|Euan Morton on Hedwig and the Angry Inch
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Apr 18, 2017 10:30am | comments
Hedwig and the Angry Inch had a long, successful run on Broadway. It is now touring with Euan Morton as Hedwig, in a production that will arrive at the Forrest Theatre on April 18 as part of Broadway Philadelphia sponsored by the Kimmel Center. He had a chance to talk about the role, his ideas about the character, and many other things. When first addressed as “Mr. Morton,” he replied, “Who’s that? Call me Euan,” which automatically set the tone for a relaxed chat over the telephone last week while he was appearing in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ralph Malachowski: Could you tell us something about the character you’re portraying. Why did you decide to take on the role? Does it reflect something about where you’re currently at personally and professionally?
Euan Morton: Where I’m at metaphysically, I really can’t say off the top of my head; However, I am physically present in the kitchen of a friend here in Charlotte, North Carolina, where we’re currently on tour. To answer your question about why I took on the role, well … I would have to have been crazy to have turned it down, now wouldn’t I? I am the luckier for having it offered to me. As I see it, it is a great opportunity to bring something thought-provoking to audiences across the United States. Maybe it might even change some minds along the way. I was quite surprised by audience reactions. Places I thought would not embrace it, did, while places that some might consider liberal did not. Dallas, for example, was a real surprise. The audiences there were fantastic. None of us really expected that.
RM: That’s interesting. Since you mentioned audience reactions, what were some other cities that stand out in your memory? There have been reports of audience members walking out in a few cities. Is it because of the subject matter, or something else? Would you care to comment on that? You have been traveling since November with the tour. Is America anything like Scotland?
EM: I’m glad you asked me that question. I’ve already mentioned how fantastic Dallas was, but I think the city which stands out in my mind (so far!) is Atlanta. I enjoyed the people and the whole experience immensely. Dallas and Denver were enjoyable experiences. Charlotte, where we are right now, is very nice. I would have to say that the calmest reception we’ve received was probably in Minnesota. As for walk-outs, well, honestly, there haven’t been all that many, actually. We often play to subscriber audiences, and they tend to be older. If they did walk out, it could have been due to the rock music we play. It may have been unexpectedly loud to them, rather than the subject matter. I have enjoyed touring the United States with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Your country has such beautiful landscapes and such diversity of people. It really can’t be compared to my country, Scotland. We in Scotland are a lot more homogeneous than the U.S.A.
RM: There is a saying among actors (so I’m told) that an actor takes a little piece of each character that he portrays and it stays with him for the rest of his life. What part of Hedwig do you think will become a part of you?
EM: (Laughing) I’m not sure! I think it may be more Hedwig taking a part of me! Seriously, once the hair and makeup come on, the character takes over. One thing I’ve noticed is that playing Hedwig, I’ve realized that I’m not as open-minded as I once thought I was. Hedwig accepts who she is, and is open to discovering who she is and accepting herself. I hope the experience has made me more open to accepting things and people.
RM: You’ve had tremendous success with Taboo. What is your relationship to Boy George? Do you still keep in touch with him? Would you consider appearing in a revival of Taboo?
EM: I really don’t have a relationship with Boy George. I don’t think we’ve seen each other since. That was years ago. We’ve gone our own separate ways. People don’t realize that actors become very close while working together, yet when the play, or film, or television series is over, we all go our separate ways, sometimes never seeing each other again. I often don’t see very good friends of mine after fourteen years. As for roles, I like characters that have never been done before. If they are well-written and well-developed, those are the roles I like. I would only do a revival of Taboo if it were done in a spectacular way. There was a Studio 54 anniversary production neither I nor Raul participated in. It would have to be a truly outstanding production for me to do Taboo again.
RM: What will be next for you after the Hedwig and the Angry Inch tour ends in July 2018?
EM: Well, I’m going back to college. I’ll be resuming my studies and improving myself as a person. I’m turning 40 this year, and so I think this is something I need to do for myself.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be at the Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut Street, Philadelphia from April 18 through April 23. For more information, visit https://www.kimmelcenter.org/events-and-tickets/201617/broadway-philadelphia/hedwig--the-angry-inch/