Photography by Brian Bowen Smith
Matthew Morrison, who shot to fame as show choir director of the fictitious William McKinley High School on the hit TV series “Glee,” will be back on campus in Orange County.
The Broadway veteran, who graduated from Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), will perform an evening of cabaret with his band March 4 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre on UC Irvine’s campus.
“I love coming to Orange County,” he says. “I get to invite all my old high school friends; it’s a real homecoming for me.”
Fans will hear music from “Glee” as well as his two CDs and many musical roles—from “Footloose,” his Broadway debut, to last year’s “Finding Neverland,” in which he played a swashbuckling J.M. Barrie, the author of “Peter Pan.”
“The Barclay show will be kind of a career retrospective, highlighting different shows that I’ve been part of, like ‘Hairspray,’ ‘South Pacific,’ and ‘The Light in the Piazza,’ and songs from ‘Glee’ and my albums.”
At age 11, Morrison moved to Orange County from Northern California. At Los Alamitos High School, which then housed OCSA, he went to regular classes until 1:30 p.m. and then headed to the then-condemned Oak Middle School, where “they opened up two rooms for us to hold all our drama, music, and dance classes.”
It was during those Los Al years that the future Emmy-, Tony-, and Golden Globe-nominated Morrison would develop talent and a natural ease with the limelight, serving as both senior class president and prom king. “The great thing about these cabaret concerts is that they get me up on stage and doing what I love to do most,” he says. “They’ve been a great lifeline for me. It’s such a joy to share music with an audience.” thebarclay.org
Originally printed in Premiere O.C. Fall/Winter 2016-2017 – from the Publishers of Orange Coast