Don’t ask Matthew Morrison about the “Glee” wrap party: He wasn’t there. As soon as the cast filmed the last of their six-season run, the erstwhile Will Schuester was winging it back to New York — and an 8 a.m. rehearsal for “Finding Neverland.” Opening April 15, the Peter Pan musical marks Morrison’s first Broadway show since 2008’s “South Pacific.”
“I’ve been dreaming about this for the last seven years,” the 36-year-old confesses. “I’ve been doing theater since I was 19 years old, and had an 11-year run. Then ‘Glee’ came along.” Now the California native is back, if nearly unrecognizable behind the beard he grew to play “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barrie.
“When I played Mr. Schuester, I had to shave every single day,” Morrison says. “I wanted to be something a little different, because there are a lot of ‘Glee’ fans who’ll probably see the show and I didn’t want them to see Mr. Schuester onstage.” No chance of that. Here’s what else he had to say about “Glee,” the Gap and his girl — wife Renee Puente.
Jeremy Jordan, who played Barrie in Boston, says he was crushed not to follow the show to New York. Was that awkward for you?
No, not really. He’s such a talented guy, I know he’ll work. I’d done the role previous to him, in workshops, but couldn’t do the Boston run because I was filming this summer. But I saw it there and thought he was absolutely terrific.
How ready were you to chuck Mr. Schuester’s button-down wardrobe?
Pretty ready! We got to rummage through the clothes we wore on the show and I actually liked a couple of them. In fact, I’m wearing one of those shirts right now.
Favorite “Glee” moment?
When Harry Shum and I — he played Mike Chang — did this number from “Singin’ in the Rain.” We had to run up a wall and do a back flip. I actually broke my finger on the first take, but it was thrilling.
Pre-Broadway, you worked at the Gap. Which one?
In 1998, I managed the one on Astor Place. I was in charge of the denim wall — I must say, it was a very put-together denim wall! I also tried bartending, but then I did a soap opera here and there, and played a busboy on “Sex and the City.”
You’ve talked about Broadway’s gift to straight male actors — beautiful female dancers. You were quite the busy boy in your single days.
Jesus! My wife loves this, by the way. [Laughs] Honestly, she loves the fact that I went through all that — a lot of relationships, some one-night stands. I learned a lot about who I was and, more importantly, the person I wanted to be with. My wife came into my life at such a great time.
How did you meet?
At a Grammy party 4 1/2 years ago. We saw each other across the room. As I was leaving, I heard her speaking pidgin — Hawaiian slang. [She’s from the islands.] I sang backup for a guy named Don Ho in high school, and spent summers in Hawaii. So when I heard her speak, I said, “How is it, sistah?” and she laughed. The rest is history.
And what of the present: Has “Glee” changed anything?
Absolutely! Theater’s more accepted now, and people are more open to it. It’s kind of a cool thing to do now — you’re not an outcast.
Source: NY Post