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An Exclusive Post-Concert Chat with Glee's Matthew Morrison: 'It's Good to Be Home'

An Exclusive Post-Concert Chat with Glee's Matthew Morrison: 'It's Good to Be Home'
Matthew Morrison in concert at the Beacon Theatre
'I cannot wait' to get back to Broadway, declares Matthew Morrison.

“I’m in my infancy as a rock star,” Tony-nominated Broadway vet Matthew Morrison quipped after his August 1 concert at the Beacon Theatre, linked to the release his self-titled pop album. Backed by a rocking five-piece band and a trio of backup singers, the Glee star sang a mix of original songs and covers spanning five decades, from “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Great Balls of Fire” to “Mrs. Robinson” and “Gold Digger.” There was even a special treat for theater fans: a West Side Story medley accompanied by bongos, inspired by Sammy Davis Jr. (For's Photo Op of the event, click here.)

“It was very personal—a lot of songs that I love from the kind of people I grew up listening to,” Morrison said of the 90-minute concert during a post-show chat with “And my friends are involved, which means so much. My backup singers are people I went to high school with. It’s a family affair.”

Morrison prepped for his big NYC solo show on a month-long tour with the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block. “I only do a 35-minute set on the road,” he said, “but we’ve been gearing up for this hour-and-a-half set, and I’m so excited to do it here. It’s good to be home.” Boy-band fans shrieked when Morrison introduced surprise guest J.C. Chasez of ’NSYNC, who joined his pal to duet on “This I Promise You” and then sang “Don’t Stop Believing.”

A skilled dancer (as fans who saw him play Link Larkin in Hairspray know), Morrison ended the show with a tribute to three “triple-threats” who inspired him (Gene Kelly, Patrick Swayze and Michael Jackson), then returned for encores of “Let It Be/Hey Jude” and an unplugged version of “Over the Rainbow.” After the concert, he mused, “I always thought doing a Broadway show was so hard because you have to rest your voice and prepare to do your three numbers every night. Singing 18 songs a night requires a whole different stamina. It’s been a learning experience.”

Glee fans cheered as Morrison performed Mr. Schuester’s mash-up of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “Young Girl” (originally a duet with Lea Michele) and the ballad “Still Got Tonight” (from the second season finale). Morrison laughed when asked about Glee creator Ryan Murphy’s vow to give Mr. Schue more air time in the show’s third season. “Oh, he always says that! But I do believe him. The first season was great for me; I had a great storyline. The second season was more about the kids. Now it’s time to get back to the heart of the show: Mr. Schuester!” The playful banter continued as Morrison contemplated the romantic future of Will and Emma (Jayma Mays): “It’s time to make an honest woman out of her—or she’s going to make an honest man out of me.”

Of course, the big question for Broadway fans is whether this multitalented leading man could see himself doing eight shows a week again. “Yes, I can!” Morrison said. “I cannot wait. But it’s going to be a while until that happens. Glee is going to be running for a while, and we shoot 10 months out of the year, so I have no opportunity to do a show.”

Asked about Darren Criss’ forthcoming Broadway bow in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Morrison said, “He’s a very talented guy. He’s got his head on his shoulders, he’s a great performer and he’s got a good heart. He’s doing everything right. I have no advice for him.”

Meanwhile, the down-to-earth star seems to have relaxed into the fame that came with Glee. His gorgeous girlfriend Renee Puente was standing by in the Beacon Theatre green room alongside pals like Hairspray’s Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Morrison’s self-penned ballad “My Name,” featuring the chorus, “They smile, they came, but they don’t know my name,” already seems so last year. “That song doesn’t even make sense anymore,” he agreed with a smile. “I’m having fun, and people do know my name.”

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