Actor, dancer, and singer-songwriter Matthew Morrison has won over audiences by stepping into the shoes of a bevy of characters on Broadway and on TV, most notably as Will Schuester on Glee. But he’s about to take on what may very well be his most exciting role yet: as a dad to his first child with wife Renee Morrison. But before the couple welcomes their baby in the fall, Morrison and photographer Zach Duffie have designed and debuted a new line of dad gear and accessories called Sherpapa Supply Co. In honor of the line’s launch, Morrison and Duffie—fast friends who met through their wives—curated favorite and exclusive clothes, bags, hats, and other items for a special partnership with Gilt.com.
Parents.com recently caught up with Morrison and Duffie at their launch party to chat about their inspiration for Sherpapa, the challenges of being a modern dad, and Morrison’s hopes and fears around fatherhood.
Sherpapa was originally inspired by the birth of Duffie’s daughter, who’s now 2. As “an outdoors kinda guy” and a stay-at-home (or, as he likes to put it, a “stay outside dad”), he says he realized there really weren’t baby bags or accessories made for him and fathers like him. “I started to talking to Matthew, and he was the one who pushed me into saying, ‘Hey, we really need to make this a reality, there’s people that need this,’” the photographer explains.
“He was saying, ‘There’s nothing out there for cool dads,'” Morrison shares with Parents.com exclusively. “I said, ‘Let’s roll with this.’ Nine months ago, we really put the pedal to the medal. It’s just been such a labor of love. It’s such a family business.”
Duffie and Morrison also very much see the line as more than “just products.” They’re also hoping that the brand will send a powerful, important message to other dads and dads-to-be.
“Being a dad, one of the most universal things, really, the stereotypes around it are kind of the dorky dad that kinda bumbles through,” Duffie acknowledges. “But now, both parents share the responsibilities of the day-to-day a lot more. We’re in a generation where both the husband and wife both work and they both share the responsibilities of raising the kids, and there are a lot of dads who just own it, who are on top of it, and there’s no lifestyle brand that really supports that. And we’re in a time where we really need strong family leaders, and there needs to be something for those guys.”
Morrison agrees that feeling prepared with the right diaper bag or other everyday items can positively affect modern dads’ morale. “We’re trying to really motivate dads to be present and proactive fathers, and give them the tools and the gear to feel like they’re ready for anything, because it is such a challenging job to be a parent, and we want to make it as easy as possible,” he notes.
And speaking of feeling prepared, this is, no doubt, a big year for Morrison—but he’s taking all of the major milestones in stride. “Obviously, I’m about to have a child, and it couldn’t have been more perfect timing,” he shares. “I’m about to go on the biggest adventure of my life, and I feel like this the first birth of the year—getting this company launched, and then we’ll have the next one!”
In the meantime, Morrison has certainly been thinking about what the big day of his child’s birth will look like. And like all expectant fathers, he admits he’s nervous.
“The thing I’m most terrified about is probably the actual birth,” he told Parents.com. “Because it’s so unpredictable, you know. But my dad is a midwife; he’s going to be there for the birth of our child. And I’ve grown up in that baby-birthing world, so I’m actually really ready for that. I feel like you get certain points of your life where you get to reset, and things just sort of start over, and I feel like this is one of those moments where I’m going to hit the reset button, and anything is possible. It’s a whole new world.”
Cheers to that—and to dads feeling even more prepared to take on that world.
The expectant couple will soon be celebrating their baby joy abroad in Italy, Morrison tells PEOPLE at the Gilt launch of his chic dad gear line Sherpapa Supply Co. at Catch LA on Wednesday night.
“My Father’s Day, we’re actually going to be on our babymoon,” the Glee alum shares. “We’re going to be in Italy.”
Though the couple – who confirmed their pregnancy to PEOPLE last month – won’t welcome their baby until the fall, Morrison says, “We do feel like this will be our first Father’s Day, we really celebrated Mother’s Day this year for [Renee].”
He adds, “We’ll be just enjoying our travels before we have our addition.”
The couple – who wed in 2014 – can’t wait to grow their little family.
Says the actor, “I feel like through pregnancy and infancy, a lot of fathers are confused of their role. I’m just so excited to just go after it and this is going to be the greatest adventure of my life and it’s starting soon.”
“I’m so excited, and I just want to be the best father I possibly can be,” Morrison, 38, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, admitting that he’s “looking forward to everything” about fatherhood.
Says the actor of his new addition, due to arrive this fall, “The fact that it’s half me and half the person that I love most in this world … I’m so excited to meet our child and to see what he or she looks like, and to see what features of my beautiful wife that he or she has.”
The timing couldn’t be better. Though he and McDuffie have been working on bringing Sherpapa to life for a while, it’s May website launch allows Morrison to be a purveyor and customer.
“Zach and I were on this mission to build this company and now it means so much more to me,” he raves. “It’s so much more relevant.”
Sherpapa includes a range of high-quality products, including dad-branded tees and hats, as well as custom specialty items like painted baseball bats and canoe paddles. The business partners tell PEOPLE they hope Sherpapa encourages family adventure.
“In this generation, there’s a lot more dual-income families and shared responsibilities of raising a kid,” says McDuffie. “Dads are much more involved in raising their kids. There hasn’t been any lifestyle brand geared toward those kind of dads until now.”
McDuffie, a photographer, and Morrison first met through their wives, becoming fast friends. As the father of a 2-year-old little girl, McDuffie realized a lot of products for new parents were geared toward mothers.
“I was carrying my wife’s diaper bag and I started thinking. I was like, ‘There’s gotta be something cooler for guys,’ ” he says. “Yet there was nothing for dads – and it’s the best job in the world – as far as gear.”
Thus, Sherpapa was born. Explains McDuffie, “The name started out as a nickname my wife had for me, because when you’re a dad, you carry a lot of stuff for your family.”
“So it’s a combination of ‘sherpa’ – those local guides that carry all the gear for climbers at Mount Everest – and ‘papa,’ which is the most universal term for dad.”
“Our definition of Sherpapa is a modern family leader and protector of children’s futures,” McDuffie continues.
Both men are partial to the brand’s bags – the James and the Sierra – which, Morrison says, are Sherpapa’s “staple pieces.”
“It’s really a bag for all seasons of fatherhood,” he says. “From a go-bag for the delivery room in the hospital to the diaper bag, to putting tools in it. Zach uses it for carrying lunch around, and it’s a great car tote. I use it as a carry-on – it fits perfectly under an airplane seat.”
“There are a couple stereotypes about dads that we want to break,” says Morrison. “One, that dads are hard to shop for. And two, that men somehow lose their style when they become fathers. And that’s why we are creating these gifts and gear in a classic style that reflects the belief of quality over quantity, and durability over the disposable.”
Sherpapa is partnering exclusively with Gilt.com for the launch. Gilt will offer an exclusive curated selection of Morrison and McDuffie’s favorite Sherpapa products to subscribers starting June 1.With the brand up and running, Morrison is set to focus on fatherhood. “I can’t wait to share experiences and watch life through my kid’s eyes,” he says.
This morning Paul Ross of TalkRadio was joined by Glee star Matthew Morrison, who told us all about his amazing career and his very British interest.
As well as reflecting on his time in Glee, the American actor and dancer also revealed he’s a big fan of football.
Matthew also told us about the amazing experience of singing with Elton John, and revealed his thrill at starring in Grey’s Anatomy. He even found time to tell us about his show at the London Hippodrome and Casino this week.
FORMER GLEE STAR ADMITS FILMING GLEE TOOK ITS TOLL AFTER SIX YEARS ON THE SHOW
TV heartthrob Matthew Morrison has fond memories off filming hit musical TV show Glee – but reveals he’s glad it’s now come to an end.
The actor starred as Will Schuester from 2009 to 2015 but with success comes extra demands and consequently long hours.
He said: “We worked tirelessly. It was 16 hour days minimum. We did dance rehearsals, recorded the show, filmed it and did press alongside that so it was long, long hours.
“It was a great show. I really feel I was their teacher. A lot of the kids hadn’t done anything like that before and I’d done Broadway shows so in many ways I really was their teacher.”
ON DANCING AS A BOY GROWING UP
I found my passion at a young age. There were moments of insecurities but I was pretty athletic so I got away with it.
ON HIS WIFE
She is stunning, she is from Hawaii so we got married there. Eventually when we have kids they will have Hawaiian names. We want to follow that tradition. At our wedding she did a dance. It’s a tradition a woman ‘leis’ her man!
ON SEX SCENES
I have the most supportive wife. She tells me if I have a sex scene or kissing she she wants me to really go for it. She wants it to go right. They’re the weirdest things to film.
I had a sex scene with Cara Delevingne in a film recently. It’s always strange. Very choreographed, there’s a bunch of people watching and you’re naked.
ON HIS UPCOMING NEW LONDON SHOW
It’s three shows. I tell stories of my life. I’m so used to playing characters but this is a chance for the audience to really see Matthew Morrison. I go through a career retrospective of some shows I’ve been in from Glee to Hairspray.
Matthew Morrison, the Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe Award-nominated star from Fox TV’s hit television series “Glee,” will perform at Musikfest Cafe at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, it was just announced.
Morrison will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 7.
Tickets, at $44-$54 for Morrison, go on sale at 10 a.m. May 16 to ArtsQuest members and 10 a.m. May 19 to the public at www.steelstacks.org and 610-332-3378.
TV and stage actor Matthew Morrison will headline the September 9 benefit gala for the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut.
The event will raise money for the classic summer stock theatre where Stephen Sondheim once worked as a summer volunteer, which is getting set to launch its 87th season.
Morrison, who earned a Tony Award nomination for his performance in The Light in the Piazza, has also appeared in the 2008 revival of South Pacific and as Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in the musical Finding Neverland. But he is even more widely known for his performance as Mr. Schuester, director of a high school glee club, in the FOX musical comedy series Glee, which earned him an Emmy nomination and two Golden Globe nominations,
The gala’s theme, “Moonlight Over Venice,” is a nod to the Playhouse’s planned autumn production of Romeo and Juliet. The gala will begin with a 5:45 PM cocktail party cocktail party, followed by the 7 PM presentation of the Playhouse Leadership Award to longtime trustee Ann Sheffer, and the 7:15 PM performance by Morrison. Dinner will be served at 8:30 PM. A silent auction will be ongoing throughout the evening.
The Honorary Gala Committee includes Maureen Anderman, Frank Converse, Mia Dillon, Keir Dullea, Jill Eikenberry, Daniel Gerroll, Joanna Gleason, James Earl Jones, Patricia Kalember, James Naughton, Kelli O’Hara, Christopher and Elaine Plummer, Chris Sarandon, and Michael Tucker.
Tickets, at $1,000 and $2,500, can be ordered by calling the box office at (203) 571-1138, or by emailing email@example.com.