Mr Matthew Morrison: The Journal interview!
POSTED ON Nov 20, 2012 BY Valentina INUncategorized

bigger picture hereThe first time I met Mr Matthew Morrison was at a dinner in New York in August 2009. Unassuming, and keeping himself to himself in what was a big group of people, all I was able to garner about the then 31-year-old actor was that he’d made his name on Broadway (he played teen heart-throb Link Larkin in the original production of Hairspray, and had been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in The Light in the Piazza) but had just returned from Los Angeles, where he’d been working on a new TV show called Glee: a camp musical comedy series about a group of singing and dancing teenage outcasts. (Mr Morrison would play Will Schuester, the hapless Spanish teacher who takes on the task of whipping them, and their fictional high school’s flagging theatre club, into shape.) The pilot had already premiered in May to much acclaim, but it was still unclear if it would find a mainstream audience once the full season began.Among the pessimists, it turns out, was Mr Morrison himself, who, after a 10-year-long career plagued with false starts, was still practically unheard of outside the insular New York theatre world.”I had done something like six pilots at that point and none of them ever went,” he recalls when we meet again, post-shoot, over green tea in a downtown Manhattan hotel. “To be honest, I didn’t think this one was going to go either. I mean, it was a FOX show about a group of singing and dancing high school kids. I didn’t think anyone was going to be into it.”In a post-Glee world, in which the so-called “Glee effect” has sparked a whole subgenre of similarly tongue-in-cheek musical comedies, this kind of analysis now seems unthinkable. By early 2010 the show was a full-blown cultural phenomenon, with a die-hard fanbase ready to catapult any song that passed through its cast’s lips to the top of the iTunes chart and Billboard Hot 100. And it wouldn’t be long before a host of high-profile magazine covers, a worldwide stadium tour and peak audiences of more than 13.5 million viewers nationally would follow.Even today, with the show’s popularity waning somewhat, Mr Morrison still feels its effects wherever he goes. “Last night I was at dinner with my girlfriend and there was this table not too far away trying to get pictures all night,” he says with his familiar amiable half-cracked, sideways grin. “Every time I took a bite I had to check over there to make sure they’re not going to get a shot of me shoving food in my mouth.”It doesn’t bother him too much, however. “It is what it is,” he says, thankful that all this attention is coming now when he’s already into his thirties – unlike his cast mates. “I was able to go through life and make mistakes when there weren’t cameras on me,” he says.Although he doesn’t elaborate too much on his past, given the nature of Mr Morrison’s upbringing in southern California it seems apt that he will forever be associated with precocious theatre kids. As a teenager he attended the Orange County School of the Arts: a 1,500 pupil-strong glee club, if you will, where, even among a school full of musical theatre devotees, he gained a reputation as a leading man. “I have grown up being on stage and that has always been what I’ve wanted to do,” he says. Mr Morrison’s passion brought him to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to study drama, but he dropped out when, after ignoring the school rules about students not being allowed to audition for outside jobs, he was given a small part in the 1998 Broadway revival of Footloose – a lukewarm hit, but a Broadway play nonetheless. (Tisch has since forgiven him, awarding him the Distinguished Alumni Award last year, despite the fact that he never actually graduated.) He spent much of the next two years bouncing between bit parts and off-Broadway productions until 2000, when he was offered what looked like his first real big break: a role in a new Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show.Unfortunately, Mr Morrison didn’t see it that way at the time, turning it down instead for a new boy band, which had offered him a spot in the line-up. “It’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life,” he says. “It was at the height of *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, so I really thought I was going to make a lot of money being in a boy band.” He soon found himself looking for work again (“Singing and dancing to stupid, ridiculous songs didn’t feed my soul,” he says), but luckily fate had already stepped in. “After it didn’t work out, Rocky Horror heard and said they had a role for me in the ensemble if I wanted it. I was like, ‘Absolutely, I need a job!'”When that show’s choreographer went to work on a Broadway adaptation of Mr John Waters’ camp 1950s pastiche Hairspray in 2002, he invited Mr Morrison to take part in one of the final workshops. “From there I got the lead,” he says, “and the rest is history.”Mr Morrison still has the charm of a Broadway matin

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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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