Featuring guest artists
Sydney Morton & Jarran Muse
Motown Records was founded on January 12, 1959 by Berry Gordy. During the 1960’s, Motown exploded on the music scene with acts like: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (first act to be signed), The Supremes (the most successful group to be signed), Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, and many more. With more than 180 number one hits, and the development of the Motown sound, Gordy “reached across the racial divide with music that could touch all people, regardless of the color of their skin.” (Gordy’s induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)
Sydney Morton is thrilled to bring the music of Motown to Billings! Originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Sydney started training in ballet at four years old. Growing up in a musical family (her grandfather was a Broadway performer and music teacher), she also sang in school choirs and played piano from a young age. Her interest in the performing arts grew, and eventually included other styles of dance and acting. Sydney went on to receive a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan (go blue!), as well as studying Shakespeare in London at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Upon graduating, Sydney moved to New York and began performing in professional theatre, first landing the role of “Gabriella” in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL at Paper Mill Playhouse. From there, she joined the Chicago company of the hit, JERSEY BOYS, playing the role of “Francine.” Broadway soon followed, as she had the honor of performing in four Original Broadway Casts: MEMPHIS, EVITA, AMERICAN PSYCHO, and MOTOWN, where she worked closely with Berry Gordy himself and played the controversial member of the Supremes, “Florence Ballard.” Other theatre experience includes THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (“Esmeralda,” Ogunquit Playhouse), AN OCTOROON (“Zoe,” Berkeley Rep), and FLASHDANCE (“Alex,” First National Tour). You can see Sydney playing “Cheryl Overstreet” in Spike Lee’s hit series, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT on Netflix. The first season is currently streaming, with the second season due to premiere in 2019. Other TV and Film appearances include YOUNGER (“Skye,” TV Land), THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE (NBC), THE INTERN, SERVICE TO MAN, and the short film LOVE, NEW YORK. sydneymorton.com
Jarran Muse recently performed the role of Marvin Gaye on Broadway and in the National Touring productions of Motown the Musical. Some of his other Broadway/International Tours include Green Day’s American Idiot, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, 42nd Street, and the newly Broadway bound inspirational musical Born For This.
This Jersey boy studied at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and at various Acting Studios in Los Angeles and New York City. He is currently finishing his degree with Full Sail University in Florida. Jarran will perform during our outreaches and talk about the impact Motown made on the integration of Black artists to popular music. He will generate discussions on racism and how to help break down prejudices. Jarran is passionate about erasing racism and bringing the cultures of the world closer together. A true Soldier of Love, he believes that so much is possible with the power of Love.