Alicia Morton

Biography: Two years ago, Alicia Morton told her grandfather that her goal was to be on Broadway by the time she was 17 years old.

Today, Alicia is in New York rehearsing for her debut as Cosette in "Les Miserables. " The third grader from Parkview Baptist School is 8 years old. She is realizing her destiny nine years ahead of schedule. "I'm really excited," the petite girl said with a toss of her long blond curls. "I've seen the show three times already, but I guess I'll see it a lot more now. " The daughter of Kathy and Jon Morton of Gonzales, Alicia started dancing when she was only 18 months old. Dressed in diapers and a black leotard, she would mimic the movements of her mother's aerobics class students. Jacquee DeLaune of The Danse Difference, a personal friend of Kathy's, recognized the toddler's potential. "I told her mom, 'I've got to have her. ' She (Alicia) was incredible. We changed her diapers in class and couldn't even find tap shoes small enough for her, but she
Two years ago, Alicia Morton told her grandfather that her goal was to be on Broadway by the time she was 17 years old.

Today, Alicia is in New York rehearsing for her debut as Cosette in "Les Miserables. " The third grader from Parkview Baptist School is 8 years old. She is realizing her destiny nine years ahead of schedule.

"I'm really excited," the petite girl said with a toss of her long blond curls. "I've seen the show three times already, but I guess I'll see it a lot more now. "

The daughter of Kathy and Jon Morton of Gonzales, Alicia started dancing when she was only 18 months old. Dressed in diapers and a black leotard, she would mimic the movements of her mother's aerobics class students.

Jacquee DeLaune of The Danse Difference, a personal friend of Kathy's, recognized the toddler's potential. "I told her mom, 'I've got to have her. ' She (Alicia) was incredible. We changed her diapers in class and couldn't even find tap shoes small enough for her, but she loved to dance. She started competing when she was 4 and that's when we first recognized her ability to sing. "

Alicia watched musicals the way other children watch Disney movies and went to plays at every opportunity, Kathy said. "She fell in love with 'A Chorus Line' and learned every word to every song. 'Les Mis' was the second play she saw and she sat through the three hour show, enthralled, not moving.

Based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, "Les Miserables" is an epic saga that sweeps through three turbulent decades of 19th century France - a complex, intense story of life and death, love and war, redemption and revolution. The show won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, when it opened on Broadway nine years ago - before Alicia was born.

At 6, Alicia started training with vocal coach Terry Patrick-Harris. "She's got a big voice for a little girl. She's very diligent, very focused," Patrick-Harris said. "Alicia's my first student to appear on Broadway and my daughter has already informed me that we will be going to New York to see her. I'm very proud of her. This is what she's always wanted. "

Alicia has performed in several plays locally. She did "Annie" at school. She also performed in "The Sound of Music" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. " And she was Princess Ying Yaowlak in Baton Rouge Little Theater's production of "The King and I."

"Alicia was very professional and mature for her age," BRLT director Henry Avery said of his experience in working with her a year and a half ago. "She's a delightful child and has great family support. " In its annual tour to Broadway this April, BRLT hopes to offer patrons the opportunity to see Alicia perform and meet with her backstage, he said.

Through regional and national dance competitions, where she won numerous awards, Alicia and her mother made contacts and, a year and a half ago, they signed on with a manager in New York. Together, they've made 17 trips to New York in as many months to audition for various roles and the last trip paid off.

"Alicia was vocally ready to play the part of Cosette a year ago, but she was still too small," Kathy Morton said. "Even now, she's one of the smallest to have ever been cast in the role. Physically, she has to be able to move some chairs on the set and carry a large bucket. "

Alicia and her mother flew to New York Wednesday and met cast and crew backstage that night. She began rehearsals Thursday and is expected to be ready to perform next week. She will alternate with two other children in the role of Cosette.

"Oh, she will be ready," DeLaune said. "She knows the show forward and backward. But she's a quick study anyway. Alicia can sing and dance and act and follow directions. I think her biggest challenge will be working with a full-scale orchestra. That will be new for her, but she can handle it. "

Alicia and her mother will stay at a hotel for the first couple of weeks until they find a small apartment nearby. Their contract is for six months initially, at which time it can be renegotiated.

The Mortons will endure a long-distance marriage and family arrangement, although Alicia's father and her 14-year-old brother, Shane, will fly to New York for occasional visits. She will continue her work as a student at Parkview through correspondence for the remainder of this year.

"We'll just take it from there," Kathy Morton said. "I expect we'll be in New York for at least a year, but we will be back. "

"I'm going to miss my family and friends, my Maw-maw, my Paw-paw and my dog, Jazzy," Alicia said, skipping across the checkerboard floor of the dance studio. "But I told them all to come see me in New York. Some of them already told me they're coming. " On request, Alicia agreed to sing a favorite number from "Les Mis" - "Castle on a Cloud. " Standing perfectly still and poised in the middle of the studio, she raised her head as the music came up and her voice rang out strong and clear and beautiful, in perfect pitch.

Clearly, she's got "it," that quality of presence that says, "Look at me," tempered with a sweet innocence and vulnerability.

Look out Broadway. Here comes Alicia.
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Title: Year: Credit: User score:
tbd Dodson's Journey Jan 10, 2001 Maggie Dodson tbd