Whether spoofing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” in Forbidden Broadway or wowing audiences in Merrily We Roll Along or transmitting the lyrics of the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti, Ann Morrison can modulate her style to the occasion while raising a smile with her faultless timing and delivery.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1956, Morrison took an interest in musical theater early on – an interest her theatrical family encouraged – performing in musicals already in high school. She studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music and New York’s HB Studio. Eventually settling in Chicago, she joined the Benny Kim Show, entertaining at nightclubs and hotels.
Morrison appeared in regional productions of various musicals – including The Fantasticks and The Sound of Music – before making her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along (1981), a musical based on the Kaufman and Hart play of the same name (1934). Creating the role of Mary Flynn, an alcoholic theater critic, Morrison won the 1982 Theater World Award. RCA issued an original cast album of the musical, which also featured Jason Alexander and Lonny Price.
In 1983 Morrison played in Forbidden Broadway, again alongside Jason Alexander, offering take-offs of favorite Broadway tunes, such as “Don’t Cry for Me, Barbra Streisand” (an Evita parody), which Morrison delivered with hilarious severity on a telecast of “The Merv Griffin Show.”
The following year Morrison starred in David Heneker’s new musical Peg, given in London’s West End and based on J. Hartley Manners’s comedy Peg o’ My Heart. In 1985, back in New York, Morrison starred with Terri Klausner in Peggy Harmon and Polly Pen’s Goblin Market, a two-woman musical based on Christina Rossetti’s poem. The following year she returned to Sondheim, playing in a Los Angeles production of Anyone Can Whistle.
Recently Ann Morrison played in Alfred Uhry’s LoveMusik (2007), a Broadway musical based on the letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya.