Lois Morton at The Duplex – "20th Century Girl"
By: Linda Amiel Burns
I first became aware of the songs of Lois Morton when she performed a few years back in Sandi Durell’s ‘New Songwriters Program’ at The NY Sheet Music Society. Her song, "The Diet Is Cast" was very clever, an audience pleaser, and I wanted to hear more of her material. Learning that "20th Century Girl" -The Lois Morton Songbook – was going to be performed on September 20, 2013 at The Duplex, I hurried on over and was not disappointed.
Director Lennie Watts put together a terrific evening for Lois to showcase her material on a variety of subjects familiar to us all: cell phones, hoarding, road rage, thrift shops, China and civil rights. She was supported by a extraordinary cast that included four fine singers, Kim Grogg, Mary Lahti, Georga Osborne and the inimitable…..Sidney Myer. The excellent musical direction was by Paul Greenwood at the piano and Lois mentioned that she has been working with him since 2009.
Lois holds a doctorate in Adult education from Columbia University and retired in 1996 to care for her husband who had Alzheimer’s. That is when she returned to songwriting to express her profound sorrow and loss as in the song she sang "The Last Goodbye." Although there were a few tender ballads, i.e. Georga singing "Passing By" thinking that life is passing you by without knowing that you have been on the train all along, she writes mostly funny, witty patter songs in the style of Tom Lehrer, Gilbert & Sullivan with a little Noel Coward thrown in for good measure.
The opening, ""20th Century Girl" demonstrated her virtuosity with the lament about not being able to keep up with the present computer generation who always seem to be blogging, tweeting and texting. Georga sang a great rendition of "English Doesn’t Turn Me On" about a girl who feels she can express herself better in other languages. Kim Grogg captured the many problems of today’s phone mania with "The Cell Phone Song" and Mary did a great job on "I’m In Love With a Piano Man." There were many highlights in the show, but a standout was Sidney Myer brilliantly performing "Confessions of a Clutterholic" and then dueting with Mary on being led astray by a "GPS." Lois showed her remarkable talent for lyrics and performing with "Side Effects" about the crazy warnings listed on many medications today.
Successful parodies and amusing material is usually the most difficult for composers to write and it was gratifying to discover the brilliance of The Lois Morton Songbook. Bravo to all involved in putting on this delightful show and if you want to know more about Lois, visit:
www.LoisMorton.com and you can find out where to purchase the CD of her songs.
For the The Duplex schedule: