Broadway audiences have known about Matthew Morrison’s sweet tenor for some time now, thanks to leading roles in hit musicals like Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, and South Pacific, but the (yes, straight) actor has gained a whole new fan base of screaming girls (and boys) thanks to his central role as put-upon Spanish teacher Will Schuester on Glee. In the back-nine episodes of the show, Morrison says, we’ll see a new side of the seemingly naïve and wholesome Mr. Schue, starting with tonight’s much-vaunted all-Madonna episode. Morrison spoke to us from L.A. about who he will and will not be singing with going forward, why he still loves Broadway (but screw those In the Heights guys!), and answered quite a few of our commenters questions.
You must be having a good week: Madonna just said “I think Mr. Schuester is very cute.”
She said that? I did not know that. Well, she likes her younger guys, doesn’t she?
This past week’s episode was a big one that seemed to divide fans on the Will-Emma relationship. Some seem to identify as “Wemma-shippers,” while others are glad to see the romance put on ice for the moment.
Wow, I’ve heard either Wemma or Wilma, but I’ve never heard the “shippers” at the end. Well, it’s gonna be a little bit of a tumultuous couple of episodes for Will. He’s confused, you know? When you’re newly single, you have to redefine yourself again. Yeah — he doesn’t make … very good decisions at certain points. But that’s what I love about Will — he’s definitely flawed. I guess in the first thirteen episodes he’s built up to be the hero, happy-go-lucky, nothing can faze him even when he’s up against the ropes, but I like that his human side is shown a bit more now. Personally, I think he needs to be alone for a little bit. He’s been with the same person for fifteen years, and now he’s realizing he’s kind of going from one crazy to another crazy.
Everyone’s waiting for a Will-Emma duet. Will we be getting one?
Stay tuned for Tuesday!
And will you and Idina Menzel get to sing together at all?
Uh, no. I’m all right with that. I don’t need to sing with everyone.
I’ve been a little disappointed that Will never gets back at Sue for all her hair jokes. Will we see that soon?
Will gets a little bit of redemption in the Madonna episode and kind of relishes it. You’re going to see Will fight back a lot. He has more of a backbone this second half of the season. He’s such a nice guy, and she wants to see his lifeless body falling into the bottom of a lake, but I want nothing but the best for Sue. I think she’s misguided and somewhere down the road messed things up. So I wish no ill will on Sue.
You’re in an interesting place in your career now: How do you feel about Broadway versus TV?
You know what, a lot of actors in New York that I’ve worked with along the way have said, “You gotta go to L.A.; TV’s so easy, that’s where it’s at,” and I get here, and [laughs], I think it’s just this show, it’s such a beast! It’s constant rehearsal; I’m in almost every scene, and when we’re not filming we’re in dance rehearsals or the studio. It’s been so hard. And it’s a great learning process, but honestly, I’m more fulfilled on Broadway. You have that three hours, and you’re telling a consecutive story, with no cuts to it, and you have to just kind of go. If you mess up, you have to figure out a way to get back on track, and at the end of the experience in the theater, you really share that with the audience. TV, I don’t know, this whole season has felt like one big episode, and it’s a little weird. But more people have seen the pilot of Glee than my entire ten-year career on Broadway. Still, I think I like to work better onstage.
You’ve revealed two extra talents on the show: your dance and rapping skills. Where do those come from?
I actually grew up break-dancing. When you break-dance you listen to hip-hop and rap, so I’ve been listening to that music since I was a kid. When I do those break-dancing moves — I actually call it “broke-dancing” now. As I get older, the day after I do stuff like that, my body’s like, “Oooh, what are you doing?” I feel like I have maybe two years left of that kinda stuff. I don’t know if you saw the Oprah Winfrey Show …
I did. Your dance-off with Other Asian was amazing.
Yeah, I did that and then my back was killing me the next day. But I love it; my first introduction to the arts was through dance, so I’m a dancer before anything else. Jane Lynch and I were buddies before, but we really bonded over the swing-dancing. That was a blast.
Several commenters have expressed a serious interest in whether or not we will see more shirtless Mr. Schue, and in what your feelings are on a hairy chest versus shaving one’s chest. Please elaborate.
I don’t think we’re seeing any more shirtless scenes this season. Actually I know that. But I just did this Vogue photo shoot; the first week of shooting I had to fly to St. Barts, and when you see June’s Vogue you will see a lot of shirtless Matt Morrison. And I had to shave for that. But my hair grows back fast, so it’s all back now. We’re going to see a different style with Will Schuester now, though. He got done with Terri and went to Barneys, apparently. But it’s more of a Gene Kelly look now, which I like: the khaki pants rolled up at the bottom, with some like, collared shirts, but rolled up a little more, so you see more bicep, more arm.
And who doesn’t like more arm! Moving on: Commenter Blusoup mentions your long work days, and would like to know what you do to “De-Glee” at the end of the day.
Headstands. Seriously. Right before I leave my trailer, I’ll just for like, thirty seconds do a headstand, and all the blood rushes to my head. I don’t do it every day, but at the end of South Pacific, a really intense show, I would do a headstand, and it just clears everything away. You’re kind of rejuvenated.
Lauren9218 wonders if you think it creepy that Mr. Shue made out with someone who looks exactly like Rachel in last week’s episode?
[Laughs.] I guess I see a little bit of a resemblance? I don’t know, that’s an interesting question. I don’t think he saw it that way. At all. At all. I don’t think he’d ever kiss her.
CManning123 loved you in the In the Heights spoof “Legally Brown,” and wants to know, after your success on Glee, would you still want the role of the Piragua Guy?
No, honestly? No. They didn’t want me for their show? Screw them! I don’t want that! But seriously, that was so much fun. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a good buddy of mine, and he asked me if I’d do it, and I love doing stuff like that. I’ve always been the guy who will do anything for a joke, and I feel like I can do that less now — it’s been a weird year in the sense that there’s more of an eye on me, so I feel a little inhibited now. Like I can’t be crazy if I want to, you know?
Commenter Freelancer wants to know, who are your personal musical influences? And further to that, AnnieinNY wants to know what song you would want to sing that hasn’t been covered yet. She would also like to know if you would marry her.
Ummm. Let’s do the third part first: No, I’m not looking to get married right now. So, thank you and no thank you. The song I’d like to do on the show would be Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida.” I like that song a lot; I think it would be a good big song with the kids. Growing up I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson, James Taylor, and right now my favorite artists are this guy Michael Buble — oh no, no wait, sorry, I did not mean to say that! Marc Broussard! And this guy Amos Lee. Really good singer-songwriters.
Like_Shootin_Fish_in_a_Barrel is curious as to how much product you actually do use in your hair? Also, how do you keep a straight face when Jane Lynch says her hilarious lines to you?
Let’s dispel this hair rumor right now. They use a lot of jokes about my hair in the show — that’s all natural juices and berries, people! Come on now! This ain’t no ultraperm. Honestly, I use two squirts of Lubriderm every day. Like the skin lotion. And yes, I do break. I’ve worked with a lot of great actors, and it doesn’t matter how good you are when Jane Lynch is two inches from your face … The scenes we do in Principal Figgins’s office, they let us do a couple takes scripted and then they just let us go. The first time I did it with Jane, I was nervous, because she’s so good at [improv], and kind of an icon in that sense. But she’s really made me have to raise my bar of expectations for myself. And she’ll break me every now and then. Sometimes I try to laugh and get it out of my system in the rehearsal before hand.
Finally, commenter Montparnasse wants to know your thoughts on how the male characters are depicted as having to navigate the craziness of the female characters?
Well, for me in particular, I think I’m the character on the show who has his foot in reality — I’m kind of the center of the show, and having my foot in reality makes you buy that everyone else can be a little off and a little crazy. But yeah, we do get picked on a lot. And actually in the Madonna episode, you’ll see that now the boys are disrespecting the girls, that they’re kind of over the girls. So there’s a lot about being nicer and respecting the girls a bit more, in this episode and the one after that. I can’t wait for you to watch these episodes, they’re awesome!