Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hugh Morgan Hill, the Storyteller Brother Blue, Dies at 88

From the New York Times

Hugh Morgan Hill, who as the storyteller known as Brother Blue captivated passers-by on the streets of Boston and Cambridge, Mass., with his parables, life stories and idiosyncratic retellings of Shakespeare’s plays, and who became a fixture at storytelling conferences and gatherings in the United States and abroad, died on Nov. 3 at his home in Cambridge. He was 88.

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Hugh Morgan Hill

Saturday, July 4, 2009

This space has been created to honor Br. Blue and Ruth Hill for the tremendous dedication to the community of storytellers in New England and throughout the world. It is our hope that in this blog storytellers that choose to dedicate their performances to Br. Blue will have a chance to chronicle them here in photos and print.

Br.Blue has joined The Ancestors -Laura Packer

We ain’t nothin’ but music wrapped in a body made of snow.”

On Tuesday night, storytelling night, November 3, 2009, our beloved

mentor, teacher and self-proclaimed holy fool Brother Blue, left this

world to go home to be with the ancestors. We who remain are left so

very blessed by his presence in this world and in our lives. He

taught us how to live stories, not just tell them. He told us that

storytelling is God talking to God and modeled that every single day.

And when Blue listened, he listened powerfully with all his heart, all

his soul and all his strength. Anyone who has ever been near him

knows this. He didn’t just change the world, he changed worlds – every

single person he met. In the street, at festivals, in prisons, at

storyteller gatherings, in the offices of academics and wherever there

was music.

If Blue were here to talk about himself now he would say, “Don’t

remember Blue. Remember Ruth. Ruth is truth.” Ruth, Blue’s amazing

wife who has kept him from floating off into the clouds for decades,

is doing about as well as can be expected. She has asked that everyone

give her some time. She knows you are thinking of her and needs a

little space right now.

Brother Blue passed peacefully – he was ready. He got to tell one

last story to his beloved Ruth and then let go. As far as we can tell

he was not in pain.

Plans for services are underway. Any news and information can be

found at You can also leave

your memories of Blue and messages for Ruth. Please pass this

information on to anyone who you think would be interested.

Blue once said, “When you tell a story, you tell it to all creation.

It's cosmic. It never goes away.” Blue is story. He will always be

with us. Go and tell your stories.

If you would like to dedicate a performance here please e-mail your name,where and when performance was dedicated, what story was told in his honor(story tittle) and any pictures to
and they will be posted here on this site

Below you will find information regarding Br. Blue and Ruth Hill.

Brother Blue and Ruth have long been recognized and honored as tireless advocates in their promotion of storytelling and storytellers throughout the New England region.

Brother Blue dresses in blue, from his socks to his beret to the butterflies painted on his palms.
Brother Blue spends a lot of his time in prisons and on street corners. Why would you want to listen to Brother Blue?

"I think I was anointed to be a storyteller-I mean touched by the fire," says Brother Blue. "I can tell stories in my sleep and blow the world away!"

A blue banner across his chest reads "Brother Blue, Storyteller." Brother Blue is also known as Hugh Morgan Hill, Ph.D. For the past 30 years, he's been telling his stories in public. Brother Blue is the official storyteller of Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He's earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard with honors and a master's degree in playwriting from Yale Drama Schoool. Brother Blue is an ordained minister who transmits his stories and love of stories to a far-reaching audience.

"I bring Homer to the streets. I bring Sophocles," Brother Blue says. "To tell stories, you should know Chaucer. You should know Shakespeare. You should know Keats. You have to be constantly reading. You read, you think, you create. You have to know the new moves: You must be able to rap and be able to sing the blues!"

Br. Blue's website

Beginning Posts for A Brother Blue Christmas:

Previous Posts
I'd like to dedicate my performance of Red Diaper Blues at the World Fellowship Center to Brother Blue and Ruth. They helped give me courage to push the limits - of storytelling and of myself.
Bob Reiser

I will be performing part of Homer's Odysseus for Blue & Ruth 7pm, Out of the Blue Gallery, Pearl St, off Mass ave, central Square, Cambridge,

This one is all for Blue....


I dedicated a story to him on July 16th at an Alternatives to Violence benefit in Poughkeepsie, NY. AVP would interest him - it is a prison inmates' creation affirming the human in all of us.

The benefit was held in a Quaker Meeting House and I told a story of the young Medea.

Janet Carter

Tellers who participated
in the July 14th Mini-Story Festival we dedicated to Brother Blue. I am also attaching the PLAYBILL cover, signed by everyone. (I'll send the Playbill snail mail directly to Brother Blue and Ruth as I know they will enjoy seeing it.)
Thelma Ruffin Thom
as' recitation of "The Storyteller Rap," by Linda Goss;
Jim Hawkins' memories of his immigrant childhood, played out in Astoria, Queens;
Ken Corsbie told a hilarious story about his younger days in Guyana, when he was directing "The Fantastics" and had to pinch hit for the lead singer! Oiy!
Margaret Dawson shared an excerpt from her spectacular version of Euripides' Hecuba, called, "Hecuba Remembers" ;
Joyce Duncan had us roaring with a delightful folktale from the Island of Jamaica;
Alan Kanen told us about three NYC subway "troubadours";
Donna Minkowitz shared excerpt form her soon to be published book "The Marvelous Toy"
Lonnie Harrington, guitar in hand, sang an original song to balance the evening.
I closed the evening with a delightful memory of attending a LANES' Workshop on the Multiple Intelligences. It was my good fortune to be paired with Brother Blue in an activity that required us to tell an Aesop fable, incorporating as many of the MI as possible. I will always remember the fun I had retelling "The Grasshopper and the Ant" with the Master himself, Brother Blue.
Barbara Aliprantis

To Blue & Ruth

Thank you for your presence !


On July 9, I had a storytelling campfire in my backyard for invited families. I dedicated "Two Foxes," an Appalachian tale, to Brother Blue.

Tim Ereneta, Berkeley, California

Brother Blue was an inspiration to me when I lived outside Boston in the 80s, and was just starting to perform, in public. Thanks, Brother Blue.

The Burritt Library, Central Connecticut State University, is enjoying a visit from eighty-five students in the Masters Degree Program of Educational Administration, from Jamaica. When they heard I was a storyteller they asked that I pass on some stories. Im dedicating several stories to Brother Blue, including the traditional tales,Jack the Northwest Wind (Richard Chase), and The Fisherman & His Wife, as well as The White Hair Waterfall, from Chinese Folk Tales, by Louise & Yuan-Hsi Kuo.

Emily S. Chasse

Burritt Library, CCSU

New Britain, CT 06050

Dear Blue and Ruth
I told "Mariposa"
to 75 children at the Log Pre-School in Dorchester on Monday in your names.
Afterwards the children made butterflies with their hands and sent you love.

Ann Marie F.and I started teaching a storytelling club for kids today. We told them about Brother
Blue and after our closing we all held out our hands and went AHHHH sending him healing.
We will continue to use this throughout the weeks we meet.
Cindy K.

I told a story today - July 7th, 2009 - at the Blue Hill Avenue Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester, MA, and I dedicated my telling to Brother Blue. I called the story "Abu Kassim and his Stinky Shoes", and this was the first time I told it publicly. I'd been really nervous about telling it, but when I heard that Brother Blue was sick, I knew I had to take a risk and at least try. Blue is a continual inspiration to me and so many others, and has supported and encouraged me and many other storytellers through his words and his example to us. Just thinking about him really helped me, and gave me the courage to get out there in front of all those kids and just tell it. And I think I did the best imitation of a dog barfing on a shoe ever in my life, I think they really liked it! Thank you Blue, you are much loved.

With gratitude,

Doria Hughes=

every story teller at Out of the Blue on Tuesday, July 7, dedicated their performance to Brother Blue and Ruth.

This included:

Kirk Avery


Magdalene Cantwell

Susan Lenoe

Mike Greenberg

Michael Anderson

Fred Craven

and the feature, Jacob Bloom

100 kids at Tynan Community Center
South Boston Boys and Girls Club
heard -
The Story of Mary Read, Pirate and
Why Sea is Salt and Herman the Talking Worm in honor of Brother Blue today...
I have a recording for them too.

Norah Dooley aka
her mark
Mary Read

Rochester Community Center
Rochester, Michigan
July 6, 10:30a.m.
Title: "Scholar and the Lion"


Ivory D. Williams

Hi Brother Blue,

I dedicate my July 15th performance to Brother Blue who so graciously came

to the Creative Drama class I was teaching at Eastern Connecticut State

University in the early 80's. Brother Blue, you gave my class a wonderful

demonstration of your storytelling, myth, and rhythm. My

informance-performance for the teachers is part of a conference-institute

called Confratute at the Univ. of Connecticut.

Gail N. Herman, Ph.D.

Organic Storyteller and Enrichment Consultant

Hi Blue - Sorry to hear that you're not feeling well. Last night I attended a party at the home of a friend who collects garden gnomes. I wrote a song based on John Lennon's "Imagine", which we sang and dedicated to you. The lyrics are below so that Ruth can sing it to you! The gnome in the photo has a butterfly, although it's hard to see. Everyone sends their best wishes for your speedy recovery.
Joanne Piazzi

Imagine there's Gnome Heaven; it's easy if you try.
The river down below us, above us a blue sky
Imagine all Gnome people, living for today...

Imagine there's Gnome countries, it isn't hard to do
There are Gnome 4H chapters, and Gnome religions, too
Imagine all Gnome people, gardening in peace...

You may say I'm a weirdo, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the humans and gnomes will live as one.

Imagine Gnome possessions, I wonder if you can.
Hoes and rakes and trowels, little watering cans,
Imagine all Gnome people, planting all the world...

You may say I'm a weirdo, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the humans and gnomes will live as on

Tuesday, July 14
A night of stories about Blue and Ruth
Out of the Blue
106 Prospect Street,
in Central Square, Cambridge
8 min. Open Mic
feature: Michael Anderson
on the meaning of
Blue and Ruth