Matthew performs and duets with former Hairspray co-star Marissa Jaret Winokur, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA, on January 14, 2017.
Matthew performs and duets with former Hairspray co-star Marissa Jaret Winokur, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA, on January 14, 2017.
Theater Review: Getting behind the heart and art of Matthew Morrison
POSTED ON Jan 14, 2017 BY Valentina INNews
Matthew Morrison didn’t get a chance to sing and dance Thursday night as much as he might have in one of his more traditional concert programs, but audiences got to know a lot more about him during his performance with accompanist and interviewer Seth Rudetsky at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
The show was a combination concert (with Rudetsky at the piano) and Q&A session, with Rudetsky interviewing Morrison the way he might one of his guests on his Sirius XM programs on the Broadway channel.
Between songs, Rudetsky and Morrison sat in armchairs in a faux living room setting for a bit of conversation that allowed us to see the personal side of Morrison. Under Rudetsky’s comical yet earnestly curious prodding, Morrison talked about falling in love with theater at age 10 when he was staying in Arizona with relatives who sent all the kids to a summer theater camp.
He also admitted to being in a quasi “gang” that spray-painted buildings in junior high school in Orange County. “In Orange County?” Rudetsky asked. “What did you spray paint, Disneyland?”
The questions had Morrison blushing at times, which just made him, and the program, seem more genuine, charming and gracious.
And that same sense of charm comes out in this song and dance man’s easy, almost effortless performing style. He grew up idolizing Gene Kelly, and eventually got to live out his dream by appearing or starring in seven Broadway shows and playing school choir director Will Schuester in the Fox hit “Glee.”
The musical part of his program included several songs from his studio album “Where it all Began,” in which he displayed a clear and pleasing voice on such songs as “On the Street Where You Live,” “The Lady is a Tramp” and “Younger than Springtime” from “South Pacific,” in which he starred in a Broadway revival. And his tone was pure and sweet, singing a song from his Tony-nominated role in “The Light in the Piazza.”
He moves with grace and polish and can still hit the high notes even when he’s a bit breathless.
He also talked about his skills as a breakdancer, and his days in both a fake boy band performing skits on David Letterman’s “The Late Show,” and the early days of a real one called LMNT. He hated it, he said, because “it was so fake. There was no art in it.”
His passion for live theater was always clear. Even when he was doing “Glee” and building a wide fan base around the world, Morrison longed to be back on stage. He went on a concert tour around the time of his first album just to have a live stage fix. And as soon as the show’s run ended in 2015, he went right back to Broadway to play writer J.M. Barrie in “Finding Neverland.”
Morrison closed the show with an extended medley of songs from “Hairspray,” in which he created the role of Link Larkin. The songs kept him moving and swiveling his hips with flair and getting the audience to clap along.
And Rudetsky was right there with him, as much fan as performer. He admitted to recently undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon on one of his biceps, and said that Thursday’s show was his first time being allowed to play the piano in more than a month. You’d never have known.
What ‘Glee’s’ Matthew Morrison is bringing to the Broad Stage
POSTED ON Jan 14, 2017 BY Valentina INInterview
Brian Bowen Smith
“I’m just trying to emulate my idol, Gene Kelly,” he says. “I’m trying to bring back the modern song-and-dance man to our generation.”
Morrison, 38, is touring the country backed by a jazz band for an evening of standards and favorites, including a performance Saturday at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. With his smooth tenor, the “versatile, hard-driving musical frontiersman,” as the New York Times pegs him, pulls from all the different work he’s done over the years.
The “retrospective show” includes an eight-minute medley of songs from the Broadway production of “Hairspray,” during which he runs through the entire story and some “Glee” moments, as well.
“Today’s music is all about coming up with a cool beat,” says Morrison, who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York. “With standards, the classic songwriters of the day would take music and lyrics and tell a story. That’s why I love these songs, because I get to put myself into different characters and really put on a show.”
As the only child of Army nurses, Morrison — who was born at Fort Ord, which closed in 1994 and reopened as Cal State Monterey Bay — discovered musical theater at age 10.
He was living in Orange County when his parents sent him to family in Arizona for the summer.
According to Morrison, “they didn’t really want to deal with me and my cousin so they threw us in a play.”
He was hooked.
After nearly a decade of children’s theater, Orange County High School of the Arts and New York University, he made his Broadway debut in “Footloose.” But his big break came when we was cast as heartthrob Link Larkin in the original Broadway production of “Hairspray.”
More recently he starred in the Broadway musical “Finding Neverland” and workshopped Stephen Sondheim’s next musical with the working title “Buñuel” after the Spanish director Luis Buñuel.
Though he’s most comfortable performing for a live audience, Morrison says he likes putting in time in front of the camera.
“These shows and concerts have really allowed me time to read a lot of scripts and go after what I want to do,” he says. “I don’t have to go and jump into a TV show that I don’t want to do because I need the money. It’s such a blessing on so many different levels.”
Look for him as a philandering drunkard in Tom Stoppard’s “Tulip Fever,” a period piece set in Amsterdam during the so-called “Tulip mania” of 1636, when the market for trading tulip bulbs soared to such large sums of money that it inevitably led to a spectacular crash of the Dutch economy.
The film’s star-studded cast includes Oscar winners Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz and Judi Dench. It arrives in theaters Feb. 24.
Post-Glee, Matthew Morrison Returns to His First Love
From the moment Broadway and television star Matthew Morrison, as a kid, saw Gene Kelly on the silver screen, he knew what he wanted to do with his life.
“You’re either an Astaire guy or a Gene Kelly person. … Gene Kelly was the proletariat, the working man,” Morrison explains. “He was just such a man when he was dancing, and that’s what I wanted to emulate.”
The triple threat is adding a third act to his already thriving career with a series of solo concert engagements around the world, including one at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
For Morrison, it’s a chance to carry the torch of Kelly’s legacy into a more intimate and personal setting. While most solo Broadway concert gigs feature a performer singing their heart out on a stool, Morrison brings his signature hoofing into the act. “A big part of my show is dance,” he says.
Morrison rose to fame as the affable, inspiring choir teacher Will Schuester on Fox’s Glee, but theater and live performance have always been his first loves. “It’s like oxygen for me,” he says. Before and after the hit musical television show, Morrison made a career on the Broadway stage – originating the roles of Link Larkin in Hairspray and Fabrizio Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza, and portraying the hunky, morally conflicted Lieutenant Cable in the Lincoln Center revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Featuring songs from these career highlights, as well as many other jazz and Broadway standards, Morrison’s show tells the actor’s story through song (and dance). “My career is so diverse because I am not just a TV actor or a film actor or a Broadway actor,” he explains.
From South Pacific ballads to an eight-minute song-and-dance medley inspired by Hairspray, Morrison will span the gamut of his career in a mixture of song and dance accompanied by a jazz band (in other venues he’s joined by a symphony orchestra). “Honestly, the biggest appeal for me is being myself. Whenever I do other shows, I’m always playing a character,” he says. “I get to be myself and tell my stories. It’s just a real journey, and it’s my journey, so that’s something I like to share with people.”
The Broadway veteran likens the process of constructing his solo concert to the work of a stand-up comedian, from deciding on a concept for the arc of the show to perfecting the final version. “Like a stand-up comic, you’re constantly working your show, figuring out what works, what doesn’t, throw out this joke, add this one,” he says. “So it’s been a work in progress over the past year, really trying to hone it in.”
Morrison says he aims to create a show with a flexible and diverse range, working in up-tempo songs and never letting it sink under the weight of too many ballads. When it comes to choosing the songs themselves, he says he generally just selects his favorite and then adjusts the set list order to create a fluid performance. Many of the musicals he’s showcasing, including South Pacific and The Light in the Piazza, feature multiple solo numbers. In that case, Morrison says he selects the song that best suits his voice, rather than his favorite.
But there’s one song he can’t shake: My Fair Lady’s “On the Street Where You Live” has been his favorite song most of his life, growing and shifting with him. “That song is one of the first songs I ever sang at school, it’s the song that’s followed me my whole career,” he says. “I’ve sang it at almost every audition I’ve ever done. I booked Glee with that song. And the song has changed for me over the years. It used to be the young guy yearning … but now that I’m married, it’s become more like I’ve gone through the journey, and I will always remain here for you, being your rock.”
Morrison also tries to include songs or moments in his set that speak to each city where he’s performing. He hasn’t settled on what that will be for Los Angeles yet, but says it’s an issue of narrowing it down. His Los Angeles engagement is a homecoming of sorts. The actor grew up in Orange County, attending the renowned Orange County High School of the Arts, and he still leads a bicoastal life, maintaining a home in sunny L.A. “I just love being home here,” he says. “My home here really feels like a home. New York, it’s all apartment living, so it’s very tight quarters. It’s nice to actually walk around and have a nice big kitchen to cook in.”
While he’s thrilled to be back in his California home and in proximity to favorite restaurants and Runyon Canyon, Morrison is most excited to be able to do a live show that friends and family can attend: “It’s rare that I get to come back to Los Angeles. … A lot of friends are going to be able to see what I’ve been doing with my life for the past couple years.”
Morrison also has committed to giving back to his hometown. He regularly visits high schools and college campuses to teach master classes and answer students’ questions, particularly at his alma mater in Orange County. He is part of a group using the Orange County High School of the Arts as a model to open similar schools in the San Gabriel Valley and San Diego County. Morrison says they hope to expand to schools nationwide.
“I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the high level, high quality of teaching and learning that I got at that school,” he says. “I owe so much of my success to that school that I want to pay it forward and continue to reach out to the younger generation.” He fondly recalls when Broadway performer Susan Egan (she originated Belle in Disney’s theatrical production of Beauty and the Beast) came to his high school, and he got to dance with her. Morrison says he wants to pass along that experience to the next generation of performers and the reminder that at one time he was just like them, learning from Broadway greats and aspiring to be one. “I’m Mr. Schuester,” he jokes, “I’ve gotta keep the legend alive.”
Not only has Glee brought in a youthful audience to Morrison’s solo shows, but in general it has sparked a resurgence of interest in the Broadway musical. Thanks to cultural phenomenons such as Glee and Hamilton, musical theater is no longer languishing in the shadows as a niche interest. Morrison says he hasn’t noticed it from the inside of the process (“It’s the same experience being a performer”), but that box office numbers and the general interest in musicals has increased. “It’s a great time for Broadway,” he says, “but, on the inside, I feel like it’s still the same tight-knit, great community.”
Morrison hopes his concerts help perpetuate interest in both musical theater and the Great American Songbook. “It was the height of storytelling,” he says. “Today with music, a lot of people are just trying to come up with a cool beat. … We’ve lost that true songwriting in a lot of ways. Back then, it was so simple. You take music and lyrics, and you tell a story, and that was the basis of everything.”
When your concert is about telling your life story, it’s helpful to have a set list that does it for you. “It’s so easy to sing these songs because I really fall into the acting of them,” he says. “They’re so easy to act because they’re really just great stories. When I hear a standard, I almost don’t want the song to end because I just want the story to keep going.”
When it’s Morrison telling the story, it’s hard not to feel the same way.
Matthew Morrison at the Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sat., Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m.; $75-$115. thebroadstage.com.
Seth Rudetsky & Matt Morrison are coming to Sarasota!
POSTED ON Jan 10, 2017 BY Valentina INVideo
Matthew Morrison sings and dances between questions in Van Wezel concert
POSTED ON Jan 07, 2017 BY Valentina INInterview
Matthew Morrison learned long ago to be prepared for every performance, but there’s only so much he can do when he’s not exactly sure what’s going to happen when he shares the stage with Seth Rudetsky at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Thursday.
Morrison is best known for major roles in the Broadway musicals “The Light in the Piazza,” “Hairspray,” “South Pacific” and, most recently “Finding Neverland,” and he earned an army of fans as Will Schuester, the teacher who resurrects the long-abandoned high school glee club on the hit series “Glee.” He also had a recurring role on the final season of “The Good Wife” and has earned Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe award nominations for his roles.
Rudetsky might be dubbed “Mr. Broadway.” He has played keyboards in the orchestra of numerous musicals, been an accompanist for countless stars in concerts, is an arranger, Playbill columnist, blogger and the co-creator of last season’s Tony-nominated musical “Disaster.” A former writer for Rosie O’Donnell’s daytime talk show, he’s also one of the main hosts of the Sirius XM Broadway channel, and has twice come to Sarasota to help the Van Wezel announce its Broadway series.
The Van Wezel concert will be a low-key affair, with Rudetsky accompanying the song and dance man, and interviewing him in between songs.
“It’s nerve-wracking and fun because I don’t know what to expect,” Morrison said. “I’m usually very methodical with my shows and how to lay them all out and talking points. This is more off the cuff and does add an element of surprise and gets my nerves going and I like that. It makes me feel alive.”
For Rudetsky, it’s just another day on the job. He frequently interviews the creators and performers of Broadway shows on his radio programs.
Rudetsky said that Morrison will perform songs from his Broadway shows, among other songs, and in between “I’ll ask him questions about the shows, and stories that I’ve heard about. I have no idea where we’re going to go. I’m very interested myself in knowing the answers. I love Broadway history. It’s going to be like the audience is hanging out with us in our living room, talking about whatever I want to talk about.”
Rudetsky said the format, which he’s done with such artists as Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley and Andrea Martin, helps keeps the programs light and spontaneous and also gets the singers to open up.
“A lot of people don’t like talking about themselves, but they need to appreciate their own careers as they’re talking, they’ll realize that it’s so cool that I experienced that.”
Morrison said that “Glee” changed the trajectory of his career. Before that Fox series had its debut, “if you didn’t live in the New York community, you probably didn’t know who I was, whereas now with ‘Glee’ being such a huge international show, you’re traveling all over the world and people are recognizing you. I’m just so happy as an actor. ‘Glee’ was so special in a moment in our history and it changed peoples’ lives. It taught a lot about bullying. People could connect to some of the characters, the messages were so strong, and it was so special to be part of something that was monumental and really had an effect on people.”
Life after ‘Glee’: Matthew Morrison on his dream role and his national concert tour
POSTED ON Jan 05, 2017 BY Valentina INInterview
A pained frown raced along Matthew Morrison’s brow. This wasn’t the terrorized expression of horror we recall from the hit TV show “Glee” when his Mr. Schuester was under attack by his archenemy gym coach played by Jane Lynch. Nor the exaggerated, fierce scowl he sported recently on a Broadway stage, clashing with Kelsey Grammer’s Captain Hook in “Finding Neverland.”
No, this was the resigned look of the weary homeowner realizing more bills are on the way. Morrison, 38, was back from the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, where he and wife Renee also live, to his cozy compound in the Hollywood Hills. First, the driveway’s electronic gate was being balky, and now the front door latch was proving uncooperative.
These annoyances morphed the frown to grumbling: “Boy, go away a little bit and everything crumbles.”
Morrison plopped down on a comfy leather couch, stretched his legs out onto a coffee table and pushed aside repair thoughts to chat about a bit of everything, which seems suitable given his 15-year career is equal parts acting, singing and dancing.
Morrison has a number of pots boiling. Last year he filmed a role in “Tulip Fever,” a Tom Stoppard-written period romance with Oscar winners Alicia Vikander, Judi Dench and Christoph Waltz slated to open Feb. 24. In late November, he workshopped numbers in the eagerly awaited Stephen Sondheim musical, working title “Bunuel.” (“Melodies are so ungeneric, challenging, I couldn’t sleep the night before singing my parts,” he said.) Fingers crossed, that will open at the Public Theater in New York in the fall.
Meantime, his focus is on touring show in which he sings Broadway standards with a backing jazz band. It stops Jan. 14 at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica and March 4 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.
“My arrangements are organized so I can dance, a bit different than contemporary people like [Michael] Buble and [Josh] Groban who sing this kind of music,” Morrison said during a recent interview (edited for length), our first since our conversation for a Times Q&A published during the first season of “Glee” in 2010.
The 24-7 public attention you got in the first year or two when “Glee” blew up: a blessing or a curse?
Yes, [laughs] both. But that was fine. I kind of live in an emotional 5, I’m an even-keeled guy.
During the peak, would people react as if you were that character?
Oh, yeah. Once I was waiting to go into a restaurant and these kids came up and started singing, auditioning on the spot. And then they were, “So, can we be on ‘Glee?’” I gave them a bit of the Mr. Schu pep talk, but it was awkward. How do you say, “I play a fictional character on a TV show, I don’t cast it”?
I gotta know, what was the song?
[The slightest of frowns returned to his brow.] Ah, pretty sure it was “Don’t Stop Believing.” [Laughs] Yep, I got that one a lot.
You had done Broadway, but that show established you nationally.
And I am so proud of it! I could have been on a cop or lawyer show that hit, but “Glee” actually stood for something, legitimately meant more to real kids, like those I went to school with [at an arts high school].
“Glee” had a significant part of the gay rights movement, its surging among younger people, letting them feel more confident to be themselves in public.
You attended the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana. Looking back 20 years, what did that give you?
A big thing was being in a school where everyone there wanted to be there — not just going because they had to go or learn to get an A and then forget stuff. People there applied learning in real time, so they were growing and changing. And so did I.
You are now on the school’s board?
Yes, it’s a mission of mine. I feel it is a perfect model of a charter school for the arts. Next year we are opening one in the San Gabriel Valley, and then we are looking to be in San Diego. We’re exploring doing about three in Northern California down the road, hopefully making this a national thing.
You’ve anchored an hour-long TV show and been the lead in a Broadway musical. What have you learned about sizing up projects that come your way?
[At first] it was, “It’s a part, I want any part!” After I had done a couple musicals, I was more looking at the roles — “Does this work for me? What do I get to do? Can I act, sing and dance?”
Now when a project comes up, I look at the team. Are they people likely to put something good together? Because I have been a part of some projects — sorry, no names — that didn’t really have a good leader or weren’t shaped right or the dynamics were off, and the results showed, I felt.
Now you have more control?
I do concerts, like these ones coming up, all over the world, and I am able to make a nice income so I don’t have to do just any show to pay the bills. I turn down more things than I accept.
That said, is there any specific role you would crawl over glass to play?
In the day, people seemed to be either Fred Astaire fanciers — he was suave and smooth — or fans of Gene Kelly, more physical and rambunctious. How did you compare them?
Astaire felt a little high class for me. It was “tails.” Gene was the proletarian working man, average guy, you know? And I think I fell in love with Kelly because maybe I could be like him: I sing, act, dance. He excelled at all of them.
Beyond the obvious “Singin’ in the Rain,” is there a Kelly movie that especially knocks you out?
I love “An American in Paris,” but a dance routine that blows me away was in the movie “Summer Stock.” There was a creaking board and then a newspaper on the floor, and he tears it with his feet. It gets smaller and smaller, so effective and simple. Now, talking about it, I want to go watch it again!
Can you tell us about a song you are likely to sing live in these shows, why it matters to you?
There is a sense of longing to “On the Street Where You Live” that makes it special. But the song has changed meanings for me over my lifetime.
I sang it in high school and I auditioned with it in New York for many things. It was the song I got “Glee” with. But it really changed for me after I got married. In the past, it was so in the present for me — I was wooing, walking down the road with different women — but now it has a reflective, almost past tense feeling: I always walked down the path that led me to you, my wife. I will always stay here, be true to you, with you.
Do you have any nonentertainment professional pursuits?
I have gotten involved in an online business officially rolling out in June for Father’s Day. It is called Sherpapa. We are creating and selling what we think of as high quality “field kits” for younger dads who travel with their families. A parka kit, a beach kit, an airplane kit, just grab your quality-gear little kit and go.
How did this come to be?
Renee and I love traveling. We are friends with another travel-hungry couple who just had a kid and we were lamenting the challenges of being a “dad adventurer.” We hit on the name, in part from a Sherpa guiding, leading the way, plus, also the person carrying all the stuff, which often falls on dad.
All this talk of dads: Is fatherhood in your future?
We’re actively pursuing it. I am so looking forward to that next phase.
You are an only child. Do you want just one or more?
Family is so important so I would want there to be a sibling. Two, I think, but I want it manageable. I think we could handle that. [Pauses, then laughs.] I better check this is the right answer.
Where: The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14
Tickets: $75-$115 (subject to change)
Information: (310) 434-3200, www.thebroadstage.com
Review: ‘Broadway Up Close: Matthew Morrison’ at the Kimmel Center
POSTED ON Dec 20, 2016 BY Valentina INNews
Beginning a new season of Broadway Up Close concerts on Saturday at the The Kimmel Center, Seth Rudetsky hosted Broadway leading man and television’s favorite choir teacher, Matthew Morrison, for an evening of song, dance, and candid conversation. Beloved for his silky tenor, killer dance moves, and winning smile, Morrison flooded the stage of the Perelman Theater with his own brand of intoxicating charisma while featuring some of musical theater’s greatest hits.
With an impressive resume including hits such as Hairspray, South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza, and most recently a star turn in Finding Neverland, the average audience member will no doubt recognize Matthew Morrison from six seasons as Will Schuester, the faculty advisor for a ragtag group of teens in the Fox crossover hit, Glee. Seth Rudetsky brings his own arsenal of credits to the mix from accompanying within the Broadway community to authoring multiple books on the business, writing and producing his own work in New York, and hosting in the afternoon on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s On Broadway.
The Broadway Up Close series combines a casual cabaret style with a talk-show interview format where Rudetsky (usually at the piano, though unfortunately injured for this evening) mixes his intimate knowledge of the business with playful jabs at his peers; in this case making Morrison blush over stories of his early days in a boy band. Like so many Broadway favorites, Morrison’s big break came from being the eager understudy who was at the right place at the right time. From the out-of-town tryout in Seattle, he exploded onto the New York stage in Hairspray as Link Larkin, the 1960s teen dance show heartthrob.
Morrison’s style seems to blend his boy band background with classic crooning for a mixture of mellow suaveness and effervescent agility. Where any other vocalist would spend an instrumental break grabbing a sip of water or politely acknowledging the accompanist, Morrison breaks out in an explosive mini-dance routine, effortless yet filled with energy, reminiscent of Fred Astaire. And after breathing life into old jazz standards, he is able to captivate with classics of the musical theater repertoire such as “On the Street Where You Live,” “Younger Than Springtime,” “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught,” and a rousing medley from West Side Story.
The evening’s sweetest treat was by far a small taste of Morrison’s Tony-nominated turn as young Fabrizio Naccarelli in Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza. Described as the most challenging role he ever faced, his rendition of “Il Mondo Era Vuoto” oozed with all the passion of an Italian aria and the discipline of a highly-dedicated vocalist. Along with a few other features from Hairspray and a full out Gene Kelly “Singin’ in the Rain” encore, Morrison’s charm and good looks are outranked only by his vaulting range, with its muscular clarity and yet fragile intensity where needed.
Broadway Up Close is unique chance to hear from artists as performers and storytellers simultaneously, a setting especially flattering to a talent like Matthew Morrison. The evening mixes a wide range of favorite songs with his tales of rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s most powerful personalities, all while having the best dressing room on Broadway. Not to mention his risky teenage years as a breakdancing gang member tagging “Skylar” on the not-so-rough streets of Orange County, California.
With a star-studded lineup this season including Chita Rivera, Alice Ripley, and Vanessa Williams, this concert series is a great alternative to the standard cabaret setup and a treat for any lover of musical theater.
Running Time: One hour and 40 minutes, with no intermission.
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.
“This year’s been a lot of travel, but that is something I love to do,” he says. “I love exploring new people and places, and I’m lucky I get to do a job that includes travel. But I want to do more of it with my wife.”
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.
The Broadway veteran and “Glee” star comes to the Kimmel Center.
For most television viewers, Matthew Morrison will always be the earnest, but wrongheaded teacher in Ryan Murphy’s colorful television series “Glee.” For anyone with a background in Broadway and musical theater however, Morrison was the dashing leading man from stage hits such as “The Light in the Piazza,” “Hairspray,” “South Pacific” and, most recently, “Finding Neverland.” That dancing and singing guy is the Morrison Sirius-XM radio host Seth Rudetsky will bring to the Kimmel Center for the next show of his “Broadway Up Close” series on December 17. In improvisational talk show fashion, Rudetsky will fire off questions then play piano beside Morrison without much warning as to what will come next.
“Glee”had such an enormous, ingratiating presence for so long that your character has to now be both a blessing and a curse. Do people expect you to be this always cheerful, empathetic person?
Are you friends with Seth? What did he promise you about coming down to Philly?
Having witnessed you in concert, you’re usually chewing up the scenery and singing and acting in character? Since you won’t know what lies ahead, will you still play a role?
No, really, what was your first favorite song to sing, the one where you totally connected with the lyric and the melody?
Sat. Dec 17, 8 p.m., Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, 300 S Broad St. kimmelcenter.org
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