We recently caught up with Glee star Matthew Morrison to capture his views on fame. We’ve been jittery with excitement (me in particular!) to share what he told us.
Some background on Matthew: He starred in Hairspray as Link Larkin (2002-2004) and starred in various other musicals such as Rocky Horror (2002) and The Light in the Piazza (2005). Currently he stars on Glee as the well-loved teacher Will Schuester, and will wrap up on the sixth and final season coming in 2015.
In our interview, which happened in Buffalo just a few weeks before his recent marriage, Matthew took us inside his experiences in the entertainment business:
On what was unexpected: “I never thought beyond the scope of Broadway. Where I’ve gone in television and in films and all that stuff, it’s been something unexpected.”
On his experience as a breakout star in Hairspray: “It was a show that changed a lot of people’s lives in the cast. Twelve, 13 years later, we’re all still such amazing friends. There’s such a bond that was created in that show.”
On setting goals: “It’s all about working hard and knowing what you want and seeing it through. It’s harder as I get older and I get more successful because things happen more quickly and happen so much faster. “ Here, Matthew explained how sometimes he’ll get a call to start shooting a movie within days or a few weeks, leaving little time to absorb the material. “Whereas before,” he said, “I used to have a lot of time to prepare for roles.”
On Chris Colfer, plays the character Kurt, using Glee as a platform for success: “He’s someone who is incredibly talented in so many different ways. He’s an amazing writer — that’s something I didn’t know going into the show. He’s written three best-selling books already. He’s really used the platform to have a successful writing career.”
On the struggle of keeping control in show business: “There have been plenty of times where I’ve been extremely frustrated because there’s a lot of things in this business that you can’t control. Realize that you can’t always be in control and you have to go through the ride.”
On fans’ misconceptions: “It’s so hard to do a television show, especially a show like Glee, because we don’t just do acting. We also have dance rehearsals, and we have the recording studio all the time so there’s a lot of work that goes into it. People sit down and they watch their little hour of television and it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s great!’ I think there’s a big misconception of how much work actually goes into this.”
On fame: “It’s one of those things that is unattainable. I don’t think people should go into anything wanting to be famous.”
On balancing business and creativity: “I wish this business was just called “show” but there is the “business” on the end.”
It sure was one gleeful moment when the actor popped the question to his longtime girlfriend last summer, but Matthew Morrison and Renee Puente must be grinning ear to ear after tying the knot.
The two were married Saturday evening in an intimate celebration in front of 50 family and friends on a private estate in Kihei on the island of Maui, Hawaii, the actor’s rep confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.
Morrison wore a custom Brooks Brothers tuxedo for the occasion, while the bride wore a one-of-a-kind Gustavo gown with shoes specially designed by Emmy London.
Of course a Glee wedding would be incomplete without musical performances. Pianist Chad Whidden played for the crowd and soloist Kiley Dean sang “Feels Like Home” as Puente walked down the aisle.
Later on in the evening, Puente put on a special Hula performance for Morrison, and he then joined her in a couples version. The talented newlyweds ended their performances with a special duet together, singing Laura Benanti’s “Starry Eyed/Video Games.”
Kevin Covey Wedding and Events planned the affair, which featured food by Bev Gannon’s Celebrations Catering – including a special dessert station made up of Morrison and Puente’s favorite family recipes – and floral and décor by Inviting Occasion.
Photography was provided by Natalie Watson Photography and Watson Studios, and the videographer was Perryfield Films.
The Glee actor, 35, and the model, 31, have been dating since 2011. “An incredible night of LOVE @ejaf ball,” Morrison Tweeted in June of the engagement. “I’m going to marry my best friend! Happy day for me and @Renee_Puente.”
Ariana Grande, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Morrison and Katie Holmes are among the cast providing voices for the Weinstein Co.’s English-language version of the Argentine family comedy Underdogs (aka The Unbeatables).
Rounding out the the voice cast of Juan Jose Campanella‘s film are John Leguizamo, Mexican star Eugenio Derbez, Taran Killiam, Saturday Night Live‘s Bobby Moynihan and Rizzoli & Isles‘s Chazz Palminteri.
The film’s release date has been pushed to Apr. 10, 2015, from its previous date of Jan. 15, the date to which Weinstein has just moved its family fantasy Paddington, which was previously set for Christmas.
Underdogs centers on a shy but talented foosball player, Jake, (Morrison) who must defend his town and the girl he loves, Laura (Grande), from the nefarious soccer player Ace (Hoult). He’s aided by the figures on his foosball table, who magically come to life. The screenplay, by Campanella, Gaston Gorali and Eduardo Sacheri, has been reworked for U.S audiences.
“This talented cast takes our script and enhances it, with brilliant improvisation and wonderful chemistry. I’m so proud of these super-talented actors and comedians,” TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein commented in a statement.
The film shares its new release date with Fox’s Nicholas Sparks romance The Longest Ride and Paramount’s fantasy The Moon and the Sun. On its previous date are the thriller Blackhat and the Kevin Hart comedy The Wedding Ringer.
Matthew Morrison’s evening with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra began with the TV star peeking out of a side door, outfitted in a tux and black fedora, microphone in hand, introducing himself.
“… Here in a role he was born to play,” Morrison boomed in his best announcer voice, before pausing for a beat, then adding, “because he’s playing himself!”
Lest you thought Morrison was born to play Will Schuester, the fashionably optimistic choir director on the Fox hit “Glee,” he clarified that too.
“I’m not really a high school teacher – I just play one on TV,” he told the mostly full audience inside Kleinhans Music Hall. “I spend my days in classy music halls like this one.”
Actually, for the next couple of months, Morrison is spending most of his days on a Los Angeles soundstage, filming the final season of “Glee’s” six-year run. But after that, he’s likely back to his Broadway roots. Which means Morrison – who before “Glee” starred in “Hairspray,” “South Pacific” and “The Light in the Piazza” – will be singing live with much more frequency than the handful of orchestra concerts he’s doing this fall.
And that’s a good thing, because by all indications from his Buffalo show, the 35-year-old is poised to revive a form of musical performance he feels has faded: the song-and-dance man.
In a two-hour show that featured about 70 minutes of Morrison’s music along with a trio of BPO songs led by guest conductor John Morris Russell, he covered 13 songs with the orchestra backing him. Morrison opened with the 1931 Duke Ellington and Irving Mills tune, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” then worked his way through a blend of Broadway and jazz numbers, the best of which was a rendition of Dean Martin’s “Sway.”
Morrison personalized some numbers; for example, to “The Lady is a Tramp,” he added the localized lyrics, “She likes a ball game, thinks the Bills are fine … Jim Kelly is a friend of mine.”
(Interesting side note: Morrison has a Western New York connection. His dad, who accompanied him to Buffalo, is a Niagara University grad.)
He talked about the wistfulness of elusive love while leading into “Street Where You Live” and “As Long as She Needs Me,” the latter a gender-flipped version the “Oliver” number “As Long as He Needs Me.”
Trim and muscular with smooth dancing ability, Morrison knows his sex appeal. He doesn’t flaunt it, but doesn’t ignore it either. He told the audience about his role in “South Pacific” that required him to sing shirtless at Lincoln Center eight times a week. He offered to do the same on stage at Kleinhans, and started loosening his bow tie – one of the few times the politely quiet orchestra crowd started buzzing.
Then he stopped.
“I only take my shirt off in Lincoln Center,” Morrison said, tie dangling from both sides of his collar. “In Lincoln Center, it’s art.
“In Buffalo, it’s a Bills game in December.”
Morrison is ever the showman. But he wasn’t the only one on stage.
Guest conductor Russell sparkled, too. From exuberantly mouthing the words to both the U.S. and Canadian anthems to telling stories on stage before Morrison emerged in both the first and second acts, Russell was entertaining.
In fact, he was almost too entertaining for a show in which he wasn’t the star.
Take what happened during a punchy version of Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me,” which was arranged by Morrison’s musical director and pianist Brad Ellis (who’s also the pianist on “Glee”): Morrison tapped Russell, took his baton and started conducting the orchestra. Russell took Morrison’s microphone and started singing.
It was entertaining, for sure, but you also had the sense Morrison and Russell were slightly competing for the spotlight. Continue reading »
Have the likes of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire vanished into the air of history?
Maybe so, but Matthew Morrison is determined to change that. With his velvet voice, deft dancing and chiseled chin, he might just do it.
Morrison, 35, is wrapping up the role that made him famous, the musical and fashionable teacher Will Schuester on “Glee.” The Fox hit is entering its sixth and final season, meaning Morrison will soon be free to return to New York and, aside from choice movie and TV gigs, revel on the stage he loves the most: Broadway.
“I can’t wait to get back onstage,” said Morrison, who starred on Broadway in “Hairspray,” “The Light in the Piazza” and “South Pacific.”
Not that Morrison has been exclusive to “Glee.” Between the show and some film work, Morrison released a pair of CDs, recorded a duet with Elton John, and has been performing live shows for a few years.
He’s coming to town to open the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s Pop Series at 8 p.m. Saturday in Kleinhans Music Hall.
“He’s an old-school kind of star,” said Brad Ellis, Morrison’s musical director and also the piano player on “Glee.” “My phrase for it is ‘the man at the microphone.’ ”
Morrison recently chatted with us by phone from New York hours before flying to Los Angeles to begin shooting “Glee’s” final season.
Question:How has “Glee” impacted your life? Morrison: There are positives and negatives to everything. I’m looking out the window of my New York City apartment right now, and I wouldn’t have these kind of luxuries in my life without this kind of show. What it’s done for my career has been just incredible. As an actor, the only power you have is the power to say no. Unfortunately, in a lot of actors’ careers you can’t afford to say no because you want to soak up every opportunity you can possibly get. The luxury to pick and choose what you want to do is something I feel so lucky to have.
There’s a negative side to it, too. My fiancée and I are getting married next year and people are just trying to get inside our lives, find out what our wedding date is, and really just get into our business. I’m a human being like anyone else, so it’s just kind of frustrating when I can’t have that anonymity that I used to have.
Q:Elton John is your friend and collaborator, and President Obama is a fan of yours. That has to be a little surreal. Morrison: Growing up, Elton John’s music was always playing in my house because my parents loved him. So now that I’m friends with him and his partner, watching his kids grow up and stuff, it is kind of surreal to me. But at the same time I know him on a personal level, so he’s not “Elton John” to me anymore. He’s just Elton.
President Obama is something different. He’s someone who’s kind of untouchable still. As much as I would like to say I’m friends with him, you can never have a real, honest conversation with him because there are people with guns around. That’s a different scenario. Maybe one day I’ll have a good conversation with him when he’s out of the White House.
Q:What’s your goal with your stage show? Morrison: I feel like the classic song-and-dance man is gone, the days of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Those people have influenced my life like no one else, so I’m trying to bring that back a little bit. My stage show is very that – timeless American classic songs, mixed with a dance aspect, a very smooth, throwback band. I tell stories of my time before “Glee,” coming up the ranks in the Broadway community, landing “Glee,” and what my journey is going to be afterward. Which I don’t know, but I make up some stuff.
Q:So how are you feeling about the end of “Glee”? Morrison: It’s bittersweet, but I come from a world where I’m used to doing a part for a year at a time, then you leave and do another role. This is going to be interesting because I’ve been doing this role for six years now, almost seven years, so I’m ready to leave it behind. I’m looking forward to the future. I’m going to be doing some more film and television, but at the end of the day, I can’t wait to get back onstage … get back to New York and back on Broadway.
Q:You’re a young guy to ask about legacy, but I’ll ask: Is Broadway where you want to leave your mark? Morrison: I like the multifaceted aspect of my career: doing concerts, straight acting gigs, and then doing musical theater shows. The diversity has been fun. But absolutely, my heart is onstage. That’s why I started doing concerts, to fill that void of not being onstage while doing this television show. I’m looking forward to getting back. I just can’t wait.
A pop culture celebrity from television and Broadway will open the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra pops concert series this Saturday at Klenihans Music Hall. Singer, actor and dancer Matthew Morrison — one of the star’s of “Glee” — will make his debut with the BPO. WBFO’S Eileen Buckley had a chance to speak with Morrison ahead of this weekend’s Buffalo appearance.
Broadway.com is bringing you a recap of all the weird stuff that happened this week. From Sarah Jessica Parker’s house-sized closet to the food obsessions of our favorite Broadway stars, it’s all right here in the Lessons of the Week.
Matt Morrison & Adam Jacobs Are in a Cult
Before going the clean-cut route in Aladdin and Glee, these Broadway bros were apparently involved in some dark stuff. In college at NYU, the stars belonged to a creepy sounding group called “The Tribe,” which Jacobs joked was “a secret cult.” Hey, you guys need some more members? We’ll drink that Kool-Aid any day of the week.