Newly released trailer Matt’s upcoming animated movie “Underdogs”, in theaters soon!
Newly released trailer Matt’s upcoming animated movie “Underdogs”, in theaters soon!
Matthew Morrison on His Magical, Musical Journey to Neverland
What’s more exciting than singing Broadway hits on national television? For Glee star Matthew Morrison, the answer is returning to his theatrical roots to play Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in the new musical Finding Neverland.
Make no mistake: Morrison is endlessly grateful for the career-boosting gift of playing teacher Will Schuester on the music-heavy Fox series for the past six years. “If I could have written a show for myself, Glee is the one I’d have written,” says the 36-year-old actor, who added Emmy and Golden Globe nominations to a résumé that already included a Tony nod for The Light in the Piazza. “But there’s something so different about being in front of a live audience, telling a story from beginning to end. I’ve realized that the stage is the place where I do my best work.”
Leading a cast that includes Kelsey Grammer as producer Charles Frohman and Laura Michelle Kelly as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (matriarch of the family that inspired Barrie to pen Peter Pan), Morrison will begin his latest Broadway star turn on March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, with opening night set for April 15. “It feels like coming home,” he says. “Having been away from Broadway for six years, I wanted my return to be something special, and when Finding Neverland came along, I thought, I have to tell this story.”
Morrison is stepping into the role that earned Johnny Depp a 2005 best actor Oscar nomination. Like the heartwarming film hit, the musical introduces audiences to James Matthew Barrie, the Scottish-born dramatist whose friendship with the four young sons of an ailing London widow led to the creation of Peter and his band of Lost Boys. “I’m a big fan of seeing the story behind the story,” says Morrison, “and it’s especially fascinating with the creation of an iconic character like Peter Pan. And without giving anything away, some of the visual pictures are absolutely stunning.”
The real J.M. Barrie wasn’t as handsome or charismatic as Matthew Morrison or Johnny Depp, and his success came amid sorrows such as the death of his older brother when James was 6 and his unhappy marriage to actress Mary Ansell. “He is one of those guys who seems to have everything but isn’t connected to his true self,” observes Morrison. “Then he meets Peter, who doesn’t have any joy in him, and he wants to save this boy from a life like his own, because he feels like he grew up too fast.”
Diane Paulus, the musical’s Tony-winning director, praises her new leading man as a perfect match for his role. “This is the story of an artistic reawakening,” she explains. “You see how his connection with this free-spirited woman and her four children unlocks J.M. Barrie as an artist and makes it possible for him to break new ground. In many ways, there’s a parallel for Matthew: He’s been so successful in L.A., and now he’s coming [back] to unlock something that I am hoping as his director will make people say, ‘Wow!’ This show is the right fit for where he is right now in his career, and how he’s grown.”
Finding Neverland’s score, by British songwriters Gary Barlow (of the pop group Take That) and Eliot Kennedy, “is a wonderful blend of contemporary and classic,” says Morrison, a description that mirrors his stage career, having starred on Broadway in both Hairspray (as teen idol Link Larkin) and South Pacific (as “Younger Than Springtime” soloist Lieutenant Cable). “The show takes place in the early 1900s, so the costumes are old-fashioned, but there’s this amazing pop sensibility to the songs.”
Morrison began his own professional balancing act at a prestigious arts high school near his home in Orange County, California. He received such good training, in fact, that when he entered NYU’s theater program, he couldn’t see a reason to spend four years abiding by the school’s strict “no audition” policy. “I just wanted to be on Broadway,” he says now. “That was my goal since I was a young kid.” The talented singer/dancer dropped out during his sophomore year after winning a spot in the ensemble of the 1998 musical Footloose and began climbing the Broadway ranks. Then came Glee, and an abrupt leap into the public eye.
“It’s been a life-changing career opportunity, and a great tool to bring attention to social issues,” he says of Glee, which began its final season in early January. “Parents could sit down with their kids and see stories about teen pregnancy and school shootings and being gay in high school, then turn off the TV and have a conversation about it.” Along the way, Morrison got to show off his supple vocals in songs as varied as “Sway,” “Endless Love,” “Over the Rainbow” (accompanying himself on ukulele), and even a mashup of “Singing in the Rain” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella” with Gwyneth Paltrow. Glee also gave national coverage to dozens of musical theater standards. “I do concerts with symphony orchestras, and I talk about how amazing it was for kids to get exposed to Broadway music on television week in and week out,” he says. “It’s a show I will always be associated with, and I’m proud of that.”
The past few months have been a whirlwind for Morrison, who married his longtime girlfriend, model Renee Puente, on October 18 in a beachfront ceremony on Maui. Amazingly, the event wasn’t ruined by the arrival of Hurricane Ana, and the smiling newlyweds performed a hula for their guests. In December, Morrison joined the New York Pops and his Light in the Piazza andSouth Pacific costar Kelli O’Hara for three sold-out holiday concerts, the perfect prelude to his Broadway homecoming.
“That experience was incredible,” he says of reuniting with O’Hara on the stage of Carnegie Hall. “We’re tied together not only by the shows we’ve done, but she’s one of my closest friends. I was at her wedding [to singer/songwriter Greg Naughton] and she would have been at mine if she hadn’t been working. We’ve seen each other grow, and now we’re both coming back to Broadway.” (O’Hara will headline The King and I at Lincoln Center Theater beginning March 15.) With a laugh, Morrison adds, “The only problem is that we’ll be on the same schedule so we can’t see each other’s shows!”
After six years away, Morrison is most excited about returning to the tight-knit Broadway community. “As close as you get to a television cast, there’s something special about the theater,” he muses. “I think it’s the fact that you’re performing live, so you really depend on the people you’re on stage with. Everyone has each other’s backs, and that connection translates off stage. I can’t wait to be part of the Finding Neverland family and to bring this beautiful show to life.”
First released picture of Matthew with Kelsey Grammer and Laura Michelle Kelly, starring together in Finding Neverland. Previews start on March 15, 2015 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in NYC!
From the official website:
FINDING NEVERLAND is the new Broadway musical that tells the fascinating story of how Peter became Pan. Based on the Academy Award®-winning film of the same name, it has been brought to extraordinary life by the team behind Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and Pippin.
This breathtaking show follows playwright J.M. Barrie, who needs a big hit to save his floundering career. He finds the inspiration he’s been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter. Delighted by the boys’ hilarious escapades, Barrie conjures the magical world of Neverland and writes a play unlike any the high-society London theatergoers have ever seen. It’s a tremendous risk, but as Barrie himself has discovered—when you believe, you can fly.
Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) directs this innovative new musical featuring an original score by noted songwriter/composer Gary Barlow and Grammy Award® winner Eliot Kennedy, with a book by celebrated playwright James Graham. Packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, FINDING NEVERLAND is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.
First HQ episode stills for the upcoming sixth and final season of Glee, premiering on January 9, 2015 at 8/7c on FOX.
GLEE: Will (Matthew Morrison) in the first part of the special two-hour “Loser Like Me/Homecoming” Season Premiere episode of GLEE on Friday, Jan. 9 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Tyler Golden/FOX
GLEE: Matthew Morrison as Will in “The Hurt Locker, Part One” episode of GLEE airing Friday, Jan. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Eddy Chen/FOX
UHQ pictures in the Gallery
Matthew and Kelli: Home for the Holidays – videos and additional pictures!
Kelli O’Hara and Matthew Morrison Perform Holiday Concert with NY Pops – pictures!
POSTED ON Dec 22, 2014 BY Valentina INGallery
Matthew and Kelli O’Hara rehearse and then perform for “Kelli and Matthew: Home For The Holidays”, the two concerts that took place at Carnegie Hall on December 19 and 20 with the New York Pops led by conductor Steven Reineke.
All pictures credit to BroadwayWorld.
Kelli O’Hara and Matthew Morrison on Carnegie Hall, the End of “Glee” and Coming Back to Broadway
POSTED ON Dec 17, 2014 BY Valentina INInterview
Directed by Susan Stroman (The Producers, Bullets Over Broadway),The Merry Widow features O’Hara alongside Renee Fleming in Lehár’s operetta about a rich woman and her countrymen’s attempt to keep her money in the principality by finding her the right husband. O’Hara, who has also starred in The Bridges of Madison County, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Sweet Smell of Success, called working on an opera with Stroman, known for her lively choreography in musical theatre productions, “the best of both worlds.”
“I’m doing the whole first part of the show, which is more opera, and then I get to finish the show with this drunken brawl kind of thing,” O’Hara said, laughing.
Prior to making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, a life-long goal that she described as leaving her “shaking in my boots a little bit,” O’Hara will take the stage at Carnegie Hall with Matthew Morrison in Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays. Accompanied by the New York Pops, the duo will perform seasonal holiday classics as well as some old favorites.
Morrison (Hairspray, Footloose) and O’Hara, who co-starred in The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific, have wanted to present a concert together for many years. Performing in a holiday concert marks a return for O’Hara to a tradition that began at Oklahoma City University, where she studied vocal performance and opera and would perform in an annual holiday concert.
“The years that I didn’t perform in one of those made me feel like I was missing something,” O’Hara remembered, “so to do a big, huge holiday concert with a huge orchestra like this kind of takes me back and makes me feel like I’m fulfilling my tradition as well.”
Holiday music marks a tradition for Morrison as well, who released the holiday CD “A Classic Christmas” in 2013, and has heard his own voice in various locations throughout the holiday season.
“I heard it at a Jamba Juice the other day. I heard it at LAX, the airport,” he said. “I get a little embarrassed. I kind of put my head down – this is a little awkward. But it’s a fun little treat as well. It brings you back to the time and all the effort and the people I got to work with. [It makes me] a little nostalgic. ”
Glee and Finding Neverland Star Matthew Morrison Comes Home for the Holidays
POSTED ON Dec 17, 2014 BY Valentina INInterview
Matthew Morrison has a busy year coming up. As soon as he finishes shooting the final season of the Fox network series Glee (which he estimates will be in February), he jumps right into rehearsals for the new Broadway musical Finding Neverland, in which he plays the estimable Peter Pan creator, J.M. Barrie.
But first comes Christmas. Morrison makes a quick trip to New York on December 19 and 20 to perform in Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays, with his frequent Broadway costar Kelli O’Hara, conductor Steven Reineke and the New York Pops, and the 300-strong Essential Voices USA choir atCarnegie Hall. Morrison recently chatted with TheaterMania about this “mind-blowing” experience.
We’ve been talking about doing a show together in some format somewhere…We were really just excited to get onstage together again. [Kelli]’s done Carnegie Hall before, but I’ve never done it in my own kind of concert, so this is going to be a new experience for me and something on my bucket list I can cross off. It’s mind-blowing. I’ve always wanted to play there.
How do you choose a set list for a holiday concert? What songs are you planning to perform?
What is your favorite holiday song?
Do you and your wife, Renee, have any special Christmas traditions?
Switching gears, have you thought about what you’ll miss most about the whole Gleeexperience now that the show is ending its run?
Speaking of which, have you started preparing yet for Finding Neverland?
Matthew Morrison And Kelli O’Hara’s ‘Home For The Holidays’ Will Be A Reunion In Song
Given that Christmas is a time for faithful friends, the New York Pops’ forthcoming “Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays” concert, which reunites Broadway co-stars and longtime pals Kelli O’Hara and Matthew Morrison, couldn’t be more appropriate for the season.
O’Hara and Morrison, who were seen together in “The Light in the Piazza” and the 2008 revival of “South Pacific,” will croon holiday classics and a few standards with the Pops in the concert, which hits New York’s Carnegie Hall on Dec. 19 and 20 and will be conducted by Steven Reineke.
The performance will undoubtedly be yet another highlight in what’s been a prolific time for both stars. O’Hara nabbed a Tony nomination for her role in “The Bridges of Madison County” on Broadway, while her turn as Mrs. Darling in NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!” was seen as one of the broadcast’s best components. In 2015, she’ll return to Broadway in the revival of “The King and I” after making her Met Opera debut in “The Merry Widow.” For his part, Morrison tied the knot with Renee Puente in Hawaii, and is set to begin rehearsals for “Finding Neverland” just days after his role on Fox’s “Glee” wraps.
“It is so fun when you know somebody and you have a history,” O’Hara says of her yuletide reunion with Morrison. “There’s a trust there that you can’t develop very easily … it doesn’t feel like the holidays if I’m not having some kind of musical experience, so I feel like this year will be complete.”
Added Morrison: “If you can have your ideal work environment, you want it to be with the people that you love. We know each other so well, we know each others’ voices so well, so it’s really easy to put together songs and material for the both of us.”
With 2014 coming to a close, the stars also see the show as a festive way to gear up for their respective 2015 projects, and both couldn’t be looking to the new year with more optimism.
“It’s interesting when roles come along at the right time in your life,” O’Hara, 38, says of Anna in “The King and I,” which opens at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre on April 16. “She’s a really strong woman who sets off on a big, bold journey. Having journeyed to a new place myself and had to make a life there, it’s something I can identify with. I love her strength.”
“Finding Neverland,” Morrison notes, “really focuses on restored optimism and the power of imagination” through “complex character relationships.” For the 36-year-old actor, it’s a project that will not only play to his strengths as a performer but, in some ways, couldn’t be more different than his role on “Glee.”
That’s not to say the success of “Glee” is lost on Morrison, of course.
“We tackled so many issues. We didn’t really dance around anything — whether it was bullying, being openly gay in high school, teen pregnancy and so on, we always hit it full on,” he says. “But the lasting impression of the show, I think, will always be the music. It was a new way to bring popular music, in the context of a story, into America’s living rooms. I think that’s what it will always be known for.”
“Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays” hits New York’s Carnegie Hall on Dec. 19 and 20. Head here for more information.
Source: Huffington Post
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