Matthew Morrison has left Broadway for primetime. The Tony-nominated song and dance man stars in the hotly anticipated new Fox series Glee as the director of a high school glee club.
Created by Nip/Tuck helmer Ryan Murphy, Glee is sort of the dark side of High School Musical, where hardly anybody is perfect. Parade.com's Jeanne Wolf found out why Morrison is ready to go for ratings instead of ticket sales.
Still pinching himself.
"If I could have created a TV show for myself, this would have been it. So this is a dream job for me. It's great to see the crossover of Broadway on television. Actually, when I auditioned, I didn't try to belt out a big show-stopper. I came in and sang 'Over the Rainbow' accompanying myself on the ukulele. I guess it worked."
And so did rapping 'Gold Digger.'
"It was just this idea that I had and once I did it for the producers, they were so taken aback and blown away by it that they wanted it in the show. I will be rapping in future episodes as well. I actually grew up break dancing and doing hip-hop. I have definitely been influenced by Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre, not to mention Kanye West."
As for his upcoming debut album.
"It's sort of in the style of Michael Buble, or maybe you could call it Dean Martin-esque. It's just me and a big orchestra doing some standards and original songs. No rapping, unfortunately. Hopefully, I'm going to be working with David Foster to write some stuff."
Hey, he might have been the next Beckham.
"Actually, in high school I was a big soccer player, like on my way to the Olympic team, but I also loved performing. I did some musicals and children's theater and stuff. And there was a turning point. In my sophomore year of high school I had to choose between soccer or singing. I think I chose the right one but it was probably one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make."
Get ready for a wild ride.
"A lot of people have seen the pilot which has already been broadcast on Fox twice. We do go to some really dark places and there are episodes that are really uplifting. I feel like that's the great thing about the show. You really never know what to expect."
If you think Jon and Kate have problems.
"My wife on the series, played by Jessalyn Gilsig, is borderline criminal. She's totally self-centered and treating me like a doormat. I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what would make me stay. In fact, I do eventually leave, and that's kind of where the season wraps up, but there is a possibility of me going back. I mean this is my high school sweetheart, even though she's changed a lot."
And so has Josh Groban.
"Josh guest stars as himself and he doesn't even sing. He has this big bodyguard who is kind of protecting him because he's come back to the school to confront his old choir teacher who's writing him love poems and stuff on MySpace. It's wildly funny."
Speaking of the Internet.
"I kind of was into it and my Facebook page has 4000 people on it because I've gotten to that place where I didn't want to ignore people who I feel are my fans. I kind of started accepting everyone. Now I'm done. I'm so done with it, but it's been interesting."
Forget those Broadway audiences.
"We went to Comic-Con and 3,000 people showed up. It was like standing room only, just crazy loud people. They were like yelling at the screen. Jessalyn, who plays my wife, showed up and they were like shouting, 'Dump her!' It was really fun."
Mods, this interview was from a couple of weeks ago, but it contains some upcoming Glee spoilers, so it's relevant.