Willard Morgan is a performer, composer/lyricist of rock and alternative musical projects, an award-winning director of several widely exhibited independent films, and the producer/gallerist of Ideal Glass, where he brings together a collective of international artists working here and abroad.
Born in New York City, the son of renowned soprano Suzy Morgan who could be heard regularly on the radio and on stage at the Philadelphia Opera, Willard found his inner jester performing with bells on his toes at Camp Mohegan, at the age of five. A passion for art and his high school art history teacher, Miss Peterson, led to years in Europe, studying art history and performance. He graduated from New York University in Politics and Romance Languages, having spent most of his time there acting in indie films and off-off Broadway. After he got fired from a show, he studied with the acting coach legend Bill Esper and survived his two-year course.
As an actor, Willard performed in many off-off Broadway productions. He appeared in Say Goodnight, Gracie at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Austin Pendleton, which ran for 2 years off-Broadway. As a producer, he co-produced The Runner Stumbles, which ran on Broadway and was later produced as a film directed by the late great Stanley Kaufman, starring Dick Van Dyke and Kathleen Quinlan. As a comedian, his first open-mike performance at the Comic Strip was introduced by Jerry Seinfield. He’s also performed at the famous Comedy Store, the M Bar, and the Gardenia Room in Los Angeles. Willard wrote and performed the well-received rockumentary Saint Hollywood based on the lives of the denizens of the Boulevard, which he staged in New York at PS 122, and at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival. As Jelvis, the Jewish Elvis, he appeared at New York’s B.B. King’s, and The Highline, at LA’s Genghis Cohen and the La Scala in Paris, He also busked on the streets of Edinburgh and at New York’s famous Katz Deli.
As front man of Ideal Orkestra, a kinetic international band with a highly theatrical bent, Willard sings his original songs. In 2014, the band was commissioned by the Japan Society -for the opening concert of the Globus Film Series. Currently Ideal Orkestra is at work on a musical installation on fashion, Sweatshop Boogie, which has already been performed live at fashion festivals internationally and locally, most recently at Williamsburg Fashion Weekend.
Willard’s first short film Festival Fever won the Sony Vision Comedy Award at American Film Institute, and Best Short Film at both the Florida International Film Festival and the Ft Lauderdale International Film Festival. He went on to direct the feature Me and Michael starring Michael Moore, which premiered at the Havana International Film Festival. He also co- produced the feature film America So Beautiful, directed by Babak Shokrian.
In 2005, Willard founded the art collective Ideal Glass, in the heart of the East Village, to expand his work in the several mediums he collaborates in and produces. The company’s mission is to shock, entertain and transform, exploring the themes of social activism, gentrification, sexual identity, and the slavery of debt. The Ideal Glass international team creates multimedia live performances, musicals and comedic video content and recordings.
A long time resident of the Village, Willard is a board member of the Village Alliance Association, fighting the gentrification of his beloved Greenwich Village.