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The Paris News (Newspaper) - June 23, 1996, Paris, Texas Sunday June 3 Morris stars in Broadway hit CherieBeil News StaffWriter NEW storing in another performance of Master the hit Broadway play about a voice class conduct ed by opera diva Maria Callas Pans native Jay Hunter Morris leaves the theater around He usually takes in New Yorks night life at an intimate coffee house or dines with his agent or friends arriving home in the wee hours the following morning Around 10 hes up and about He exercises either through Central Park or at a gym Theres not room for much of anything said Morris in a telephone interview last Each night Morris is back at the theater by 8 vocalizing at least an hour in preparation for his role Tony an aspiring operatic tenor At age 32 Morrishas made it on Broadway Master Class captured several Tony awards at this years ceremony including Best Play Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress In the role of Tony Morris has been nominated for Outstanding Broadway Debut by the Outer Critics Circle and won the Los Angeles Ovation award for outstanding featured actor Morris was born Sherman His family moved to Paris when he was 12 He is a 1981 graduate of Paris High School After attending Paris Junior College Morris studied music at Baylor University earning a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance He credits his parents Bud and Carolyn Becket and the late Jack Hunter Morris for encouraginghis passionfor parents were he said recalling nights when they played piano We sang as a But his passion for classi cal music in particular opera developed in college While studying voice he saw the Dallas Operas grand produc tion pf ta The powerful sound of opera enraptured singing the he said I with my small compared to what they were By 1985 Morris was a seri ous opera student He received a masters degree in music at Southern ahd the next performance by the Dallas Opera of La Traviataj Morris ahandsome blond tenor was cast as the lead role of Alfredo He went on to perform with major opera companies in the While working with the Santa Fe Opera in 1990 he met officials with Julliards Opera Center who invited him to study at the prestigious New York performing arts institute Morris was at Julliard from 199092 Later he was performing regularly at the Met When he heard about a new play called Master Morris was curious about a tenor role who sang Recondita Armenia from the Puccini opera Morris went to a cattle call audition like 300 other tenors he said At the audition he met the plays writer Terrence McNally who already had won a Tony last year for best Valour Compassion McNally also penned Kiss of the Spider Woman and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Soon after the audition Morris was offered the part but he said I actually turned it down because I really wasnt interested in doing a Though he was content per forming with the Metropolitan Opera the company of Master Class would not accept his decline They kept encouraging me to he Then Morris was asked to meet the lead fourtime Tony award actress Zoe meeting the Broadway legend Morris changed his mind She has such a powerful and unique he said not unlike Maria Callas the role she plays The company started perfor mances of Master Class in Philadelphia Los Angeles and Kennedy Center in Washington before open ing on Broadway in November 1995 The production of Master which is being televised for performances on PBS and the Arts and Entertainment channel will likely tour Morris predicted I will probably go to London in he said as Master Class expands to the international stage Its a real once in a lifetime Morris said rel ishing the success on Jay Hunter Morris Broadway but he most enjoys the chance to sing an opera aria every While growing up in Paris Morris was encouraged by sev eral people to pursue a career in the performing arts I had some very important mentors there in he said notably Mark Hardy former nnisic director of Immanuel Baptist Church and Carol Davis high school music director She played a very important role in my interests encouraged me through my early he said The money earned for play ing on Broadway is good or as Morris said Its great But you never know Its very challenging to play in front of a live house espe cially with the expectations a New York audience has for Jay Hunter Morris was the first inductee into PJCs Fine Arts Hall of Honor in 1995 Find Out About Upcoming Events In Our Community On Paris Today refer to schedule for times WhHaker Justice Showcase of Homes AMHeahhTallc Love The PM worship service of First Baptist Church 21 Whtaker Justice Showcase of Homes Heotlmolk love The AM worship service of First Baptist Outreach Ministry of First Baptist PMFkst low TheAMworship serweofRnt AMons Today iL DU The PM Worship Service of First Baptist Church low ThePM Worship Service of First BaphsfCnorcri PMPoris Today i f r ThePMworship service of Baptist Church 21 Whidcer Justice Slwwcase of Homes PMParis Today TheAMworship 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