Talking with Matthew Morrison
POSTED ON Dec 02, 2016 BY Valentina INInterview

He’s won hearts—and critical acclaim—as everyone’s favorite teacher on television hit Glee, and been nominated for two Drama Desk awards for portraying Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie in Broadway’s Finding Neverland. What role will Matthew Morrison be playing when he comes to the Van Wezel Jan. 12?

Apparently, mostly himself. Morrison’s appearance here will be “kind of impromptu,” the actor said in an interview. “I did this before with [composer-musician-radio host] Seth Rudetsky, and half of the show is more of an interview with me. Then Seth gets over to the piano and starts riffing off some songs that were in shows and musicals I’ve done in the past. But he can throw me a loop sometimes, so you never know for sure what will happen.”

One thing that has been pretty certain through Morrison’s life: a show business career. “I was big into soccer as a kid, and I also thought I might go into the medical field, since both of my parents were,” he says. “But then my dad, who was a midwife, took me to work one day and I saw babies being born, all the blood, etc. I thought I’d stick to performing.”

He was encouraged by a mentor at the Orange County High School of the Arts, who told him, “‘I feel a lot of potential in you’,” he recalls. “That made me really think about a career as an actor.”

Morrison headed to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied for two years before dropping out and joining the Broadway cast of Footloose. Other roles that came his way were in a revival of The Rocky Horror Showand his big break as heartthrob Link Larkin in Hairspray. Since then, besides his turns on Glee and in Finding Neverland, he’s also appeared in the musical The Light in the Piazza (scoring a Tony nomination) and as Lieutenant Cable in a Lincoln Center production of South Pacific.

What kind of roles does he gravitate to? “Ten years ago, I would have said whatever role I could get,” he laughs. “Now that I’m older and more established, a role has to be really worth taking the time away from my family.” Married in 2014, Morrison says he and his wife are definitely planning to have kids sometime soon.

Morrison says the stage is his first love, and that’s why he enjoys doing shows like the one at the Van Wezel, “being up there entertaining people.” But Glee, he says, was special, “because I was part of a TV show that stood for something. We got to bring music into people’s living rooms and talk about hot button issues; we had a voice, and we used it.”—Kay Kipling

For tickets to the Morrison/Rudetsky show, call 953-3368 or go to vanwezel.org.

SarasotaMagazine

Morrison Adventures: Hakuna Matata
POSTED ON Nov 20, 2016 BY Valentina INVideo

“I think just moving to New York City right out of high school,” said the actor at a screening of Allied hosted by the Cinema Society and Chandon. “I grew up in Southern California and sometimes I look back and I’m in awe of my 18-year-old self to have the courage to come out here and try to make it [in theater]. I think that was the riskiest thing I’ve ever done.”

NYMag

Before Hairspray made its way to Broadway, where it would go on to win the Tony Award for best musical, the show’s leading man left the production.

“We went out of town to start doing the show and our Link Larkin got a movie and left us cold,” says Marissa Jaret Winokur, who is featured in the current issue of PEOPLE.

Winokur, who starred as plus-size optimist Tracy Turnblad in the musical based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, says she decided to get involved in the casting process.

“Matt Morrison was the hot chorus boy and I kept saying to them, ‘Matt Morrison is really hot. He should do it’ – only because I thought he was hot,” she says of the Gleestar. “I didn’t know if he was talented or anything. He was just that cute boy with the big curly hair. I said, ‘That’s my Link.’ But the joke is on us. He blew up and is everywhere.”

Of course, being costars meant making out in eight shows a week.

“My boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband, would come visit and I would be, like, ‘I like the way Matt kisses better,’ ” jokes Winokur, who wed TV producer Judah Miller in 2006.

Now, Winokur will cameo in NBC’s TV event based on the Broadway musical inspired by Waters’ 1988 film, Hairspray Live!

“I said, ‘Even if there’s something fun for us to do backstage, I just want to be a part of it,’ ” she says.

Hairspray Live! airs Dec. 7 on NBC.

People

2016 American Museum Of Natural History Museum Gala
POSTED ON Nov 18, 2016 BY Valentina INGallery

Matthew and Renee attend the 2016 American Museum Of Natural History Museum Gala on November 17 in New York City.

Pictures: 2016 American Museum Of Natural History Museum Gala

After a successful first season, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts has announced the 2016-17 lineup for Broadway Up Close, hosted by Sirius XM Radio Star Seth Rudetsky. Formerly known as the Seth Rudetsky Broadway Concert Series, the Broadway Up Close concert series will consist of four performances featuring renowned actors from the stage and screen.

This season’s lineup will include Tony Award winners Chita Rivera and Alice Ripley, the Tony, Emmy & Golden Globe nominated star of Glee, Matthew Morrison, and Grammy, Tony & Emmy nominated star Vanessa Williams. Broadway Up Close is presented in association with Mark Cortale Productions.

“This new season of Broadway Up Close adds another layer to our fabulous Broadway programming by providing access to the best of Broadway in our intimate Perelman Theater,” said Anne Ewers, President and CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “These cabaret-style performances, hosted by the incomparable Seth Rudetsky, give audiences an opportunity to experience Broadway as the title implies, up close, through song and stories from their favorite artists.”

In a new BuzzFeed quiz, fans can determine which of the stars they identify with, based on the roles that made each famous. The quiz can be accessed here.

The 2016-17 Broadway Up Close season will consist of the following performances: Matthew Morrison on Saturday, December 17, 2016; Vanessa Williams on Saturday, January 21, 2017; Alice Ripley on Saturday, May 6, 2017; and Chita Rivera on Saturday, June 3, 2017. All performances in the Broadway Up Close season will take place in the Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with the exception of Chita Rivera, which will take place at the Merriam Theater. A full schedule of dates and venues follows.

BROADWAY UP CLOSE:

Hosted by Seth Rudetsky

Matthew Morrison

Perelman Theater

December 17, 2016

BroadwayWorld

Matthew attends a special screening of “Allied”
POSTED ON Nov 16, 2016 BY Valentina INGallery

Matthew and Renee attend a special screening of “Allied” at the iPic Cinema Fulton Market in NYC on November 15, 2016.

Pictures: Paramount Pictures with The Cinema Society & Chandon Host a Special Screening of “Allied” (November 15)

Matthew takes part to a Benefit Reading of “Proud Of Us” and other short plays by Wesley Taylor at the New World Stages in NYC on November 14, 2016.

Additional pictures: The Actors Fund Presents A Benefit Reading Of Proud Of Us And Other Short Plays By Wesley Taylor (November 14)


Matthew and Renee pose with Kristin Chenoweth, Andy Karl and Orfeh backstage at the last performance of “Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway” at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre on November 13, 2016 in NYC.

All the pictures: “Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway” (November 13)


Photos: Bruce Glikas

The stage and screen star talks Hairspray Live!, the key to Link Larkin, and how Glee brought on a new musical age.

“I hope he can dance,” Matthew Morrison says when asked what advice he has for Garrett Clayton in Hairspray Live! “I think that’s such a big thing I brought to the role; he’s got to be a real triple threat.”

Morrison was only 23 years old when he bowed as teen heartthrob Link Larkin in Hairspray. It was his first major role on Broadway.

Fourteen years later, and Morrison is a Tony nominee (for The Light in the Piazza) and a major television star thanks to Fox’s Glee.

And although Morrison was absent from the stage for a few years, Glee—and by default, Morrison—arguably wound up shepherding us into a new world where musical theatre is cool and one-night-only live television musical events are the highlight of holiday programming on network TV.

Still, no one ever expected Glee to be the success that it was. “We did the first 13 episodes in a bubble before anyone had seen the show,” explains Morrison. “We were doing this show about a bunch of high school kids singing and dancing. We all thought it was cool, but I don’t think anyone expected the kind of pandemonium, or this great trajectory, that the show ended up having.”

What initially attracted Morrison to Glee and his character, teacher and choir director Will Schuester, was the show’s goal not only to entertain but educate. “As an actor you are kind of just hired to perform and do a role,” he says. “You look at a lot of these procedural shows like Law and Order, the cop shows, the lawyer shows, they’re kind of the same thing. They’re great entertainment—I love watching them—but it never really hits home to people. It was so special to be part of something that actually made a difference in people’s lives and … touched on so many social issues.”

Morrison found inspiration in a series with a deeper message, but also loved introducing audiences to new sounds. “Glee not only brought musical theatre into people’s lives who didn’t know it, but I think reversely it brought pop music to an older generation that doesn’t really know songs that are out now—it exposed them to that,” he says.

Glee awakened an appetite for musicals that TV execs didn’t know America had and, arguably, set the stage for a resurgence of musicals on the small screen, including, coincidentally, Hairspray Live!

The actor clearly adores the show that was his first big break (he performs an eight-minute Hairspray medley in his solo act), and he “can’t wait to see it” on December 7.

“I think the great thing about Hairspray—and why I think it’s going to work so well in this format—is that so much of this show is done in a television studio. So it kind of makes sense that we are watching it on TV,” he says. “I hope they really play up that aspect of the whole thing.”

Despite his excitement to tune in and his small part in paving the way for musicals on television, Morrison isn’t fully convinced of the live television musical event. “I don’t think it’s the ideal way to present one of these—a musical that we all know and love—because it’s hard, and you’re rushed, and I feel like it’s such a crazy atmosphere,” he says. “In a sense, that is kind of what doing a Broadway show is, but at the same time you don’t have to worry about a whole crew of camera men and lighting…”

Still, he confesses that every one he sees “just keeps getting better.”

So could Morrison be convinced to join one? “I never want to say never, but for me it’s so hard to pull off. Right now, at this point, I would have to say no,” he says. “But who knows?”

Where there’s a Will there’s a way.

Hairspray Live! airs December 7 8/7c on NBC.

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