Kevin Ray Johnson
I would like you to meet Morgan Siobhan Green. Morgan is making her Broadway debut in Be More Chill where she understudies for Christine, Brooke, Chloe, Jenna, and ‘as cast.’ Before that, she was seen Off-Broadway in Folk Wandering (ARTNY), and Sweetee (Signature). She has also performed regionally in Between the Lines (Pre Broadway). I always admire understudies and swings who perform on Broadway because as many will tell you they have a lot on their plate, so it was quite an honor to have the opportunity to interview Morgan!
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?
I think it was in high school. I tried to do sports, and I remember being the worst. I hated losing and yet, being 5’0 didn’t seem conducive to being a successful volleyball player. I’ve always performed though. Church was the first platform I had access to. It was never really about skill or result but mainly about passion and effort. I think, at the core, that’s what’s so beautiful about theater. The moments where passion and effort meet story and audience. It’s priceless. I left volleyball and went to the theater. I was Baby Roo In Winnie The Pooh (not to outshine my first ever play ‘Macbeth’ in 4th grade). The rush of performing live was and still is indescribable. Everyone should do it.
Where did you study? Are there any mentors that genuinely helped make you the performer you are today?
I studied at Bradley University for undergrad and went to LIU Post for Grad school. My first mentor was Bill Smith. I grew up in a Montessori program, and he pushed us academically and artistically. He made art mandatory for everyone. I had a deep appreciation for all areas of study (even the ones I weren’t good at). Being an Actor is being a constant student of something. Bill was a constant reminder of the importance of inquisition. It wasn’t always about the answers but the questions and never actually knowing everything. My college professor George Brown ALWAYS believed in me. In a lot of arenas, as an African American woman, I’ve felt I’ve had to earn people’s respect and guidance. George was never like that. He saw something in me that didn’t intimidate him. He pushed me because I wanted to grow. Instead of dimming the fire, he threw a little more kindling in. What a saint.
Congratulations on making your Broadway debut with Be More Chill! What are you looking forward to most about this show?
Thank you! I am most excited about the audience. There’s something magical about having an audience who knows the show and an audience that comes in without having seen a pre-Upgrade Be More Chill. I’ve heard audiences who haven’t screamed when the characters reveal themselves in the opener but were rooting hardcore by the end. There’s something magical and special about finding yourself on that stage. More importantly, there’s something awesome about going to a show, having fun, and hearing backstage the joy from the audience every night.
What would you say is the most exciting and challenging part of being an understudy?
I think the most exciting part is the opportunity to experience a story from a variety of viewpoints. There’s this cool adrenaline of not always knowing who you’re on for and sometimes when you’re going on. I think the difficulty can be the things that are uncontrollable: going on and not feeling 100% prepared. I am encouraging myself to rest in that. Let that sink in. There’s only so much I can do. Learn my lines. Make choices. Learn the show. Have fun and trust my friends on, off, and backstage. The only moment I have to think about is the moment I am in.
Are there any shows (Prior to Be More Chill) that you have done in your career that will always be near and dear to your heart?
Between The Lines. It’s a new musical whose book is written by novelist Jodi Picoult and Tim McDonald. The score and lyrics are written by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson. This was the first big project I worked on and I saw the way my being on stage impacted so many other kids. That show is and always will be special to me. There is a fierce generation of theatre goers out there who want to see the world in an inclusive and multi-dimensional way on stage. I’m rooting for those peeps.
What advice would you give young performers who want a career in this business?
Be yourself and love whatever and whoever that is at the moment. That’s not to say you won’t have a lot to learn or practice but perfect yourself, not your idea of what it means to be successful. You’d be surprised the space that will either welcome you in with open arms or the value you’ll find in yourself to create your own space and make your own work. You’re worthy of either and/or both. You are not your job. You are your energy, your attitude, and your professionalism.