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Traversing Broadway, vaudeville and music hall, performing music from the ragtime era to the end of the 20th century, the duo of William Bolcom and Joan Morris have delighted audiences across the United States and around the world since 1973.

At the piano, composer and raconteur William Bolcom charms the audience with his engaging patter. One of the driving forces behind the ragtime revival that began in the 1970s, he is also the composer of the poignant “Graceful Ghost Rag.” As an accompanist, his lively and harmonically rich touch is impeccably tuned to every nuance of Joan Morris’s voice.

Chanteuse Joan Morris brings out a veritable cast of characters to sing each of her songs — from a curious little kid (“Love in the Thirties”) to a world-weary lover (“Toothbrush Time”) to an unforgettable dowager waging battle at the Ladies Club with her recipe for “Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise.” According to the Chicago Tribune, “She projects not just a song, but the character singing it, and gives that character her own irresistibly funny and winning personality.”

The duo has 25 recordings to their credit, from their Grammy-nominated debut “After the Ball” to recent collections of songs by Yip Harburg, Gus Kahn and Arnold Weinstein/William Bolcom. Their newest CD, Autumn Leaves, is a collection of 21 popular cabaret songs, including “Am I Blue,” “Swinging on a Star,” “Can’t We Be Friends,” and “As Time Goes By.” 

"Bolcom and Morris may be the best thing to happen to American popular song since the invention of sheet music." — The Chicago Sun-Times

 "Together the couple is, to borrow the title of an early Bolcom opera, 'dynamite tonight.' His brilliantly propulsive, imaginative embellished pianism provides her with a strong rhythmic framework. And Morris plumbs every number for its specific emotional content." — The San Francisco Examiner

Updates

A 1986 interview with Chicago classical music host Bruce Duffie 

This interview with William Bolcom, which took place on June 29,1986, also included the participation of his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris. Bruce Duffie says: "As with some other musical couples that I’ve interviewed, on occasion they both responded to my questions together back and forth, and I was perceptive enough not to interrupt!" 

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Review: "When the World Was Young" 

Alex Cohen writes for Theater Pizzazz: "Selected songs date from 1894-2015, the former offered respectfully as written, not pastiche, the latter, delivered with the insouciance of more devil may care days."

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