Matthew Morrison reflects on 'Glee's' success before his concert tour kicks off
No, we mean literally. As in: He's on-set, filming a comedy short set in a courtroom; and the story line is a hoot. It involves the wrap-up of a trial, and Morrison’s character is belting out a deep, bellowing, gospel-like verdict to a jury that’s beginning to sweat profusely. Did we mention it’s about 100 degrees in here?
The “Glee” star is filming a series of comedy shorts to be shown both on funnyordie.com and during his upcoming summer concert tour. His debut solo album, which includes duets with Gwyneth Paltrow and Elton John, comes out May 10.
Its sound? Decidedly “eclectic,” Morrison says. “I didn’t want to have a sound that was a certain thing. Singer-songwriter stuff, a little hip hop, there’s a lot in there.”
Morrison says his upcoming concert, in conjunction with VH1 Save The Music Foundation, pulls its aesthetic from the '40s, '50s and '60s and will have an old-school showmanship quality to it in the vein of Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. The tour will take Morrison to 22 cities in about as many days, a punishing schedule. Hence, the need for comedy shorts, of course, to entertain the audience while providing the performer with built-in breaks during the show.
Which brings us back to the courtroom.
Now sidled up to the only air conditioning vent in the room, flapping his shirt collar to cool his neck, Morrison reflects on “Glee’s” near-torrential success. Before Morrison’s multicity concert tour, before Darren Criss and the Warblers, before the Glee tour and before Chris Colfer had a movie in preproduction and a Disney series in development, things were, well, simpler.
“It’s a tough thing,” Morrison says. “I really enjoyed the struggle of being an actor. There’s something about having big dreams and going after them. Once you reach a certain kind of success there’s a toll to maintain that success; and there’s a lot more expectations. It’s hard.”
When he first started “Glee,” Morrison says, he modeled his character, Mr. Schuester, after “the inspirational teacher that you always wish you had, that you can go to with any problem.” When the show first starting shooting Morrison fulfilled that role for many of his much younger castmates, he says. Now? Not so much. “Everyone’s in their own zone now, and has their own thing going on. Movies and stuff,” he says.
The price of fame and fortune.
“You know, none of us have experienced this kind of notoriety before,” Morrison says. “But we’ve gone through it as a family and we keep each other grounded and in check.”
And with that, he’s back on set and crooning to the jury.
Photo: Matthew Morrison performs at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation's "2011 Taste for a Cure" at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel last week. Credit: David Livingston / Getty Images