Matthew Morrison: Song and Dance Man
POSTED ON Jan 05, 2018 BY Valentina INGallery,Interview

Matthew Morrison is tapping outside by the pool. Under a canopy of palm trees with the Los Angeles sun beaming down, he’s grooving to the music in his mind. Watching him dance can transport you to a different era.

Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Hills, the scene looks plucked from the Tinseltown of yore. The classic song-and-dance man moves to the beat of his own drum with a sense of unbridled joy. Has Gene Kelly come back to life? Has the departed soul of Fred Astaire been reincarnated?

“I am someone who feels like I was born in the wrong era,” Morrison says. “I have a connection with that music and that time and just how simple it was. Today, music is all about coming up with a cool beat, whereas back then [it was] music and lyrics that tell a story.”

Our photo shoot is at the Garcia House, an architectural icon designed by John Lautner that is famous as the house that rolls down the hill in Lethal Weapon 2. Celebrity tour buses drive by throughout the day, and when the echo of a tour guide’s microphone reverberates through the house, Morrison jokingly waves and smiles, though no fan can see him.

After the shoot, back in his own clothing (a cream-colored sweater, faded jeans, and white Converse sneakers), Morrison sits in an armchair in the book-lined study. The sun is setting, and pink and orange hues filter through the wide windows overlooking the hills. If he’s exhausted from the day, he doesn’t show it.

Morrison is a triple threat — singer, dancer, actor — an increasing rarity in an industry obsessed with quick hits and Instagram followings. After cutting his teeth on Broadway starring in shows like Hairspray and South Pacific, Morrison catapulted into the spotlight on the Fox musical television series Glee as Will Schuester, the loveable Spanish teacher with big dreams.

Right now, he’s focused on his latest role: father. His son, Revel James Makai Morrison, was born on Oct. 12, 2017. Revel and Morrison’s wife, Renee, joined him at our photo shoot. In between setups, Morrison would lovingly dote on his wife and son, never losing the quintessential new-dad expression of curiosity, concern, and adoration. As an only child, Morrison didn’t grow up around other children, so caring for and bonding with Revel has been a transformative experience.

“Seeing him develop that awareness of what it is to be around a child, and to see that beautiful innocence, it’s so powerful,” Renee says. “I’ve never met anybody who is so concerned and just passionate about being there for his family. He’s just such an incredible human. I feel so fortunate to be his partner.”

Renee says Morrison has taken a hands-on role in parenting, changing most of the diapers when he’s home. She says he constantly worries whether Revel is breathing.

“It’s scary. We’re really responsible for this human being,” Morrison says. “All the things you hear about going into parenting are true. I’ve never known love like this.”

Morrison’s smile is disarming, and he has an easy confidence that makes you wonder if he’s always performing. When he’s passionate about his subject — his wife, his son, Broadway — he doesn’t miss a beat, and his voice lures you in, leaving you hanging on every word as if it were a musical note. Every fidget becomes a little dance.

According to his mentor, Ralph Opacic, he has had star quality from a young age.

“He was that likable, charismatic kid,” says Opacic, who is the founder and executive director of the Orange County School of the Arts in Los Alamitos, Calif., where Morrison graduated from high school. “He fit in with the artistic musical-theater kids at OCSA. He fit in with the athletes on the soccer field. He fit in with the student-leadership kids.”

After six seasons on Glee in a part Morrison says was tailor-made for him and his talents, he’s eager to dive into unexpected roles, departing from the good-guy archetype. “I feel like everyone kind of thinks of me as Mr. Schuester, that kind of happy-go-lucky nice guy, which I am, but I’m an actor,” he says. “I have been doing this my whole life. I feel like I have a lot of depth and different things to offer.”

He’s eager to do it all: film (he appeared in the Alicia Vikander vehicle Tulip Fever); television (he has a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Jo Wilson’s abusive ex-husband); and the stage (he led a benefit concert of Damn Yankees alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal and Whoopi Goldberg in December.)

Early 2018 is busy for Morrison: He’s performing six nights at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York, Jan. 7-13. “It’s one of the sexiest rooms in New York,” he says. “I love how intimate it is; I love that I can just talk to people.”

As far as what he plans to perform, Morrison is still figuring it out and wants to let his instincts lead him in the moment. “I’m very free-flowing and I like to ad lib onstage, so I just kind of go wherever I go,” he says.

In February, he’ll travel to Japan, where he’s headlining six shows in Tokyo and Osaka, and then he’ll return to China to complete filming for the sci-fi movie Crazy Alien, which will be released in 2019.

Theater will always be home for Morrison. “I can’t not be on the stage,” he says with a sigh. “You have that bond with those people, because you are literally looking out for each other, and if something goes wrong you have to count on these people — you can’t just call ‘cut.’”

He’d love to play Billy Bigelow in Carousel, John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, and put on a production of City of Angels. “And I want to do it with Leslie Odom Jr.,” he says.

Morrison follows his passions wherever they take him, from stage to screen and back again. His latest venture is a startup, Sherpapa Supply Co., a lifestyle brand for family adventures. He cofounded the company, which sells durable gear specifically for dads, with his friend Zach McDuffie.

“Everything you buy as a parent is garage-sale fodder within the first year,” he explains. “We believe in durability over the disposable. Our bag is for all seasons of fatherhood, from the go-bag to the delivery room, to the diaper bag, to carrying food and snacks for your kid, to putting your tools in it to fix your daughter’s first apartment.”

Morrison wants to limit how often he is on the road touring so he can be home with his family, but he says becoming a father won’t change how he selects projects.

“It’s changed my perspective on work,” Morrison says. “I’m in a business where it’s very selfish. You’re always thinking about yourself, and I just don’t feel that way anymore. It’s not about you anymore; it’s about your family unit. For me, that’s the most important thing in my life right now.”

Styled by Drew Jessup
Hair and makeup by Diana Schmidtke
Shot at The Garcia House

The X Magazine

Pictures by Nathan Johnson

All HQ pictures from the photoshoot can be found in the gallery.

 

 

It was batter up at the Stephen Sondheim Theater last night! Roundabout Theatre Company just presented its Damn Yankees Benefit Concert Reading, starring Whoopi Goldberg as “Applegate,” Maggie Gyllenhaal as “Lola,” and Matthew Morrison “Joe Hardy” and included Stephen Bogardus “Joe Boyd,” Danny Burstein as “Van Buren,” Victoria Clark as “Meg Boyd,” Annie Golden “Doris,” Julie Halston “Sister,” Reggie Jacksonas “Mr. Welch,” and Adrienne Warren “Gloria Thorpe.”

Completing the company were Jill AbramovitzPaula Leggett ChaseLawrence ClaytonGreg HildrethTari KellyMichael McCormickShina Ann MorrisKevin MunhallKeven QuillonSamantha SturmAnthony WayneHaley SwindalNoah Weisberg and Christian Dante White.

Roundabout’s Associate Artist Kathleen Marshall directed this one-night only special event, with Musical Direction by Rob Berman.

BroadwayWorld

Additional pictures in the gallery

Matthew Morrison is an actor and musician, and most importantly father to 7-week-old son Revel James Makai.

The father of one, 39, recently told PEOPLE about his daddy-baby bonding time and the joys of newfound parenting as well as Sherpapa Supply Co., his line of gear and accessories designed for the modern dad and family man, which landed a coveted spot on Gwyneth Paltrow‘s goop gift guide this holiday season.

“I revel in his bravery. It sounds weird but with especially with everything going on right now, he’s so brave to come into this world. He’s teaching me so much,” Morrison said about his only child.

“He can’t talk to me yet but he’s forcing me to learn how to communicate with someone who is trying to communicate with me. It’s a lesson in patience. I’ve never been impatient with my child. I know a lot of parents can be,” the star continued. “I’m learning how to communicate with him about him and what every burp and fart means.”

The Glee alum and Zach McDuffie, a photographer, entrepreneur and father to a three-year-old little girl, launched Sherpapa Supply Co. to create quality products for all parents. (Morrison and McDuffie recommend their popular reversible blanket for a future Christmas gift!)

“Zach’s the best example for me of a present, proactive father and that’s what I want to be so it’s been a great journey. It informs who I am as a father,” Morrison said about building his lifestyle brand and raising his son. “I’m ready for anything, I’m so prepared. I love being prepared and that’s basically why we started this company. Sometimes having a kid is planning a NASA launch.”

One particular thing he’s recently proud of is his son’s growth.

“[Revel] moved out of his newborn diapers so he’s on the next stage of diapers which is very exciting. But we actually try to do the diapers that aren’t really diapers, the cloth diapers. It’s a lot of washing, a lot of laundry. It’s eco-friendly and we’re trying to do that as much as we can,” Morrison said.

“The biggest one I would say I felt like for the first time maybe in the last week he saw me for the first time,” he added. “He actually had that recognition and he smiled. I can’t wait until we make him laugh and to hear his laugh.”

People

For the 29th annual World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), legendary artist and noted philanthropist Sir Elton John is continuing his commitment to raising awareness and funds for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic with the help of mobile messaging app Kwippit and 25 famous friends.

Each day during the next month, a custom-made digital heart — similar to an emoji — is set to release to subscribers of Kwippit’s Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)channel to share on social media and text messages. One hundred percent of the proceeds from downloads ($.99 annual membership) directly benefits the non-profit’s grant-making programs that focus on raising awareness, sharing preventative information, and offering medical care and treatment to all people living with HIV.

John, who designed six of the 31 hearts for the digital campaign (exclusive sketch below) tells Billboard: “I am so grateful to all of the EJAF friends participating in this Kwippit project for sharing their creativity with us, supporting our work, remaining steadfast to the cause, and believing in our ideals.”

“Ending AIDS ultimately comes down to this: We must open our hearts to love one another and help every person in need, regardless of who they are, who they love, where they’re from, or what they do,” said EJAF executive director Scott P. Campbell. “That’s what this campaign is all about — opening our hearts and raising funds to end AIDS once and for all — for everyone.”

In the Spring, the Foundation is capitalizing on its long-standing relationship with Hollywood by hosting an auction during its 26th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party (Mar. 4, 2018). During the sale, all 31 custom heart designs — 6”x 6” heart-shaped tiles — are framed and autographed by each celebrity.

Musicians lending their support include Boy GeorgeCyndi LauperSteven TylerOzzy OsbourneAnsel ElgortBeth DittoAdam Lambert along with Broadway stars Neil Patrick Harris and Andrew Rannells. Other celebrity supporters include Ellen DeGeneresAndy CohenLea MicheleMatthew MorrisonChris ColferSharon StoneJonathan GroffColton HaynesCheyenne JacksonBillie Jean KingHeidi KlumPadma LakshmiSandra LeeAndy RoddickJake Shears, and Russell Tovey.

“We’re incredibly honored to work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation on this campaign,” adds Kwippit’s chief brand officer, Krista Treide. “We’re excited to connect the digital/social media generation with EJAF’s important efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in our lifetime.”

Billboard

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO) has just announced that Matthew Morrison “Joe Hardy,” Stephen Bogardus“Joe Boyd,” Annie Golden “Doris,” Julie Halston“Sister” and Adrienne Warren “Gloria Thorpe” have joined the Benefit Concert Reading of Damn Yankees, the Tony award-winning musical comedy by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The evening will bring these beloved stars of stage and screen back to the Broadway stage for one night only with Whoopi Goldberg as “Applegate,” Maggie Gyllenhaal as “Lola,” Danny Burstein as “Van Buren” and Victoria Clark as “Meg Boyd.”

Roundabout’s Associate Artist Kathleen Marshall will direct this one-night only special event. Roundabout welcomes back Kathleen following her Tony Award winning work directing and choregraphing Anything Goes and prior to that, her Tony- winning choreography for another Adler and Ross musical comedy – The Pajama Game (Tony Award, Best Revival). Ms. Gyllenhaal returns following her acclaimed Broadway debut in The Real Thing, Matthew Morrison was last at Roundabout in A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, Danny Burstein returns following his Tony nominated performance in Cabaret and before that Talley’s Folly, Victoria Clark returns following her starring role in The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Annie Golden returns after the Tony-nominated musical Violet and Julie Halston was last with Roundabout for Anything Goes and On the Twentieth Century. Roundabout is thrilled to welcome legendary Ms. Goldberg and Adrienne Warren into the family of Roundabout artists.

The Benefit Concert Reading will take place on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 7:30 PM at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

Would you do ANYTHING to help your favorite baseball team win the pennant? In the Faustian baseball musical, Damn Yankees, Joe Boyd sells his soul to the devil to be the home run hitter that will guide his favorite team, the Washington Senators, to a win against those “Damn Yankees.” Featuring the classical musical theatre standards, “Heart,” “Two Lost Souls” and “Whatever Lola Wants”, follow Joe in his quest to save his team…and his soul.

Proceeds from the Benefit Concert Reading of Damn Yankees support Roundabout Theatre Company‘s many programs and initiatives, including Education at Roundabout.

VIP, Benefactor and Producer tickets include admission to an exclusive cast party following the performance. Additional cast members and creative team will be announced soon. Generous underwriting support is provided by Roxanne and Scott Bok, Michael T. Cohen, Colliers International NY LLC, Kiendl and John Gordon, Tom and Kitty Patterson Kempner, and Diane and Tom Tuft. Damn Yankees is sponsored by Google. Golden Ram Imports is the wine sponsor for the evening.

BroadwayWorld

Matthew Morrison is locked, loaded and ready for diaper duty.

The Glee alum arrived to Poppy nightclub in a “proud papa” costume for his 8th annual Halloween party to make a quick appearance before he dashed home to be with his model wife Renee Puente, and newborn son, Revel James Makai Morrison.

The annual celeb-filled party—presented by PacSun and Podwall Entertainment—celebrated the spooky holiday and the star’s 39th birthday in typical fashion with a barrage of A-list guests and great costumes.

According to his Instagram, Morrison dressed as a “sherpapa” who is described as a “strong family leader, guide, and protector of our children’s future. It is also a term of endearment for a beloved father or grandfather.”

It’s very fitting for the new father who explained to E! News exclusively that the birth of his first child two weeks ago has been a “beautiful transformation in my life.”

Morrison says the first weeks have been a “whirlwind” with a lot of firsts—like seeing his son shed actual tears, which had yet to happen.

The Broadway star said that on the day of the party, “We put him in the car seat and he hates that thing—so he had some real tears today.”

The star also gave some insight as to how he and his wife chose their first son’s special name.

He explained that they knew they wanted an “R” name for a boy and an “M” name for a girl, but were careful to choose a name that wasn’t “weird.”

“We wanted to revel in our child and we were like, Revel, that is just so cool and we will call him Rev for short,” he explained to us.

As for fatherhood, the actor said that it “is something I have been ready for.” One thing he wasn’t ready for? “The blowouts in his diapers—that has been pretty surprising to me,” he joked.

Congratulations again to the new dad and one special celebration.

E! Online

Matthew attends the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Hosts Television Game Changers Panel Discussion in Beverly Hills, CA, on October 26, 2017.

Additional pictures in the gallery.

Matthew Morrison and Wife Renee Welcome First Child
POSTED ON Oct 23, 2017 BY Valentina INNews

 

Matthew and Renee have welcomed their first child! Revel James Makai Morrison, born on October 12, 2017.

Congrats to the happy parents!

 

Matthew at 54 Below: new dates
POSTED ON Aug 31, 2017 BY Valentina INNews

Matthew’s concerts at 54 Below in NYC have been rescheduled to January 2018.

Tickets are on sale now.

Matthew Morrison has been set to star in Chinese feature Crazy Alien, the third installment in director Ning Hao’s black comedy trilogy that includes 2006’s Crazy Stone and 2009’s Crazy Racer (aka Silver Medalist). The logline is being kept under wraps, though it’s understood Alien will be in keeping with the previous Crazy crime capers.

Production on the Chinese-language movie is just getting underway in Qingdao. Morrison will speak English in the picture with his role subtitled in Chinese.

Co-starring is Ning’s frequent collaborator Huang Bo, who was in the previous Crazypics as well as the director’s 2014 smash Breakup Buddies. Also aboard are Tom Pelphrey (Iron Fist, Banshee); Kat Nelson (A Girl Is A Gun); and Shen Teng, who appeared in Breakup Buddies and is known for another local box office hit, Goodbye Mr Loser.

A Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, Glee alum Morrison recently starred in the Harvey Weinstein-produced Finding Neverland on Broadway and next will be onscreen in Tulip Fever, which releases domestically on August 25. He’s repped by CAA.

Glee was a popular series in China. Said Ning: “We are expanding the potential audience for Chinese films. This time, we are collaborating with extraordinary Hollywood actors. I believe that all these amazing talents will inspire each other to put on a great performance.”

Breakup Buddies was the No. 2 movie of 2014 in the Middle Kingdom, grossing $188M. Ning’s other credits include 2013’s neo-Western thriller No Man’s Land,which competed in Berlin and has been compared to the work of the Coen brothers.

Huanxi Media and Dirty Monkey are producing Crazy Alien with a China release set for February 5, 2019. Morrison is repped by CAA and management Podwall Entertainment.

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