It’s been less than three months since Matthew Morrison departed FINDING NEVERLAND, and he’s been going non-stop ever since.
You might be following his arc as ‘Connor Fox’ on CBS’ THE GOOD WIFE. Or perhaps you spotted him acting alongside Sutton Foster and some friendly sheep in an episode of YOUNGER. He recently joined both the Kansas City and Houston Symphonies in a series of concert performances, and now he’s taking his show back to the east coast.
The Emmy, Tony, and two-time Golden Globe nominated star will visit the Mayo Performing Arts Center of Morristown, New Jersey (May 20) and Connecticut’s Ridgefield Playhouse (May 26), in addition to playing a series of shows at Feinstein’s/54 Below (May 21-25). In this new concert, Morrison will perform classic renditions of standards and numbers from his past productions – including Hairspray, South Pacific, Finding Neverland, Glee, and more.
As he prepares for his upcoming shows, Morrison checked in with BroadwayWorld to tell us all about his latest projects…
Let’s please start by talking about your concerts. What can we expect?
I do a lot of concerts, but this is very exciting for me because I just switched up my show because I’m starting to play some places that I’ve already played before. So I’ve come up with a whole new show. It’s kind of like a career retrospective. It’s different. It features songs from a bunch of different Broadway shows that I’ve been lucky to be a part of. There are songs from different albums that I’ve done… obviously songs from Glee. It’s just a big hodgepodge of music I’ve sang in my life. So, it’s fun. I kind of weave in a story about different experiences that I’ve had with different projects. Obviously, if you know me, it’s a very dance-heavy show as well.
You did a couple of symphony shows recently and your upcoming performances are with a small band. Are there a lot of differences in content? Is it a different show?
Yeah it is. We will do some different songs. It’s so funny because I love both formats. The symphony shows are great in their own way because you have a 60-piece orchestra behind you and it’s just so beautiful and lovely. But the band shows are just a little more free because no one is really relying on charts. It’s just like, if we want to sing this song right now I can! There’s not an order to it. I like the feel of the band shows and just being able to switch it up because I am a very in-the-moment performer. I love being able to just go off and if I’m inspired by something I can go on a rant or switch up the order or place some songs here that I want to sing.
And you are returning to 54 Below! Are you excited to get to perform there again?
I’m very excited about that. What a great space! I love going to concerts there, I love singing there. The only thing that is a little difficult for me there is to dance because it’s such a small stage. I feel a little inhibited, but you know I think the last time I was there I was dancing on tables, so as long as people will get their dessert out of the way, I’ll be good to go! [Laughs]
I’m sure you’ll make it work. Is there a song that you have been really connecting with recently or that you are most excited to be able to perform?
There’s a couple new ones I’ve kind of thrown into the mix and the one I’m loving right now is “Fix You” by Coldplay. I love that song and I got to perform it on Glee. I’m doing it now and I learned it on the ukulele so it’s a beautiful song and I love it. It’s the song I’m loving performing because it’s new for me in my set. It’s just a beautiful song.
You’ve been out of Finding Neverland for a few months now… is it nice to be able to get out there and do some new things? What’s life been like?
Well, I finished the show and I went right into The Good Wife and I’ve been in the last 7 episodes. Actually yesterday was the very last day ofThe Good Wife forever! My wife and I have just been such big fans of that show for so long and it was really kind of surreal to be part of show that you are a fan of. To go into set and like know these people’s characters better than you actually know them, it was very fun and kind of surreal. Such a great crew. It’s a great cast and the writing on that show is top notch. As an actor you appreciate just great writing and I had so much fun. I’m so glad I go to be part of that show before it left.
It’s been fun watching you on it! And of course you were on Younger to a few weeks ago.
Oh yeah, that was interesting!
I loved the sheep.
Oh yeah! Oh man. That was fun. [Laughs]
I love how both of those shows really showcase theater actors. I think it’s really refreshing to see all these people you see on stage and on Broadway on TV.
Yeah! There is such a great pool of actors to choose from in New York, and I really think that shows that actually shoot in NYC are so diversified and just really good because they have a big pool of talent to choose from. I feel like there was a stigma a while ago about people not hiring Broadway actors because they are “too big.” I remember when I was coming up, people talked about that a lot. I think that is going away a little more nowadays and I’m loving it. I’m loving the crossover.
You also did the Light in the Piazza reunion last week! I’m sure that was a surreal experience…
It was probably the best night I’ve ever had of the theater. I just get chills just thinking about that night. It was beyond glorious. It was elegant. It was classy. Just being able to sing that soul touching music and just be with those people, that cast… we just fell in love with each other. We got to sing some of the most beautiful music ever written. It was just a glorious night and I just wish we could’ve done it like five nights in a row.
Yeah I can’t believe it was one night. We worked for four days in rehearsal just for that one night. I was like, “Alright, let’s just take this show on the road!” But everyone felt the same way. Everyone just wanted to keep going. There was someone who sent me some bootlegs from that night, that were on the internet or something, and honestly I don’t even want to listen to them because I don’t want it to cloud the judgement of what that night was for me in my head. It was just that special.
Hairspray Live! is also coming up. That was obviously a huge part of your career. Have you gotten a call from Craig [Zadan] and Neil [Meron] yet?
I have not! I think I’m too old for Link. You know, I would be interested in being Corny Collins or something like that. That would be a lot of fun and would be kind of a full circle moment for me! I mean actually, it’s funny, I’m hanging out with Marissa Jaret Winokur right now. Yeah, she flew in yesterday and we were hanging out for the weekend and we are actually going to do a little surprise concert tonight after Disaster! We are singing one song- Me, her and Kerry Buttler. We are going to get together and sing “Without Love” after the show.
Yeah! Like Link says in the show “My big break!” And it really was my big break. That cast is amazing. We are beyond close. That was a lot of people’s first Broadway show and it was such a huge hit. It was some of the best years of my life. Yeah, Marissa and I are still really close and she’s staying with my wife and I right now.
I saw that you are announcing the Drama Desk Award nominations soon! That’s pretty cool too.
Yeah I am!
Have you seen anything recently that you are really going to be rooting for this award season?
Well I hated Hamilton. [Laughs] No, no. You know, I need to get out there and see some more stuff. You can’t really see any shows when you are in a show. So, after I finished the show I went right to work again. I haven’t seen too much, so I’m going to get out and see a lot this month for sure.
Looking ahead at your concert you have coming up, what are you most looking forward to?
The thing about the concert is that people have some perceptions of me going in I think and I like going in there and just being a normal guy and just being myself. That is the great thing about concerts. I take on different roles when I’m singing different songs within my own show, but at the end of the day it’s very much me. I love getting to perform as myself, which I don’t get to do often. So, I think that is the great thing about doing your own concerts is that you are just you up there. I think it gives people a different look into your own life. I like that personal experience that the audience gets and that I get with the audience. I think that is what is most special for me.