She avoided Matthew Morrison, the charismatic song and dance man who played him.
“I would’ve loved to have gotten to know him more, but I knew that we had to have a certain chemistry and I didn’t want to become almost too familiar with him, it helped to hate him. He’s so likable that it meant that I had to separate myself,” Luddington tells EW.
Luddington’s character, Jo Wilson, who starts at Grey Sloan Memorial as a surgical intern, has changed her name and moved to Seattle to escape her abusive husband. But, unbeknownst to Jo, her husband Paul finds out where she is and shows up at her job.
“I remember feeling anxious about [shooting that scene] because it was such a huge moment for Jo in her story line,” Luddington recalls. And though his persona is much different from that character, Luddington says Morrison’s performance helped her get into the right headspace. “He was so great at playing a charismatic bad guy.”
The American actor, who has starred in a number of Broadway hits including Finding Neverland, will present the series alongside former Girls Aloud star Cheryl Tweedy and Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse. The trio will make up the panel of Dance Captains in the BBC One show, which is hosted by Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo.
Auditions for The Greatest Dancer, a co-production between creator Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia’s Thames, are taking place in Birmingham ahead of its launch in 2019.
The show marks Cowell’s first co-pro for the BBC, having launched a number of shows on rival ITV. The broadcaster has ordered eight episodes of the entertainment format for Saturday night. The series will feature a host of talent from across the world of dance as they give the performances of their lives in the search for the UK’s best dancer. From ballet to jazz; hip hop to Bollywood; the show will feature a number of genres as well as “dramatic” auditions, challenges and live performances.
The Greatest Dancer will be executive produced by Nigel Hall, Global Head of Television, Syco Entertainment, and Amelia Brown, Managing Director, Thames TV. The series was commissioned for BBC One by Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content, and Kate Phillips, Controller Entertainment Commissioning. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Kalpna Patel-Knight.
Morrison said, “This is such a powerful moment for me. It’s wonderful to continue bringing music and dance into peoples’ lives like we did on Glee. Dance is a safe haven that allows us to communicate where words cannot. It’s an expression of love and empowerment, driven by all the emotions that make us human. I love being exposed to people who are pursuing art, and expression, and I look forward to being a moving force for good on their journey. As a Dance Captain, my sincere hope is that I can uplift and encourage all the dancers here reach their greatness.”
Two of Broadway’s brightest stars come together for one glittering evening of American song with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Matthew Morrison is well-known for his featured roles in Broadway’s Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific as well as the landmark Fox TV series, Glee. Before winning the Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for the 2015 revival of The King and I, Kelli O’Hara was Morrison’s co-star in The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific. Together they and the Symphony will make Copley Symphony Hall shine like the Great White Way.
Interwoven throughout the narration was music from their best loved musicals, beginning with the choir’s rendition of “It’s a Grand Night of Singing from STATE FAIR and featuring numbers from OKLAHOMA!, CAROUSEL, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE KING AND I, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. What better songs to showcase the mellifluous pipes of the incomparable Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly, reunited after starring together in the original cast of FINDING NEVERLAND? They were featured heavily throughout the evening, including in duets such as “People Will Say We’re in Love” from OKLAHOMA! and such memorable solos as Kelly’s “(When I Marry) Mister Snow” from CAROUSEL and Morrison’s “Younger than Springtime” from SOUTH PACIFIC (which he performed in the Lincoln Center revival).
Both showed a playful side, with Morrison leading the choir and dancing through the title song from OKLAHOMA! and Kelly taking off her shoes and gifting a flower to a choir member in “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy” from SOUTH PACIFIC.
The highlight of the show was the unexpected inclusion of the “Wedding Processional” in a medley from THE SOUND OF MUSIC that included classic Mormon Tabernacle Choir arrangements of the title song and “Climb Every Mountain.” The scale of the performance of the processional from Richard Elliott at the massive pipe organ with the orchestra and choir was nothing short of thrilling.
The concert ended on a high note with an inspiring finale in which Morrison and Kelly joined the choir and orchestra to perform the anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from CAROUSEL under the breathtaking star-lit sky suspended above them.
“I have no idea what to expect,” he told ET. “I’m sure my wife is drumming up some kind of fun surprises and stuff, but it’s gonna be special.”
Morrison joked that his son has an unusually special talent: insanely fast-growing (and dangerous) fingernails.
“Those fingernails grow so fast and sometimes my wife and I both have scratches on our face or on our arms and stuff and then he scratches his own face,” he said. “I feel like we’re clipping his nails every three days — it’s crazy. ”
But he said that being a father has changed him significantly — and in profound ways.
“The amount of love that I feel — like, I heard this quote the other day about how it feels like your heart is outside of your body and it really is true,” he explained. “I’ve never known this kind of love. It’s a beautiful, euphoric kind of just amazing feeling that I’m just happy. I’m happy my son chose me. ”
Morrison was also thrilled to be back at the Tony Awards. Morrison himself is a past nominee, for his role in the musical The Light in the Piazza in 2005 and said that musical theater is his home.
“I was thinking about it on the car ride over here like my first tony awards that I got to be at and performed at was when I was doing Hairspray,” he said. It was 15 years ago and thankfully, they keep asking me to come back and this is home for me. I love this community and um the people and I love, I love live performances and live theater so it’s amazing to be here.”
SALT LAKE CITY — For this year’s Pioneer Day celebrations, former Broadway co-stars Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly will perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during the annual Broadway-themed “Music for a Summer Evening” concert.
The event will take place Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, at 8 p.m. in the Conference Center. Mack Wilberg, music director of the choir, and Ryan Murphy, associate music director, will be conducting.
Morrison and Kelly starred in the original 2015 Broadway cast of “Finding Neverland,” based on the true story of Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, who created the beloved literary character Peter Pan. Morrison played the role of Barrie and Kelly starred opposite him as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, a widow whose four boys helped inspire the playful Pan.
“Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly are extraordinary performers who have a dynamic chemistry onstage that will delight our audiences,” Mormon Tabernacle Choir president Ron Jarrett said in a press release. “We know they will bring down the house when they perform with the choir and Orchestra at Temple Square!”
Former “Glee” star Matthew Morrison is best-known for his role as Mr. Schuester in the popular musical comedy-drama TV series, which ran from 2009-2015, but is also a well-known actor, dancer, singer and songwriter. Over the years, he has performed on both Broadway and television, earning along the way multiple nominations for Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe awards.
Laura Michelle Kelly is perhaps best-known for her Laurence Olivier Award-winning performance as Mary Poppins in the West End musical based on the 1964 Disney film. She has appeared in many West End and Broadway productions, in the 2007 film adaptation of “Sweeney Todd” and has performed in many of the U.K.’s notable concert halls.
The choir will also welcome back Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III, grandson of the famed lyricist and musical theater producer Oscar Hammerstein II, to narrate the concert and speak on his family’s connection to Broadway.
Previous featured guest artists at the annual concert include Alex Boye in 2017, The King’s Singers in 2016, Laura Osnes in 2015, Santino Fontana in 2014, Nathan Pacheco and Lindsey Stirling in 2013, Katherine Jenkins in 2012, and Linda Eder and Brian Stokes Mitchell in 2011.
Morrison and Kelly will also sing with the choir during their weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast on Sunday, July 22, in the Conference Center — no ticket required.
How do you get tickets?
“Tickets for the concert are free and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, through lds.org/events or by phone at 801-570-0080. Each patron may request four tickets, and admission is open to those ages 8 and older. Patrons without tickets are encouraged to join the standby line by the flagpole on Temple Square for last-minute seating, which is often available,” according to the press release.
The performance will also be live-streamed on mormontabernaclechoir.org at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, as well as via the church satellite system and on BYUtv.
Rain begins to fall while Matthew Morrison performs during “An Evening With the Stars” at the Muny in Forest Park on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The production, postponed from Friday night due to storms, is part of a celebration this weekend for the Muny’s centennial season. Photo by Jon Gitchoff
It rained Saturday night, but that didn’t dampen spirits at the Muny, where a host of performers carried on and a crowd of 6,975 fans cheered and clapped through “An Evening with the Stars” — the theater’s Centennial Gala.
The one-time-only show’s originally scheduled performance, on Friday night, was postponed because of rain. On Saturday, it went ahead at 9:15 p.m. but before a smaller audience, with two long interruptions for rain. But almost nobody left.
“We have missed only one show in 20 years,” said Chuck Mueller of Belleville, who sat under an umbrella with his wife, Jan, surrounded by relatives. “That was a rainout.”
He wasn’t about to let that happen twice. And you could see his point, because this event involved a sensational production. Almost every act could have been the “11 o’clock number” in any normal show.
Broadway icon Chita Rivera, in a stunning red sequinned pants suit, gave a zesty performance of “All That Jazz” from “Chicago” and teamed up with the legendary Tommy Tune for “Rosie” from “Bye Bye Birdie.” Ken Page, who got his start at the Muny before he played Old Deuteronomy in the original Broadway production of “Cats” , sang a tender rendition of that show’s biggest song, “Memory.”
The evening’s hosts, Broadway stars Matthew Morrison and Heather Headley, introduced the other artists and performed dynamic numbers of their own. Morrison led a highly condensed, 8-minute version of “Hairspray” while Headley soloed in a breathtaking medley of songs from “Funny Girl.”
Patrick Cassidy led a lively chorus of Muny Kids, Muny Teens and Muny veterans in “Trouble” from “The Music Man,” then presented a clip in which his mother, Muny Hall-of-Famer Shirley Jones, wished the theater happy birthday.
Two other Broadway stars, Graham Rowat and Jenny Powers, added elegance and comedy, respectively.
A big dance ensemble, choreographed by Michael Baxter, shone throughout, particularly when they joined Lara Teeter in a big tap treatment of “We’re in the Money” from “42nd Street” and in “Seize the Day” from “Newsies.”
Dennis Reagan, the Muny’s president and CEO, thanked “the best audience in the world” for its patience through the rain delays. Virtually everyone received generous applause, including the stagehands who mopped the stage after both cloudbursts. Paul Tarte dePoo III designed the versatile sets, Robin L. McGee designed the festive costumes and music director Michael Horsley led the generous Muny orchestra. Matt Kunkel directed the show, which kept a bright pace despite the weather.
For the last number a little before midnight, the audience enjoyed “One” and a fabulous fireworks display. In “A Chorus Line,” “One” is about a glamorous entertainer. But on Saturday night, it was unmistakably a song about the Muny.
Thousands more Muny lovers came to the Forest Park theater Sunday afternoon, where the celebration continued with lots of activities for families. The weather was lovely.
Sunrise, Florida (CNN) Drama students past and present shared the stage Monday night for a benefit concert featuring stars and survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA” featured a star-studded roster of Broadway and television entertainers, including “Glee” actor Matthew Morrison, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom and award-winning recording artist Deborah Cox.
More than 4,700 people attended the concert at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, organizers said. The celebrity entertainers performed with Stoneman Douglas students and local arts groups, including the Student Choir of Broward and Dance Theatre of Broward, on a program that ranged from upbeat and inspirational to reflective and moving to fun and silly.
Despite the circumstances that brought them together, Bloom said the chemistry among the performers was instantly palpable. After all, the celebrity performers were once theater kids, she said.
“Tonight is about them and I’m happy to be here and support them. The kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are doing what the arts are supposed to do — they are channeling their intense feelings and rage and thoughts into their art, which is a way to communicate with people and make the world better,” Bloom said in an interview before the show.
“This is an example of why theater and the arts in schools is so important,” she said. “It makes me proud to be a fellow theater kid seeing what all these people are doing with theater and music.”
‘A healing night’
The concert opened with a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” sung by “Mamma Mia!” actress Carrie Manolakos and a choir of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students.Former “American Idol” contestant Justin Guarini performed a song written by a Stoneman Douglas student.
Deborah Cox crooned “I Will Always Love You” as images of the 17 victims flashed behind her. The dance group that victim Jaime Guttenberg belonged to staged an emotional performance that elicited cheers of “We love you, Jaime” as the dancers left the spotlight.
Moments of levity punctuated the somber tone, such as Bloom’s rendition of “F—ton of Cats” and Erich Bergen’s performance of “Man in the Mirror,” all with backup from Stoneman Douglas students. “Glee” star Matthew Morrison and Stoneman Douglas senior Kali Clougherty nearly stole the show with a duet performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Stoneman Douglas sophomore Tanzil Philip, who hit the high note near the end of “Seasons of Love,” said performing in the show was difficult during the memorial parts. “But by the end, the whole thing felt healing,” he said. “It was a healing night.”
‘Everything we’re doing is for them’
Working with the teen performers made the February 14 shooting feel all the more real, Broadway performer Donna Lynne Champlin said. But in the frenzied excitement of rehearsals, it was easy to momentarily forget why they were there, the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” actress said.
“We’re sort of looking at our younger selves and going, ‘When we were your age we were writing songs about rainy days and broken hearts, and here you are writing songs about losing numerous friends.’ I think they’re extraordinary” she said. “I can’t even imagine what their reality is like.”
The concert was the culmination of weeks of intense preparation, Stoneman Douglas junior Sawyer Garrity said before the concert. But she never forgot what brought everyone together.
“There’s been some really awesome moments because of this, but it’s hard to feel excited or happy about them because you realize what happened and why we’re getting all these opportunities,” she said.
With the help of composer Duncan Sheik, she and another student composed a song based on a poem written by shooting victim Alex Schachter. His parents asked them to write the song after their first performance at a town hall after the shooting, she said.
“This song is for him. He’s going to live on through this song and through this poem he wrote,” she said.
“In the end, everything that we’re doing is for them and everything that we’re doing is so that they’ll be remembered — all the 17, and even the ones who were injured and anyone hurt by gun violence.”