Happy birthday, Mr. Schuester! Yep: Today is Glee star Matthew Morrison’s 33rd birthday. We’d sing “Happy Birthday” to him, but something tells me he might be better off not hearing that. So instead, we’ve assembled a Matthew-Through-the-Ages retrospective, so he can take a look back on his career and how far he’s come since those early days at NYU. Ready for some hard-core musical theatre? Here we go!
Zac Efron may have taken over the role of heartthrob Link Larkin in the movie (a movie of a musical that was based off of a movie? How meta!), but Matthew Morrison originated the role in the 2003 Broadway production of Hairspray. In fact, this one was his big break. Catch him rocking out and dancing up a storm with Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy Turnblad in their performance at the Tony Awards. Dreamy!
The Light in the Piazza
Matthew landed a Tony nomination for his work in Adam Guetell’s musical The Light in the Piazza in 2005. Set against the backdrop of Florence and Rome in 1953, the musical told the story of Matthew’s Fabrizio Naccarelli, a young Italian man who falls in love with the damaged Clara Johnson, played by Broadway regular Kelli O’Hara. I was lucky enough to see this one during its original run at Lincoln Center, and believe you me, it’s achingly beautiful. Here’s the charming Act I number, “La Passeggiata.”
Once Upon a Mattress
You know what sucks? Finding out your girlfriend is pregnant, but not being able to marry her unless the lame-ass prince of the land you live in gets married first. That’s exactly what happened to Matthew when he played Sir Harry in the star-studded 2005 television production of the classic Once Upon a Mattress. And guess who played Sir Harry’s pregnant girlfriend, Lady Larkin? Zooey Deschanel. Small world! Here they are crooning “In a Little While” at each other.
While we’re on the subject of classic musical theatre, let’s take a look at the 2008 Broadway revival of South Pacific, shall we? Matthew found himself back on the stage of Lincoln Center’s Vivien Beaumont Theatre– the same venue in which he played The Light in the Piazza– as the ill-fated Lieutenant Cable. But gee, doesn’t he look pretty shirtless? Oh, and he sounds nice, too. Watch him romance South Pacific native Liat during this World War II tale with the lovely “Younger Than Springtime.”