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‘Glee’ star sings praise of Broadway, co-stars


Matthew Morrison, the man who’s been inspiring musically inclined outcasts with his catch-phrases and whiteboard on “Glee” since 2009, recently headlined the Washington Performing Arts Society’s annual gala.

“Mr. Schue” also has a new album, “Where It All Began,” coming out June 4; he’s the first artist on “The Voice” judge Adam Levine’s new label, 222 Records.

“Where It All Began” is Morrison singing covers of his favorite Broadway standards.

“It’s with a full orchestra,” he said by phone from Los Angeles before the Washington gig. “I’m singing some great Broadway standards that I kind of grew up singing. This is the kind of music that I love.”

Morrison also talked about his gig on “Glee,” his Broadway past, and how this whole singing-’n’-dancing thing he’s doing now was actually a total accident.

•Retro romantic: “I released my (self-titled) first album last year, and it had a pop sensibility to it, but this album is the album I wanted to make before even that one. I’ve always loved these songs – that’s the world that I came from, the Broadway world. … My favorite song to sing is probably ‘On the Street Where You Live,’ from ‘My Fair Lady.’ And my favorite song to perform is a ‘West Side Story’ medley; it’s a mash-up of six ’West Side Story’ songs. I really love to sing, dance, perform. … I wanted a Gene Kelly flair to what I’m trying to do.”

•Family matters: “It was really by a fluke (that I started performing). I spent the summer in fifth grade with my grandmother in Arizona … and they put me and my cousin into a children’s theater program. And I just fell in love with it.”

•On going pro: “I think it was when I was in high school, when I was trying to decide what college I was going to go to. Because I had several opportunities – I was a big soccer player – to play soccer for different colleges. But my Mr. Schue, a mentor, he actually steered me in this direction. He said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of people go through this school, and you have something very special.’ ”

•Teenage dream: “I got my first Broadway show when I was 19. I was the white break-dancer in ‘Footloose.’ … I’m so happy how it happened.”

•Feeling a little rusty: “I don’t have any musical numbers (on ‘Glee’) nowadays, so I probably sing maybe twice a month. Which isn’t much at all! I’m used to singing eight shows a week on Broadway.”

•Off-camera clique-ing: “I think a lot of them (the actors who play students) still think of me as their teacher, as a mentor to them, because that is the parameters of how we started the show. So I think there’s always going to be that distinction between us. I do tend to hang out with the people who play adults on the show. Jane Lynch is probably my best friend on the show, and Jayma Mays (who plays Mr. Schue’s main squeeze). Jane plays a complete witch of a crazy woman, (but) she is probably the sweetest woman you’ll ever meet.”