Taylor Morrow has had a passion for the performing arts ever since middle school. Now a senior, Morrow looks forward to graduating in May with a degree in theatre with a musical theatre emphasis.
You may recognize him from his role as Andrew Jackson in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” or recall his voice from any one of UNH a cappella group Alabaster Blue’s performances. Most recently, Morrow starred as John Wilkes Booth in Mask and Dagger’s rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins.”
Mask and Dagger is UNH’s only student-run traditional theatre organization, meaning anyone can audition, regardless of major.
“[Mask and Dagger] is cool because we have plenty of people here [at UNH] who loved theatre in high school, but their majors don’t necessarily allow them that much time to perform,” Morrow said.
Their spring show, “Assassins” covered all the presidential assassinations and attempted assassinations throughout history, by putting all the assassins together, in a place outside any specific point in history. The whole show leads up to the group of assassins confronting Lee Harvey Oswald and encouraging him to assassinate John F. Kennedy.
“They basically say that, ‘you need to kill him so that we become relevant again… [for] those of us that have already done this, [but] have been lost in history,’” Morrow said. Booth was the first presidential assassin in U.S. history, so Morrow opened the show with the first musical number.
‘Assassins’ was [Sondheim’s] most controversial piece [because] it looks at the assassins through a non-judgmental lens,” Morrow said. “When you look at it objectively, they believe that what they’re doing is justified.”
Morrow went into auditions for “Assassins” with an open-mind. There were several roles that he could’ve fit into, but, dramatically, John Wilkes Booth was his favorite character from the start. Throughout about a month and a half of rehearsals, Morrow put himself into Booth’s shoes, who was also a successful actor at one point in time.
“It was interesting to play [Booth] and have to not look at him as being a terrible person,” Morrow said. “[I had to] really view [the assassination] from his perspective.”
After weeks of rehearsal and three performances, Morrow said that he doesn’t know if he ever did, or ever could, grasp every aspect of “Assassins.”
“It’s a mind-bender of a show,” Morrow said.
With his theatrical work at UNH coming to a close, and graduation just over two months away, Morrow is optimistic about the future, but says he will miss the community he’s come to know here at UNH.
Originally, Morrow hoped to go to a city school to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, but after four years of voice lessons, dance classes and musical theatre performances, Morrow is happy to have ended up at UNH.
“The community here is just very supportive, and I feel like that’s something you lose at a conservatory school,” Morrow said. “It’s always so cut-throat and competitive, but here, you feel comfortable going outside of your comfort zone and I think that inevitably makes you better. I found that in myself.”
This summer, Morrow hopes to be cast in any one of the many shows he’s in the process of auditioning for. Depending on which role, or roles, he gets, he plans to move to New York City in the fall to pursue a career in musical theatre.
“I’m going for it… Broadway is the ultimate goal. If I were to get ensemble in a Broadway show, I think I’d be content,” Morrow said. “I could die happy.”
Being his last performance for UNH, Morrow feels that “Assassins” was a good finale, and said that he looks forward to a bright and exciting future in the professional world.