Reaching for “Sky,” 2004 alum finds himself on Broadway
October 27, 2009
Six months ago, his bartending work— and low cash flow—kept Eric William Morris, ’04, from attending his Loyola reunion. Even now that he has a new position, Baltimore trips are on hold. What’s the job? Oh, a starring role in the Broadway production of Mamma Mia.
Waking up to find himself in a young actor’s dream, Morris has landed the part of the fiancé, Sky, in a $2 billion worldwide phenomenon. And the novelty isn’t diminished when he cleans off the make-up after a show.
Morris is awestruck to be sharing the Winter Garden Theatre stage with actors whose names he knew before being cast. “I’m really fortunate that I’m acting with these Broadway veterans,” he said. “I freak out. It’s an out-of-body experience, like, ‘Are you actually speaking to me?’”
FROM MCMANUS TO BROADWAY
Shortly after Morris left Glen Rock, N.J., for Loyola, he decided to audition for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?— a production of the Poisoned Cup Players. He was thrilled to land the lead. A theater major who sang with the Chimes and the Concert Choir, Morris directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof his senior year.
Early on, his talent attracted the department’s attention. “He’s got a natural singing voice, and he has a very natural acting ability. I’ve been here 20 years, and I can count on one hand that kind of talent,” said Ernest Liotti, affiliate instructor of fine arts, who conducted Morris in campus musicals. “I remember coaching him and I saw him grow. I always said to him, ‘You have it, and you’re going to go someplace with it.’”
James Bunzli, associate professor of fine arts, directed Morris in Man of La Mancha, among other productions. “He was clearly one of the most capable students that we had at that time, but he was also the most curious and the most ready to ask a question, which made him such a great student in class,” he said. “It’s that rare combination. You find somebody who has that confidence—from knowing that he’s skilled—but that humility to be willing to learn.”
Morris has remained humble. “He’s not egotistical at all. He’s just a really, really nice guy,” Liotti said. “I told him, ‘When you go up to win an Emmy or a Tony, you better damn well invite me to your party.’”