He may have entered your home as Mr. Schue on the hit TV series, “Glee,” but Matthew Morrison — actor, dancer, singer-songwriter — said that his home is on the stage.

“I grew up on the stage, and it feels like what I was born to do,” he said by phone from his home in New York. “I feel most alive; I feel like I’m my true, authentic self on stage, and I’m a happy person.”

Morrison was in New York between trips to Amsterdam to work on the film “Tulip Fever,” a costume drama starring Judy Dench, Zach Galifinakis and Christoph Waltz, and concert shows such as the one he’ll be doing in Boone in July with the Greensboro Symphony at the Appalachian Summer Festival

His agent hustled him “someplace quiet” to talk while work was being done on the apartment that he shares with his fiancée, model Renee Puente.

Morrison, best known as Will Schuester in “Glee,” had a successful career on Broadway before being cast as the high school Spanish teacher turned choir director in 2009. He received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the role.

Megan Stage works in the Office of Arts and Cultural Programs and Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University, which produces Appalachian Summer Festival.

“The festival always tries to round out the season with the Broadway artist … between some of the country, folk and pop artists we bring,” Stage said. “It’s a great addition to the musical acts we host each summer. Matthew Morrison is a popular TV actor with his role on ‘Glee,’ but we have seen him perform on Broadway, his first love, and when we saw he was touring, we all agreed he’d be a perfect fit for the festival.”

Morrison grew up in California and started performing in high school.

After studying musical theater, vocal performance and dance at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, he dropped out to make his debut on Broadway in “Footloose,” followed by a role in “The Rocky Horror Show.”

But Morrison’s breakout role was Link Larkin in the original Broadway cast of “Hairspray” in 2002. That role led to his being cast in the critically acclaimed “The Light in the Piazza”; he received a Tony Award nomination for the role of Fabrizio Nacarelli in 2005.

Ryan Murphy, the “Glee” creator, scouted Morrison and several other actors from Broadway shows because he was looking for actors who could understand the excitement of performing for a live audience, even though the TV show is shot on a soundstage without an audience.

“Glee” is a popular musical comedy-drama TV series that focuses on the fictitious William McKinley High School glee club, New Directions. The show choir competes while its members deal with relationships, sexuality, social issues and learning to become an effective team. The show lost some of its momentum when Cory Montieth, who played Finn, the popular quarterback, died of a drug overdose in 2013.

Shortly afterward, Murphy announced that the show’s next season, its sixth, would be its last.

“Next year we’re doing 13 episodes,” Morrison said. “We’re coming to our last season. I’m incredibly proud of the ride that it’s taken us all on. It dealt with sensitive issues that adults and young people go through. I’m very proud to have been part of a show like that.”

The creators and cast dealt with the sudden loss of Montieth by presenting a memorial episode, called “The Quarterback,” and then put the show on a brief hiatus.

“He (Montieth) was a huge part of the show, and he really connected with a lot of people,” Morrison said. “And, for me, watching him grow on the show was gratifying. He grew more than any other person on the show.”

Morrison, who one critic described as a “joyful” live performer, said that performing for a big or small audience doesn’t make much difference to him.

“At the end of the day, you’re just doing the best you can do to give an honest performance,” Morrison said. “The difference between playing to 2,000 people on stage or 5 million on TV is not really such a big deal.

“The biggest difference is the tone of it. On TV, you have to be a little bit smaller and more contained. You have to think that the audience can see your emotions more easily.”

There’s one other difference.

“Once you’re exposed to that kind of audience, you are pretty much open game for anyone walking down the street to stop you and notice things,” he said. “I’m very happy that my TV success happened when I was already 30.

“My fiancée and I are homebodies now. Besides being out there in the public eye, we live boring, domesticated lives: cooking, entertaining friends and enjoying our own company.”

And he cooks. “You enjoy food more when you know the work that goes into it,” he said.

At Appalachian Summer Festival, Morrison will be performing a combination of jazz standards and Broadway show tunes, including a seven-minute “West Side Story” medley.

He’s bringing his own conductor, Chris Waldon, and his own piano player, Brad Ellis, also from “Glee.”

“He (Ellis) is just as famous as I am,” Morrison said. “He’s the piano player on the show. It’s great that we get to do this outside of our day job and travel the world doing these shows.”

Walden did many of the musical arrangements on Morrison’s two record albums — “Where It All Began” (2013), a Broadway-inspired album, and “Matthew Morrison” (2011), a pop record that includes duets with Sting and Elton John, and Morrison’s single, “Summer Rain.”

Morrison and Stage said that they hope his “Glee” fame will serve to draw younger people to hear the Greensboro Symphony.

“Between Broadway and Glee, he is relatable to all generations,” Stage said. “We love bringing in the younger demographic to our shows … an artist to get young people in the door and excited to see a live performance. Matthew Morrison can do just that, but he will also appeal to our current patrons and festival audiences. This is one of those shows that will blend our audiences together which is always special to see.”

Morrrison said, “I feel like sometimes orchestras draw an older crowd, but there’s so much you can learn by going to these shows. A grandparent can bring their grandchild. I think I can bring in a younger audience. The whole evening for me is a whole lot of fun.

“These songs are timeless.I love seeing anybody sing their songs; everybody brings their own story to these songs we know and love.”

He’s done TV, movies and records, but Morrison said he still feels most at home on the stage.

“The stage is where I grew up. I did my first show when I was 19, and it’s been seven years since I was on the (Broadway) stage,” he said. “That’s the impetus for me to do these concerts. I miss the energy of working with a live audience.

“I want to start performing for the people again.”

 

Source: Journal Now

There was a time when the name of Glee character Will Schuesterwas more familiar to the public than the actor who portrayed him. Perhaps for some that’s still the case. But you really can’t blame anyone for that.

Whether it’s because viewers strongly relate to having one educator who helped shape their identities or because they wished they had such a positive role model in their lives, Mr. Schue is an archetype who inspires fans to follow their dreams.

But the man who plays Mr. Schue is more than a symbol. Actor, dancer, musician and singer-songwriter Matthew Morrison is slated to headline theHouston Symphony’s “Centennial Ball,” scheduled for Saturday at Jones Hall. The fundraiser, chaired by Cora Sue and Harry Mach and Joella and Steven Mach, is a white-tie event that celebrates the curtain call of the orchestra’s 100th anniversary season.

Ahead of the glitzy musicale, CultureMap chatted with Morrison over the phone to learn more about his journey in show biz.

CultureMap: We love Mr. Schue because he reminds us of that one high school teacher who really believed in us. Curious, did you have a role model like Mr. Schue growing up?

Matthew Morrison: I actually did. My teacher, his name was Mr. Doran, was my ninth grade English teacher. He’s an enthusiastic guy — I don’t know if he taught me how to use a comma — but you couldn’t help being captivated by him. He owned the room, had an infectious attitude and you could tell he loved teaching, and that’s why he made you love being a student in his class. He made you feel like you wanted to be there because he obviously wanted to be there.

I went to his classroom one day after I got Glee and said to him, “I am basing a lot of my character on you, and I would like to take something from your classroom to bring into my choir room.” It’s in probably almost every episode of Glee when you see the choir room. It’s a porcelain wiener dog, a plant holder or something, that we switch around and put in different places. It’s my homage to Mr. Doran.

CM: What’s the most important value he imparted in you?

MM: To enjoy live. That was in him. His thing was carpe diem, and that’s something that was instilled in me.

CM: I’d like to think that everyone with whom we cross paths influences us in someway. Cory Monteith’s death was tragic, a loss that affected everyone. What did you learn from Cory? 

MM: When we started GleeCory was our biggest project. He was the person who we didn’t know would work because he hadn’t sung before professionally. He was kind of the question mark.

I think what I learned most from Cory was the power of dedication. He was so dedicated to getting better every single day. Throughout the years, I, as someone who was with him everyday, saw that growth. As a viewer you saw that, too, in his character, in his performance. I was really proud of him.

He would have been a lifelong friend for me. He was probably the person whom I was most close to in the show. It was a tragic loss — for everyone.

CM: Do you have a favorite Glee episode or one you watch the most?

MM: I think I watch the pilot episode more than others probably because it was the first one out. You see a script, and we thought it was a good script, but we didn’t know what it was going to evolve into. After a couple of screenings, we would get together at someone’s house and watch it. We would take a dinner break and watch it again. We couldn’t believe how it turned out. It was so amazing and beautiful. It really set the tone for the rest of the series.

CM: How did you land the part of Mr. Schue in the first place?

MM: I was doing South Pacific on Broadway at the time, and I just put myself on tape. The producer saw it, they auditioned me in New York and I guess they really liked me. They flew me out to Los Angeles and I got the part. Luckily,South Pacific was good enough to let me out for a month to shoot the pilot. And that’s how it happened.

 

CM: I hear there was lucky footwear involved. Is that true?

MM: Ryan Murphy (Glee co-creator) is really into fashion. He was admiring my boots, a pair of beat up old motorcycle boots that he just absolutely loved. When I came into the audition, it wasn’t about me. It was about the boots. We had a 15 minute conversation before I even got to audition.

CM: For your shows, you seem to pull off the classic look of the 1960s. Where do you shop?

MM: I do classic American standards. So I try to emulate the classic look of Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Sammy Davis. Those are the people that I look to for style, but I put my own twist on it and modernize it with a bow tie or a little accessory that changes a whole outfit.

For my shows, I love Brooks Brothers. They’ve been around for a long time; they were around in that period. It’s a classic American company. Especially in the past two years, because they did the Great Gatsby movie, they have many great pieces.

CM: From your albums and singles, what’s the song that has the most personal meaning for you?

MM: There’s a song called “My Name.” It’s a very personal song that I wrote with this English guy named Eg White. The song represents what I was going through at the time. It was a time when I would walk down the street and people would yell, “Mr. Schue, Mr. Schue!” That’s how people identified me. No one really knew my name.

CM: Are wedding plans still on for next year? Where are you and Renee Puente getting married?

MM: They sure are. We’ve had a great time doing it, too. You hear all these horror stories about wedding planning, but we have this great wedding planer, his name is Kevin Covey. He’s done a lot of weddings nationally and he’s someone who’s made life really easy for us. It’s going to be a very small wedding in Hawaii.

CM:  I hear you’re about to start filming a new movie?

MM: That is true! It’s called After the Reality. It’s a script that I came across and I wanted to do it. I decided to executive produce it as well as star in it. It’s a great indie flick. I’ve put a lot of work into reworking scenes.

For my role, I wanted to take a departure from Mr. Schuester. He’s a dark character, a guy who’s been running away from life. He and his sister, who’s played by a great actress, Sarah Chalke, they are dealing with the death of their father so they have to come back home and rekindle things with their family. It’s a great movie with a lot of twists and turns. We’ve assembled a great cast so expect a lot of fun cameos in it.

CM: What do you have planned for your Houston Symphony performance?

MM: I will be finishing up a long day on Friday with the movie and flying just in time for Saturday. I am excited also because Steven Reineke is conducting. He’s someone with whom I just worked a couple of weeks ago for my Carnegie Hall debut. He’s a fantastic conductor. He’s already familiar with a lot of my songs, but I am going to throw in a few new songs that I haven’t done before as well.

CM: Have you been to Houston before?

MM: My dad and I took a road trip years ago from New York to California. We drove through Houston but didn’t stop there. Unfortunately I have to fly in and fly out.

CM: If you can, get in some barbecue while you are here.

MM: I will do that. Sounds like a great plan.

 

Source: Houston Culture Map

‘Where It All Began’ is now available with 4 additional live studio tracks. Complete the album on iTunes!

Matthew on X Factor Italy: behind the scenes interviews!
POSTED ON Nov 25, 2013 BY Valentina INVideo

Matthew answers some questions behind the scenes of X Factor Italy for Simona Ventura TV.

Full video of Matt’s amazing performance of “It Don’t Mean A Thing” on X Factor Italia (November 21).

Matthew took part to a popular Italian radio show this morning, called “DeeJay chiama Italia”, on Radio Deejay. Check out pictures, videos and the full radio podcast!

Matthew meets the Italian press: interviews!
POSTED ON Nov 20, 2013 BY Valentina INInterview,Video

Matthew is in Milan for his performance on X Factor tomorrow night at 9.10pm on Sky Uno. This morning he met the Italian press. All the interviews will be added to this post.

Rockol.it

Sky Tg24 (dubbed in Italian)

Corriere della Sera

DavideMaggio.it

Matthew answers some questions behind the scenes of X Factor Italy for Simona Ventura TV.

SkyUno
We have no doubts: the fifth X Factor live show – airing on Thursday, November 21 at 9pm on Sky Uno- will be watched by many Italian Gleeks. Why? Because one of the guests will be Matthew Morrison, Mr Schuester. Triple Threat Matthew Morrison- actor, singer and dancer- will perform It Don’t Mean A Thing, from his second album, Where It All Began, out last June under Adam Levine’s new record company, 222.The record is a collection of standards revisited with modern arrangements. Here’s what Matt told us.

Good morning Matthew, first of all congratulations for your second album and for the EP A Classic Christmas, out on November 19. Both records have been produced by Adam Levine’s 222. How did this collaboration happen?
Adam and I both live in LA and we’re friends; one day I told him I’d have liked to do an album celebrating 50s and 60s sounds. He said, “No problem, I’ll be your producer!”. I thought he was laughing, but he really did it. I played with a 60-piece orchestra, what else could I have wished for?

On Thursday you’ll perform on X Factor: if you could go back, would you take part to a talent show?
I don’t think so… I feel like I’ve risen through the ranks, starting in a small role in the ensemble and then slowly building my way upwards. It took a while, it was hard, but I’m very proud of my path, so I’d do it all over again.

Could you see yourself as a talent show judge?
Not at all! I’d be too nice, I’d never have the heart to take down anyone. And being a performer myself I feel like I can’t really judge anyone, other than myself.Among this year’s judges there’s Mika: would you like to perform with him?If if were for me I’d duet with everyone! I love collaborations, whenever two artists work together to create something unique. On Thursday I’ll perform It Don’t Mean A Thing with quite a few backup dancers. It’s going to be a lively performance, hopefully I won’t run out of breath!

Let’s talk about Glee, the fifth season is airing both in the US and in Italy: if you could meet your character what would you tell him?
That he looks a lot like me! Jokes apart, I’d tell him “It’s been hard, but you’ve done a good job”. Will has been a source of inspiration not only for the characters of the series, but for so many kids who follow the show. He knows the importance of arts, especially in a time like this, when they are at risk of being forgotten. He’s an inspired teacher, and I can’t help but appreciate him.

What is in your opinion the X factor of a series like Glee?
The cast, without a doubt. Every actor is perfect for their part, and even if many characters are a bit stereotyped- Rachel is the dreamer who wants to be a star, Kurt is the bullied gay kid- each has a soul thanks to their wonderful performers.

Is there any common ground between X Factor and Glee, other than the music performances?
They’re both very eclectic shows. Thanks to the songs covers they explore different genres and different times. Both shows bring music to many generations: the younger can discover some classics, and the older one gets in touch with newer music.

Why does Mr Schue always wear a vest?
Will is probably the owner of the largest vest collection on Earth. Is it his uniform, or just an obsession?Good question! As an actor I just wear what I’m told to, so I’ve never really thought about ut… I think the authors wanted another target for Sue Sylvester, aside from the hair. Or maybe his vest is his superhero, or superteacher, costume! His cape.

What do you think you and Mr Schue have in common, and what is different? What did you learn from him?
We’re both optimistic people, and we both love the arts and try to defend and spread them. Among my dreams I’d want to open a performing arts school. The differences… well, I’d never dress like him, and I’d never let anyone tease me for my hair! I love my hair. What have I learnt from Will? Patience.

Any projects for the future?
Professionally, the album promotion is going to continue, then there’s season five and six of Glee. In regards to my private life… well, I’ll be getting married! And I’d like to become a dad. We’ll see!

Source: SkyUno

©English translation by Matthew-Morrison.net. Do not reproduce without express consent.

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Quotidiano.net

Milan, November 20 2013 – His idol is Gene Kelly, he can sing, act and dance, he loves 50s music, he likes X Factor but he’d never be a judge because “I’m too nice”. Who are we talking about? Matthew Morrison, the actor portraing Will Schuester on Glee, who will be a special guest tomorrow on X Factor (even if he candidly admits, “Mika? I don’t know him, I’m sorry.”)
He will perform It Don’t Mean A Thing and will be interviewed (about Italy, he says, “I love food, people, the kind of happiness you breathe here. You live in the best country in the world.”) About X Factor: “It’s a great chance for young people, even though I don’t think I’d have done it back when I was starting out. I did my experiences in small theaters and then on Broadway, I paid my dues. I could never be a judge, I’m too nice! I’d say ‘okay, cool’ to everyone.”What he shares with his character? “We’re both very passionate about the arts, and we’re both very optimistic.” Differences? “I don’t like the way he dresses, and I wouldn’t want people talking bad about my hair. I love it.” What quality does Schuester show that he’d like to have? “His patience.” The series has had some issues with the cast, what does he think about that? “The audience loved the original cast so much that it’s been hard to grow attached to the new kids.”Morrison’s career also lists a guest appearance on “Sex and the City”. How did it go? “I was a waiter, I just had to bring something to the table and leave. I was so nervous… Sarah Jessica Parker was very sweet and managed to make me feel at ease.”

Source ©English translation by Matthew-Morrison.net. Do not reproduce without express consent.

The hit Fox TV show “Glee” has brought actor Matthew Morrison a lot of attention in its five years, but never as much as in recent months, with the overdose death of star Cory Monteith in July, the Oct. 10 episode tribute to him, and co-creator Ryan Murphy’s revelation two weeks ago that next season will be the show’s last.

But Morrison is just as happy these days to focus on his burgeoning singing career, which includes the release of an album of show tunes and standards in June, an EP of Christmas songs due out Nov. 19, and a PBS concert that is being reworked as a holiday concert and begins airing Nov. 30.

On Saturday Nov. 2, Morrison comes to Bethlehem as the headliner for Zoellner Arts Center’s annual fundraising gala concert. He’ll perform Broadway and American songbook tunes, backed by an orchestra.

“I’m on the show all the time, so I love to get out when I can and do live concert, in front of a live audience, because that’s more of my thing,” Morrison says in a phone call from Los Angeles during a brief break in shooting the current season of “Glee,” which was delayed by Monteith’s death.

“Glee” has been on hiatus since the tribute episode and is scheduled to return Nov. 7.

“You know, my idol is Gene Kelly, so I kind of come from that idea of a classic song-and-dance man. So that’s very much what my live show entails. That’s where I get my thrills from. So this is my little opportunity to get away from ‘Glee’ for a little bit and do some singing and dancing.”

Morrison has played the role of McKinley High School teacher and glee club director Will Schuester since the pilot episode in May 2009.

In five seasons since, the show has become a cultural phenomenon, picking up 38 Emmy Award nominations — 19 in its first year alone — including one for Morrison as Best Actor in a Comedy Series. He also has had two Golden Globe nominations for the role and won a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Morrison, 35, started his career on Broadway, in the musical version of “Footloose” in the late 1990s. His big break came in the Broadway production of “Hairspray” in 2002. He received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for “The Light in the Piazza” in 2009.

He says that background is what led him to release his first album, a self-titled pop record, in 2011. It contained duets with Elton John, Sting and Gwyneth Paltrow, and broke Billboard’s Top 25. But Morrison says “it wasn’t, at the heart of it, totally me.”

“It was the first time I released an album and I really wanted to be part of the creative process,” he says. “I really wanted to go into it and write a lot of songs. [He co-wrote four of the disc’s 10 songs]. You know, I never really had much formal experience doing that before.

“But I was lucky enough to work with a lot of really, really renowned, amazing songwriters. So that really helped the process for me. I learned so much from it, and it was a great record. It was a fun record to make.”

He says the new disc, “Where It All Began,” is “the album I knew I wanted to make, even before that [first] album. … This one is just a little more authentic to myself.”

“I kind of grew up with standards and show tunes, and these are the songs I’ve been singing my whole life,” he says. “So I have a real connection and an affinity for these songs, and I love performing them.”

Some are obvious choices: “Singin’ in the Rain,” made famous by Gene Kelly; “The Lady is a Tramp”; “Send in the Clowns,” and a medley from “West Side Story.” Morrison also sings another duet, “Ease on Down the Road,” with Smokey Robinson.

Making the album even more special is the fact that it was produced by legendary producer Phil Ramone, who worked with Burt Bacharach, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Elton John, Paul McCartney and others. Ramone died in March, just after the album was finished.

“He was on the top of my list from the get-go for this album. And luckily, he said yes,” Morrison says.

“That was kind of all I needed to hear … just because of his incredible resume and the people he’s worked with. And it was such a great experience. It turned out to be a crazy experience, because he passed, making this his last living work that he did. So that album even means that much more to me.”

The disc also was the first released on Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine’s 222 Records label. Morrison says he and Levine are friends. “We would get together to talk about music, and I told him about the idea of what I want to do next, and he’s like, ‘I want to do that record for you.’

“And I thought he was joking, but then he kind of put his team in place, and we just … He’s like, ‘Let’s do this.’ And I was like, ‘OK, buddy.’ He’s an artist, so he knows how an artist should be treated, and he really was just in the studio a couple times but he was really hands off and let me just be in the studio with Phil and let me just create the album that we wanted to create.”

Source

Matthew Morrison: “Only love can overcome loss.”
POSTED ON Oct 04, 2013 BY Valentina INInterview

Season five of Glee arrives in Italy on September 27, only a day after its first airing in the US. Halfway between musical and comedy, the show keeps gaining fans and recognition all over the world. Cory Monteith’s sudden death, in July, cast a shadow on the whole series. The new season is set between Ohio and New York, with the Glee Club trying to gain another National championship and the adventures of the graduate kids at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts.”It’s been like losing a brother”, says Matthew Morrison, who plays Mr Schuester. Only three episodes of season five have been shot so far, the third one being a tribute to Cory. Then a hiatus, and the remaining episodes from November.Matthew, where does the new season pick up?So far, all the other seasons coincided with school years, but last season ended after half a year, so that’s where we’ll pick it up. It’s a difficult moment in Ohio, while things in New York are getting more and more interesting. Rachel is focusing all her energies on Broadway, and finally manages to sign a contract. We will get to meet the director of the show, and maybe a new love interest. As far as filming goes, we’re still all together in Los Angeles, still one big family.How does your character change this season?Schuester recently got married, so his personal life is more balanced, but his passion and will to bring his club to Nationals haven’t changed. There have been many changes in my character as in everyone else, because of the terrible loss we’ve gone through. It’s hard for everyone, we lean on each other for support. Filming those first three episodes has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it was like reliving it every day. At the end of the tribute episode, we were all in tears.How did the writers face such a difficult moment?They poured their hearts in the story, their attitude reminded me a lot of the first few episodes, that made people fall in love with Glee. There’s so much love in the tribute episode, I think it’s one of our best ever.What will happen in the story, after Finn’s death?I don’t know. We just finished the tribute episode and I don’t even have the new script. The writers took a break and I have no idea about the direction we’ll take, we’re still all trying to digest what happened.A question that you’ve surely been asked before: why do you think the audience keeps coming back after so many years?I think if you ask this to ten different people, you’ll have ten different answers. Everyone can identify with one of the characters, and we’re all underdogs in our own way. To me, the answer lays in music. Music is the universal language we all speak, and I think the success of the show is there. To me, music has changed its meaning throughout the years. As a young performer I tried my best to perfect my singing, but when you reach technical perfection and become a professional singer, I think your focus shifts more on the genre you want to be identified with. I have a singing career outside of Glee, I’ve released two albums; I love performing on stage, and the interaction with the audience.What do you and your character have in common?The passion Schuester has for teaching and for passing on the gift to others. It’s amazing how music can positively change someone’s life.You’ve been tied to the same character for so long. Do you feel like you lack anything in your professional life?I’ve managed to do many shows, have my own solo acts, amazing dance numbers, and Glee gives me so much that I don’t feel like there’s anything missing from my life. I’m a lucky man.

Source: La Repubblica

Exclusive Italian tranlation by Matthew-Morrison.net

‘Glee’ star shines at 2013 Equality Gala
POSTED ON Oct 04, 2013 BY Valentina INInterview

Singer-actor Matthew Morrison, known to millions of “Gleeks” around the world as Mr. Schuester on the Fox hit show “Glee,” has long been an advocate for gay rights, but even he was “blown away” to find out that Hawaii has yet to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.

Morrison, 34, a Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony nominee, was the guest of honor at the 2013 Equality Gala on Saturday, Sept. 21, presented by the Sheraton Waikiki at Aloha Tower Marketplace. The event was a fundraiser for the Equality Hawaii Foundation, dedicated to securing equality for Hawaii’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and a leader in the campaign to change the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

“This is a fight that I’m so passionate about,” Morrison told the crowd. “I come from the theater world, and so many of my friends are gay, are lesbian, that I had to be a straight ally and a voice for my friends.

“I thought that one of the 13 states to have marriage equality had to have been Hawaii, and I was so blown away to hear that you guys were still fighting the fight, and that made my trip over here more important.”

Morrison got a boost early in his musical career when he was tapped for the spotlight by no less than Don Ho. While visiting Hawaii in the mid-1990s with a group from
Orange County (Calif.) High School of the Arts, “he kind of picked me out of this whole singing group I was in,” Morrison told the Star-Advertiser.

For several summers after that, Morrison returned to the isles to sing backup for the legendary isle entertainer.

Another local connection is the ukulele. Morrison started playing the iconic instrument about three years ago. “It’s one of those things that’s in my trailer all the time, so on my downtime I try to play around with it,” he said.

Looking ahead to the new season of “Glee,” which premieres 8 p.m. Thursday featuring the music of The Beatles, Morrison said he has no idea what challenges await his character.

“The show is gearing more toward the kids, rightfully so, and a lot of my stuff has been, ‘This is the lesson for the week, kids.’ I get the scripts about a week in advance, and we’ve done three episodes so far,” Morrison said.

The third episode is a tribute to cast member Corey Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in July. Shooting the tribute was “incredibly hard. We mourned Corey in our own way, and now we have to mourn Finn, the character. We don’t say how he died; it’s just a memorial episode and it’s beautifully written.”

Looking back over the story lines that have made “Glee” must-see viewing for millions since it debuted in 2009, Morrison appreciates the show’s focus on social issues.

“I’m just so proud of what the show has done for bullying, for marriage equality, for teen pregnancy,” he said. “Just opening the door and opening the conversation up to households.”

Morrison, who co-starred in the Lincoln Center production of “South Pacific” with Hawaii’s Loretta Ables Sayre, put a Broadway standard in a fresh perspective when he serenaded the crowd Saturday with “We Kiss in a Shadow” from another Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “The King and I.” The song is a duet sung by a man and woman who are very much in love but whose love must remain hidden. Morrison suggested the lyrics about a secret and forbidden love could refer to closeted same-sex relationships as well.

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