|Isn't Michael Moriarty an odd choice to host the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's An American Anthem program tonight? |
After all, the Emmy-winning actor practically fled the States a few years ago for semi-exile in Halifax, blaming "creeping McCarthyism" and a power hungry Washington for disenfranchisement.
"It's a fair question," Moriarty, 57, acknowledges. "The music on the evening comes from composers of the 1940s and '50s -- the '40s particularly -- and my idea of what America was at its greatest."
So while Moriarty may be an expatriate, but not entirely an ex-patriot. Love lost for Clinton's administration hasn't changed his feelings for Gershwin's and Copland's compositions.
"The music you'll hear was written by men of the 1940s. My role-models were men like that," Moriarty says.
While most know Moriarty for his four seasons on Law & Order, the Renaissance man is also a published author, produced playwright, recorded jazz pianist and composer. Another man of the '40s, his father, had the first influences on Moriarty's musical career.
"He should have been a musicologist. He had the best jazz and classics record collection in Detroit," Moriarty remembers.
"As an infant, I bathed in the best sounds of the best musicians in the world. That's where the composer comes from, not from a school. It's what you learn at your most impressionable time."
Among the American Anthems being presented this evening at the Jack Singer Concert Hall (tickets at Ticketmaster and the Centre box-office) will be Moriarty's own work, Symphony for Strings.
"The thrill is it will be the first time I've heard this with a full contingent with about 14 firsts and 11 seconds," he says.
Kerry Stratton of the North York Symphony will conduct the CPO.
"Kerry's a brilliant conductor. I've conducted it myself with stunning mediocrity," he admits.
"(The CPO) is a great symphony, I heard them on the radio. You can almost measure a city by its symphony."
Moriarty may be paying more visits to The Arts Centre in the future -- should he wind up in city hall across the street.
"In three years or whenever I get my citizenship I'm going to run for office," he says, although the Tony award-winner isn't entirely sure whose office he's eyeing.
While living stateside, Moriarty was approached by Libertarians to run for office and once announced he was running for president on a talk show.
"I think the Reform Party is now buried under Reformese. People don't know what Preston is saying," Moriarty observed.
"I hear a rumour there's a bit of lunatic fringe in the Reform Party. You gotta kick 'em out," he recommends.
The steadfast Republican could picture himself running for a seat in House of Commons under a unified right banner and is undaunted by a lack of right-wing support in his adopted home of Nova Scotia.
"If I run on a Reform/Conservative ticket, I'd be the first MP out of the Maritimes who is realistic. Filled with reality -- not the hell of good intentions," he told the Sun on the fifth anniversary of his resignation from NBC's Law and Order.
Moriarty felt NBC was attempting to censor his political opinions during a public quarrel with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
"I should celebrate. I should send Janet Reno a thank you note. I would have never met Suzy and I would never have found my real vocation, which is politics," he said.
Suzana Cabrita and Moriarty were married in October and he credits her with helping deal with the alcoholism which occasionally landed him in the news.
"I'll be sober until I retire and then we'll go off and have some fun together. But I'm too busy now ... I'm a workaholic."
In recent years he has appeared in Canadian productions such as Emily of New Moon, Psi Factor and Major Crime. Moriarty has just completed a sequel to the family hit Shiloh and Woman Wanted with Kiefer Sutherland and Holly Hunter in Winnipeg.
"My favourite city in Canada is Winnipeg, of which I am the Honorary Mayor. Now you can refer to me as Your Worship," he joked.
Moriarty noted he wouldn't run against the mayors of Halifax or Winnipeg because he gets along well with them.
However, if popular Calgary Mayor Al Duerr should ever decide against another term...
"I'm going to hold that card open," he smiled.
At any rate, Calgary can almost count on a return visit from Moriarty, who made the mini-series Children of the Dust here in 1995. He may film in the area this spring or even book a date during Jazz Fest.