Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

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10 Facts about 2018 Pioneer Day Guest Matthew Morrison

The walls of the Conference Center won’t be able to contain all of the glee that will be emanating from within because song and dance man Matthew Morrison will be in the house. Along with Morrison, this year’s Pioneer Day concert will feature actress Laura Michelle Kelly and Oscar "Andy" Hammerstein III, grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II.

The Pioneer Day concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, at 8 p.m. in the Conference Center and will be conducted by music director Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, associate music director. 

Check out these 10 facts about Matthew Morrison:

1. He Went to High School with a Full House Star

Morrison and Jodie Sweetin, who played Stephanie Tanner on Full House and the Fuller House sequel, were in the same musical theater program at Orange County High School of the Arts.

2. He Was a Member of the Boyband LMNT

In 2001, Morrison was recruited for the boyband LMNT (Element), which he now calls “Lament.” He was only in the band for a short time and called his brief experience “the worst year of my life." Although he was born to sing and dance, he didn’t feel quite right in the group, once commenting that “there was no art in it.” 

3. His Dream Role in Glee Was Life-Changing

While performing in a Broadway revival of South Pacific, Morrison received a call about a TV music show called Glee. From 2009 to 2015, he played the role of Will Schuester, a high school Spanish teacher and coach of the school’s recently revived glee club, “New Directions.” Of the show’s effect on his life, Morrison was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “I am so proud of it! I could have been on a cop or lawyer show that hit, but Glee actually stood for something, legitimately meant more to real kids, like those I went to school with [at an arts high school].” He also told Parade magazine, “If I could have created a TV show for myself, this would have been it. So this is a dream job for me."

Watch a video of Morrison singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which was his audition song for Glee.

4. He Originated the Role of Link Larkin in Hairspray on Broadway

Although the role of Link Larkin in the 1988 musical film Hairspray was originated by actor Michael St. Gerard, Morrison originated the role on Broadway. Some of his other Broadway appearances include Finding Neverland, Footloose, Rocky Horror, The Rocky Horror Show, and South Pacific. 

5. He’s an Avid Runner

Morrison is heavily into fitness, and while going to the gym may not be his favorite thing, he puts in a lot of miles running each week. He told People magazine, “I probably only get to the gym about once a week, but I’m a big runner. I run about 40 miles every week. I just can’t run on a treadmill.”

6. He Had to Choose Between Soccer and Singing in High School

In addition to being the prom king and senior class president in high school, Morrison was a big soccer star. In his sophomore year, when he had to choose between pursuing singing or soccer, he chose singing. He explained, “I think I chose the right one, but it was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.”

7. He Loves to Cook

Morrison loves cooking and once said, “I make this mean chicken enchilada. Not too spicy, it’s just right. And I’m really into crockpotting right now. It’s like a slow cooker, so you put food in it in the morning, like stews, and it gets so soft and tender. But it’s great because you can put it in at some time in the morning and go to work all day and then you come home and your whole house just smells amazing.”

8. He Is a Recording Artist

In between filming and recording songs for Glee, Morrison somehow managed to record two full-length studio albums and a Christmas EP. In 2011, he released his self-titled debut Matthew Morrison, followed by Where It All Began and A Classic Christmas in 2013. His single, “Summer Rain,” from his debut album reached no. 16 on Billboard’s U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.

Watch Morrison sing and dance in his video “It Don’t Mean a Thing” from the album Where It All Began.

9. He Discovered His Love of Acting at Age 10

While he was staying in Arizona for the summer, his aunt and grandmother weren’t quite sure what to do with 10-year-old Morrison. They decided to enroll him in a theater camp, which was a turning point in his life. In an interview he recalled the experience, saying, “I was instantly hooked. I don’t think I would have stumbled on acting otherwise, especially since I was so into sports later in life, especially soccer. It’s so great to find your passion at a young age.” 

10. He Knows His Way Around Award Shows

Here’s an impressive list of the many awards that Matthew Morrison has earned:

2012, Screen Actors Guild Awards—Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Nominee
2005, Tony—Actor—Featured Role—Musical: Nominee
2009, Screen Actors Guild Awards—Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Winner
2009, Satellite Awards—Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical: Winner
2011, Golden Globe—Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series—Comedy or Musical: Nominee
2010, Screen Actors Guild Awards—Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Winner
2010, Emmy—Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
2010, Golden Globe—Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series—Musical or Comedy: Nominee
2011, Screen Actors Guild Awards—Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Nominee