new CD, Caledonia: The Homecoming; and the selections on that CD will serve as the basis for his upcoming show at Birdland on Sunday, May 29, at 6pm. Euan recently spoke with me from his new home in Washington, D.C. He was an hour late for our interview due to cell phone problems, but he apologized profusely when he finally got through, and here's what he had to say.


    BROADWAYSTARS: I'm glad technology finally allowed us to connect, Euan. We can do the interview now, if you'd like

    EUAN MORTON: That's great. I was panicking. I thought, "He's gonna be pissed at me, he's gonna shout at me!" Thank you for not shouting at me.

    STARS: It sounds like your show at Birdland is going to be wonderful. Will it mostly consist of songs from your new album?

    EUAN: Yes, but not with the band that's on the album; it will be the band I've been working with ever since I started doing concerts at the Zipper. I wanted to give a modern sound to the traditional Scottish songs.

    STARS: You've done very well in America, but it's great that you're musically exploring your roots.

    EUAN: I've met so many people in this country who have a connection to Scotland. Being Scottish in America certainly opens more doors than being Scottish in England. So many people here have family history there, and their pride in their Scottish heritage reinvigorated my own patriotism for my homeland. It was very fortuitous how the album came about: I'd been wanting to sing and record these songs, and a backer appeared who was willing to pay for the album, so I thought, "Let's go ahead and do it."

    STARS: Tell me, do you pal around with other famous Scottish performers like Alan Cumming and John Barrowman?

    EUAN: I don't know John very well, though I've met him a couple of times at various events. Alan and I have spent some time together because we're both involved with the Only Make Believe children's charity. Still, I don't see him very often. He's really, really busy.

    STARS: And John doesn't live here, so I guess it's pretty rare that you see him.

    EUAN: It's funny, a lot of people don't know that John is Scottish, because he always uses his American accent. I say, "He's really Scottish, you know." They say, "No, he's not!" I say, "Yes, he's a proper, kilt-wearing Scot!" It's so bizarre. Everyone's so used to him sounding American that they think he's putting on the accent when he does the Scottish thing, but it's actually the other way around.

    STARS: I was wondering, have you ever been in, or would you someday like to be in, a production of Brigadoon?

    EUAN: They did a benefit concert of it last year [in New York]. They asked me to take part in it, but I couldn't. So I guess my chance to do Brigadoon has passed me by. Unless they bring it back again...

    STARS: A few years ago, there were plans for a Broadway revival.

    EUAN: I remember that. Something went wrong.

    STARS: I think there were money problems. Would you say that Scottish people generally have a favorable view of the show, or do they see it as an ersatz creation?

    EUAN: I think it's probably a little joke amongst real Scots, but that's true of anything of that sort. Brigadoon plays into stereotypes, but there is an element of truth in stereotypes. And we Scots are really good about laughing at ourselves.

    STARS: Your last Broadway show was Sondheim on Sondheim, with Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, and Tom Wopat. I interviewed Tom recently and he spoke very well of you. He says you have the voice of an angel.

    EUAN: What a nice man. The rest of us in that show were kind of satellites to the planets that were Tom, Barbara, and Vanessa, but Tom always had an open door. He always brought his guitar to the theater and played it in the dressing room. He really made us feel like we were part of a family he was creating.

    STARS: One of your castmates, Matthew Scott, is now in Side By Side By Sondheim at the Signature Theatre in the D.C. area. Last year, you played Anatoly in a very well received production of Chess there. Tell me about that experience.

    EUAN: I love Benny and Björn [Andersson and Ulvaeus, who wrote the score], and I've always wanted to do the show, so this was my chance to check another dream off the bucket list. We had a wonderful cast. Jill Paice was fantastic, and Jeremy Kushnier was great. He rocked "Pity the Child" every night. I could not have done that.

    STARS: Well, I wish you a great show at Birdland on Sunday. It's Memorial Day weekend, but I hope you get a good audience.

    EUAN: There weren't many dates free at Birdland. The only other opening was Tony night, and obviously that wasn't going to happen. For me, it's just about having a chance to get up there and bring the album to a live audience. I know the house might not be as full as it would be on another night, but I'll have a lot of friends there. It's going to be a great concert.

    Published on Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Michael Portantiere has more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has interviewed theater notables for NPR.org, PLAYBILL, STAGEBILL, and OPERA NEWS, and has written notes for several cast albums. Michael is co-author of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: BEHIND THE MYLAR CURTAIN, published in 2008 by Hal Leonard/Applause. Additionally, he is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several major websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.) He can be reached at [email protected]

    Why are you looking all the way down here?
    For more articles by Michael Portantiere, click the links below!

    Previous: Bosom Buddies

    Next: The 67th Annual Theatre World Awards

    Or go to the Archives

[Broadway Ad Network]

[Broadway Ad Network]