TORONTO – Turns out “Glee” star Matthew Morrison had his own Mr. Schue.The curly-haired performer, who plays ultra upbeat glee-club instructor Will Schuester on the hit musical TV series, credits one high school teacher with helping him get where he is today.”I was kind of like (the character) Finn on ‘Glee,'” said Morrison, who recently released his self-titled debut album and will tour Canada this summer with the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys.”I kind of rode the line between arts and athletics. I was a huge soccer player, and my junior year of high school I had to choose between playing soccer and being in the arts. And one teacher, especially, his name is Dr. Ralph Opacic, he said: ‘I’ve been at this awhile and you have something really special and I think you just need to continue down this road.'”And that was the talk that changed my life. He was totally my Mr. Schue.”Morrison went on to study at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His first big Broadway show was “Footloose” at age 19.”I was, like, the featured, white-boy break dancer in the show,” Morrison, 32, recalled with a laugh in a recent interview, noting he started break dancing in Grade 7.”I call it ‘broke dancing’ now because every time I do it I’m like, ‘Oh God, that hurt!'”Morrison went on to become a stage sensation, receiving a Tony Award nomination for his role in “The Light in the Piazza” and a Drama Desk nomination for his part in “10 Million Miles.” He also starred in the Tony-winning revival of “South Pacific” as well as the Broadway hit “Hairspray.”With such extensive singing experience, both onstage and on “Glee,” Morrison said the next natural step for him was to make an album.Released a month ago, his debut self-titled disc is a breezy collection of original and cover tunes.Morrison co-wrote several of the tracks, including the first single, “Summer Rain.” He also recruited a stately collection of stars to perform with him on the album.Sting sings with Morrison on a cover of the former Police frontman’s tune “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot.” Gwyneth Paltrow joins Morrison on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which they also performed on “Glee” together. And Elton John appears on “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters/Rocket Man.”Morrison said he and Paltrow have become “great friends.””Elton’s become a really good buddy of mine too,” he added, noting their friendship took off about two years ago after they met at the British pop superstar’s Oscar party.”I met him on a few occasions after that and just became friendly and then I was at this point, I kind of knew I wanted to ask him to be on the album but I hate doing that. I’m just not that guy,” a jeans-clad Morrison explained in a downtown hotel room.”So I remember walking up to him and my hands were all sweaty and I was just like, ‘Elton, hey, do you want to do…’ and it was just a resounding ‘Yes.’ He couldn’t have been nicer and he was actually more proactive in getting us in the studio than I was. He was like, ‘I’ve got this day, this day

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Current Projects

American Horror Story: 1984
Release Date: September 18, 2019
Network: FX

The Greatest Dancer
Release Date: 2020
Network: BBC One

Matthew on Twitter

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