The stars of the hot, new Broadway musical talk about the demanding roles.
Matthew and Kelsey Grammer talk “Finding Neverland” on Good Morning America!
The stars of the hot, new Broadway musical talk about the demanding roles.
An Interview with Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison
USA TODAY reporter Elysa Gardner talks to actors Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison who are returning to Broadway in ‘Finding Neverland.’ Eileen Blass, USA TODAY
Mr. Schue in Neverland: Matthew Morrison on the End of Glee and Going Back to Broadway
Click on the image for HQ. Ruven Afador for Vulture
It’s late afternoon, halfway through a 12-hour-long rehearsal day forFinding Neverland, the musical version of the 2004 Johnny Depp movie about the playwright J.M. Barrie — creator, 111 years ago, of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, which made his career and also inspired the 1953 Disney animated movie, the 1960 stage-to-screen version starring Mary Martin, the peanut-butter brand, the bus company, the solidly mediocre NBC live event starring Allison Williams last year, and Michael Jackson’s ranch (not to mention the so-called syndrome, which describes commitment-phobic arrested development). At the moment, Matthew Morrison, who plays Barrie, is stage right in the 1,505-seat Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, practicing his dance spins.
The previews of Finding Neverland are timed almost exactly to the wrap of Morrison’s six-year run as the earnestly encouraging Ohio high-school singing-club coach Will Schuester on Fox’s once-game-changing sing-along dramedy Glee.Morrison has traded his Mr. Schue sweater-vest for an Edwardian suit to play this dancing Barrie, whom Depp played with dreamy charm and sincerity, loitering on a park bench and not at all creepily gazing at frolicking boys while writing in his notebook. As we all wait for the scene to start, Morrison will lie down, then sit up on his knees, hands in his lap, in a sort of yogic meditation pose. There’s a lot of waiting around between takes during rehearsals.
The real-life Barrie was, by all accounts, an unusual model for a Broadway leading man. His wife left him, saying they never consummated their marriage, and he practically stalked the cancer-stricken widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her five “lost boys” after the death of their father in 1907. After her demise, in 1910, he became their guardian, paying for their educations at Eton and Oxford (one of the boys died young in World War I, and another later took his own life). But Finding Neverland is entertainment, not strict biography, and Morrison, 36, was hired for, among other attributes, his Glee-bred upright-sensitive-guy élan.
Barrie was irresistible in part because it’s simply a big lead role, of the sort he was on the path to in his 20s right out of NYU’s Tisch school. He had starring roles in Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza (for which he was a Tony nominee for Best Featured Actor in a Musical at 26), and South Pacific. He was well on his way to becoming the sort of leading man Broadway hadn’t seen in quite a while. And then Glee sent him back to high school for six years.
“I have this kind of underlying issue of unentitlement,” says Jane Lynch, his former Glee onscreen nemesis. “Matt is one of the most entitled people I’ve ever met, but in the most lovely way. He knows he’s got the goods, but he wears it lightly.” And Morrison is the sort of person who always seems like he has a plan (he tells me, “We’ve got our little timeline” about the possibility of him and his wife having kids, and says he makes enough money renting out the apartment he bought in Hell’s Kitchen in 2005, pre-Glee, that it “pretty much” pays the mortgage on his new condo).
“This is the perfect project for where Matthew is right now,” says the show’s director, Diane Paulus, who comes over and sits next to me for a few minutes during a break in the run-through of a number called “Stronger.” “He’s not the young ingenue hitting the scene anymore. He’s older and just got married, and this is the story of a man who is on his journey to becoming a father.”
Neverland is being produced by Harvey Weinstein, who has never been the lead producer on a Broadway show before and who got the idea that the decorous film could make a great musical partly because it was his daughters’ favorite of the films he’s made. The travails of getting this one to the stage have been much talked about in the theater world: Weinstein threw out the first version of it after a tepidly received 2012 run in the U.K. and hired Gary Barlow, of ’90s boy band Take That, and Eliot Kennedy, who produced the Spice Girls, among others, to give it a pop-music score. He recruited Paulus, who won a Tony for Pippin and runs the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as Morrison, whose agent patched Weinstein through to him while he was on the set ofGlee. “You always take a call from Harvey Weinstein,” Morrison says. (He also signed on for the forthcoming Weinstein film Tulip Fever.)
It’s sometimes hard to remember now, but Glee was, especially in its first two seasons, a little pop-cultural revolution, updating a largely abandoned entertainment idiom of plot-propelling musical numbers for a post-MTV age, giving dancing-in-the-hallways heart to a show that could, for all its affirmational swagger, be jagged and immature. It kind of never really grew up. “The more I look back on the show, I think of it fondly, and I think about all the amazing changes it did for our world,” Morrison says, speaking of how it always let its characters express just who they were, or wanted to be (and not just because “it definitely afforded me the lifestyle that I’ve loved to have”). “I look at arts programs now, and I feel like theater is where the cool kids are, and it’s kind of changed. Theater is now accepted more than it used to be.” But, he says, “Glee had its heyday, and then it kind of just slowly started declining,” ending up on Friday nights, “which no one watches. It’s where shows go to die.” As he acknowledges: “There were just so many characters. There are a lot of people and a lot of story lines. It’s one of the biggest casts on television. They have the New Directions, the original New Directions, and then you have the new New Directions … The new ones didn’t really click with people, so they had to start bringing back in the old people.”
Lynch’s postmortem is similar. “It’s like emotional whiplash, my character,” she says. “I have that redemption scene with Matt: ‘I want to be your friend, I’m jealous of you.’ I had that scene six times.” In the end, it just became “confusing,” Morrison says. “They have so many things that we don’t even talk about. Sue having a child. We’re always like … I forget the baby’s name right now. Where’s Wanda, or whatever its name is?” Morrison also didn’t know the air date of the last episode off the top of his head.
That rehearsal day, it’s time for a costume rendition of “Stronger,” in which Barrie, finally confronted with his own imaginatively timid, notebook-scribbling, cosseted sense of self, has a kind of psychic break and conjures Captain Hook — his swashbuckling id — for the first time. (A smoke machine is deployed for this.) But first Hook, played by a lustrously bewigged and hook-handed Kelsey Grammer (that day in running shoes), needs his fake mustache. Apparently it will help him get into pirate mode.
The rehearsal for the number begins with Hook declaring that he’s a figment of Barrie’s “circus of the mind” (“I came from you …”), while his band of scalawags choreographically move a park bench around onstage and knock Morrison about until he — Barrie — is willing to accept the Hook-y side of himself. It ends, stirringly, with Barrie, now vestless, declaring: “I am stronger,” poised atop that bench that doubles in his imagination as a ship, sword aloft.
*This article appears in the March 23, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.
Good Morning America goes behind the scenes of “Finding Neverland”!
Matthew takes “Good Morning America” behind the scenes of “Finding Neverland”!
Matthew and the rest of the Glee cast reflect on six ‘Groundbreaking’ seasons
POSTED ON Mar 19, 2015 BY Valentina INVideo
FIRST LOOK: See Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer Take On Peter Pan in Broadway’s Finding Neverland
The Broadway version of Finding Neverland is finally taking flight.
The Glee actor, 36, stars in the leading role as Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie, while the Frasier alum, 60, plays famed stage producer Charles Frohman.
Directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus, the show tells the story of the Scottish playwright Barrie and the family who inspired him to write the classic tale of the Lost Boys on the island of Neverland.
British actress Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins), 34, also stars in the show as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, the mother of the four boys who inspired the Peter Pan adventures.
The curtain goes up April 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in N.Y.C.
The Boys Are Back! Matthew Morrison, Peter Gallagher and David Burtka Talk Shop Over Drinks
POSTED ON Mar 13, 2015 BY Valentina INInterview
Matthew Morrison was living the bi-coastal life, wrapping up the final season of “Glee” in L.A. and beginning rehearsals for Finding Neverland. Peter Gallagher traded in television (“Rescue Me,” “Covert Affairs”) for a train ticket in On the Twentieth Century. And, David Burtka’s been playing performer by day, in It Shoulda Been You, and “Single Dad” by night (while husband Neil Patrick Harris was busy with Oscar hosting duties).
Nevertheless the trio found a few minutes to grab a drink at Urbo, the hot, new bar-restaurant that’s sprung up on the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue — right down the block from Gallagher’s theatre (the American Airlines) and the New 42nd Street Studios (where It Shoulda Been You andFinding Neverland make preparations for their New York debuts).
“So, who’s ready for an eight-show week?” I ask.
“Who’s ever ready for that?” counters Morrison, with a laugh.
“Well, I’m not in a schedule yet. I’m still in the rehearsal process, and it’s been wild. I can’t believe… Was it as fast paced?” Burtka asks the guys. “Like, [they] play a song, and you’re supposed to know it?”
“Yeah,” answers Morrison.
“It’s gotten faster,” Burtka continues. “It’s been 12 years since I’ve done a show, and I have a little dancing, too, in this show, and I’m waking up just so sore. My legs are killing me. Your body is not used to that 10-6 every day.”
Gallagher chimes in: “There’s no human being who is used to eight shows a week.”
But the three are off to the races. Morrison and Gallagher return to, respectively, headline as J.M. Barrie in the Peter Pan story Finding Neverland and Oscar Jaffee opposite Kristin Chenoweth in On the Twentieth Century — their first Broadway outings since 2008, when Morrison played in Lt. Joseph Cable in the revival of South Pacific and Gallagher played Bernie Dodd The Country Girl.
“I feel at home,” Morrison confides. “I became a man in New York. My first Broadway show was [at] 19 years old… Being away for so long [and coming] back, I feel like a child again, and it kind of resonates with the theme of our show, but I have this real childlike spirit right now, and it’s exciting to be in that place.”
Now, at 36, “I’m a little more wise,” he admits. “I’m not going to the bars and stuff after a show now. I am married, and my wife [model Renee Puente] is from Hawaii, so seeing this city for the first time through her eyes has been kind of exciting for me. It’s her first time living in New York.”
“It must be brutal for her right now,” Burtka says, glancing out the window, as snow falls over Times Square in early March.
“No, she’s loving it. She absolutely loves it, and thankfully! But, yeah, that’s been the biggest change — just growing up and growing out of that. When I was younger, Broadway used to be like to be a big party.”
Burtka adds, “Oh, yeah… When we were young, we were doing the same season [Gypsy and Hairspray], and we would see each other out at the bars all the time after the show. Almost every single night, we would go out, have a drink, and now it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t even have a drink at night or I’ll be too tired in the morning.'”
After all, the dashing leading men have become household names over the years, even if they won’t admit it.
“I never had that realization,” says Gallagher of his celebrity status. “It’s either you’re working or you’re not, and when you’re not working, you’re worried about working. I remember I was doing Long Day’s Journey in London with Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey, and when Jack would really knock it out of the park at night, he’d want to rehearse [after the show] on stage. ‘Hey, hey, uh… kid… Do you want to do a little work? I’ll buy you a sammichhh.’ He’d say that as we were exiting after the curtain call, and we’d have these one-over rehearsals — the two of us. And, one night, when he was leaving, he said, ‘Hey, kid… You got anything lined up yet?’ I said, ‘No, Jack.’ He said, ‘Me neither.’ And, I thought, ‘Oh my God, Jack Lemmon is worried about his next job.'”
“How old was he?” Morrison asks.
“He was 63-64 then, and so it kind of just opened my eyes. He was a household name, and I’ve done such a variety of things that I would never call myself a household name — [maybe] somebody that people are familiar with — but I think that’s the essence of it. It’s all about showing up. AsWoody Allen said, ‘Ninety percent of life…’ I think it’s 99 percent of life.
“You never arrive, and if for a moment you think you have arrived, then you’re done.”
The guys agree.
“You’re a household name in my home,” Morrison tells Gallagher.
“Well, you’re a household name in my home — that’s for sure,” Gallagher replies. “My daughter was a huge fan of your show.”
As for Burtka, “Hopefully they know my name in my house!” he says.
The Cast of Finding Neverland Prepares for Its Broadway Landing
Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, and cast members of the brand-new musical channel their inner child as they meet the press.
Harvey Weinstein’s Finding Neverland begins performances March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Tony-nominated Glee star Matthew Morrison returns to Broadway after six years in the leading role of author J.M. Barrie, creator of the famous Peter Pan character. Following a preview performance of the imaginative new production, TheaterMania sat down with Morrison, along with Tony-winning director Diane Paulus, Emmy-winning choreographer Mia Michaels, and castmates Laura Michelle Kelly, Carolee Carmello, and Kelsey Grammer, to talk about their time in Neverland and the impending transition to the Great White Way.
Vineyard Theatre today announced that Betty Buckley, Kathleen Chalfant, Holly Hunter, Tony Kushner, Matthew Morrison, Tonya Pinkins, Kate Mulgrew and Aaron Tveit will join host John Waters (Hairspray, Cry Baby) for their 2015 Gala honoring Tony Award-winning producer Margo Lion. The annual Gala Fundraiser will take place on Monday, March 30th, 2015, beginning at 6:30pm, at Edison Ballroom (240 West 47th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). The Gala performance will be directed by Tony Award winnerMichael Mayer (Hedwig, Spring Awakening, Brooklynite).
Full article on BroadwayWorld.
Matthew talks to Good Day NY about “Finding Neverland”!
Actor Matthew Morrison previews the remaining episodes of ‘GLEE’ and his upcoming role in the Broadway musical, ‘Finding Neverland.’
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