Morris Gearring encountered Oscar Brown’s genius for the first time at a speaking engagement of Maya Angelou’s in Chicago in 1985. “I was blown away,” said Morris of the experience and meeting Oscar after the show as invited into Oscar’s Hyde Park home where his tutelage with the master began alongside Oscar’s daughter Maggie Brown.
The next year, Morris traveled with Oscar, Jean Pace, Oscar’s son – Oscar Brown II – and Maggie to the Carlos One Supper Club in Manhattan. The show was misunderstood by the owner and closed soon after. Oscar, however, would have none of it and immediately embarked on his next project.
Sadly, the great man passed away in 2005 and his legacy somewhat dimmed. Inspired by his indomitable spirit, it was then that Morris decided to reintroduce the world and future generations to the man and his music and created the show you have before you, “Something About Oscar.” First produced at Chicago’s Pritzker Theatre in the Harold Washington Library, “Something About Oscar” has seen dozens of performances in Chicago and New York to rave reviews and will debut in Los Angles and Europe later this year and in 2013.
Morris Gearring began his career as a child in his native Gary, Indiana backyard using the carton from his familiy’s new deep freezer as a prop. Graduating from Gary’s Rosevelt High School, alma mater of the Jackson 5, Morris matriculated at Morehouse College where he studied under Lamar Alford, the original “Lamar” from “Godspell.”
Receiving his B.A. in theatre in 1985, Morris subsequently studied dance at the Alvin Ailey School under Joan Peters. Other mentors include Chuck Smith, Resident Director at Chicago’s Goodman Theater who helped find the direction and story behind Oscar’s work; Dr. Robert Brewster, opera singer and vocal coach who helped Morris perfect his voice and intonation to give greater life to Oscar’s words and music; Calvin “Koco” Brunson, musical director who helped perform and interpret the work; and finally Ms. Maggie Brown, Oscar’s daughter, whose memories and insights helped keep Oscar’s true spirit alive.