Whenever an Omaha native returns to our city after long bouts away, the conversation naturally turns to food. And for Omahan-turned-Broadway star Kevyn Morrow it was no different.
“Skeets Barbecue on 24th Street,” he reminisced on the cloudy, cold Wednesday we spoke. “I used to go and pick me up some Skeets, freeze it and take it back to New York,” he laughs. “My momma brought me Skeets to Paris,” he admits, making us both crack up remembering the restaurants and people past of our hometown. Skeets was my spot too.
Kevyn returns to Omaha stages this week in “Hadestown” the premiere Broadway tour playing Hades, the Lord of the Underworld
“Hadestown” opens tonight through Omaha Performing Arts as part of their 2021-2022 Broadway season. I asked Kevyn about his character, the fantastical, enigmatic antagonist of the show.
“Hades is a Greek God. Zeus and Poseidon are his brothers and (he) was handed the underworld to rule by Zeus, who didn’t like him so he thought he was handing him the dregs,” he said. “He gets a bad rep and a bad rap. People think he’s the devil but he’s the king of the underworld. Those are two very different things. He’s a businessman. He gets people to sell him their souls in exchange for work. Now, it’s not his fault if they don’t read the fine print.”
The role was originated on Broadway by Patrick Page but as is the job of actors, Morrow is making Hades his own.
“I try to think of him as not just two-dimensional. He’s not just a Greek god, not just a bad guy. A man, three-dimensional with all the flaws of man. He has fear, he loves, he has jealousy, he has pain. He may use his anger when he gets hurt, because he does hurt. I thoroughly enjoy him and I am having a blast playing him.”
The über-popular “Hadestown” is the recipient of eight Tony awards and is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell. Its journey to Broadway has been well documented as it rose from humble beginnings in a coffee shop to one of the most popular original musicals of our time, making its Broadway debut in 2019 at the Walter Kerr theater.
“I love the music in this show. But my favorite is anything the Fates sing. Of course people love the big song, `’Wait for Me’ and I do too, but I love the three part harmonies of the Fates.” And as for Hades favorite number? “’Chant 2′ is my personal favorite number.”
Kevyn grew up doing theater in Omaha, taking piano lessons from local legend Claudette Valentine, who got him started in the art. He last appeared on Omaha stages 15 years ago in the Omaha Community Playhouse production of “Ragtime,” after starring in its London production.
He got his early love of theater participating in Omaha’s summer musicals, getting a role in “Hansel and Gretel.” Over the course of the past decade Morrow has returned to Omaha to give masterclasses throughout Nebraska through Omaha Performing Arts. Those experiences are to give back to the community through his gift and love for his craft and the art of theater.
When it comes to returning home, what’s the biggest thing he wants to share with Omaha? “I want to share what I’ve been able to do with the support they’ve given me, those who nurtured me, got me started and had faith in me. I hope to make them proud of what they’ve done. Of their product. What they see. I hope they’re proud of what they accomplished.”
Come see Omaha’s own Kevyn Morrow in “Hadestown” running at the (appropriately named) Orpheum theater Tuesday March 29th through Sunday, April 3rd. For more information visit: https://o-pa.org/on-stage/broadway or call: 402-345-0606