After canceling the 2020-2021 Presenting Series due to COVID-19, the center is excited to welcome our first Presenting Series artist to the stage in over a year. Matthew Morrison, Broadway veteran and actor on the hit show Glee, will offer a night of sophisticated songs from his album, Broadway, and more. His energy and talent are sure to make for an unforgettable opening night! We asked Matthew Morrison a variety of questions about himself and his career during the past year.
How did you adapt during the pandemic?
Matthew: When the industry (and the world) seemed to shut down due to the pandemic, I knew it would be important to find new ways for my family and I to stay productive. My son inspired me to find new ways to connect with him and my wife through music and art. We are a very musical family and I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano that lives in our family room. It’s been a great challenge, but I’m very happy with the progress and how it brings us together as a family … although I still prefer my ukulele! Through a friend, I also was able to get into craftsmanship, specifically woodworking. New hobbies turned into some fond memories.
What are you most looking forward to about performing for live audiences?
Matthew: There’s an unspoken energy that a performer gets from a live audience that you can’t get from a livestream, or even a job on set. I most look forward to experiencing that again. For the duration of the show, we (the audience and I) have such a personal connection, and I never take that for granted.
How do you prepare before a show?
Matthew: Each show is an opportunity to connect with people, so in preparation for that, there’s a lot of thought that goes into the show’s format. My Music Director and I will commit to a setlist, and from there, I will interweave an appropriate storyline that bridges each song together. I want to make sure there’s a direct correlation between the songs I perform and how each represents a part of my life. It’s a chance for the audience to learn a bit more about me from a personal perspective.
You’re what’s referred to as a triple threat in the performing arts world. Between singing, dancing, and acting, which has come most naturally to you in your career? Most difficult?
Matthew: Thank you for that title! Although I love to perform each of those art forms interchangeably, I believe dance may be the most universal. Even when I’m performing in various non-English speaking countries, I get such a great response during my dance numbers. The fact that dancing is expressed by the entire body allows me to bring a unique presentation to the stage through movement. A big inspiration of mine was Gene Kelly, I just loved how he was able to bring such a progressive dance element to every one of his performances.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring artists?
Matthew: Accept that failure is a necessary part of finding your success and that every person has [their] unique path to take. Take risks, adopt challenges to overcome, and put yourself out there.
Many thanks to Matthew Morrison for his thoughtful answers, and for the exceptional talent and fun he will bring to the Leighton Concert Hall stage. Don’t forget to grab your tickets for An Evening with Matthew Morrison on September 24 at 7:30 p.m.