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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

My evening with Matthew Morrison

Makayla Hernandez
Makayla Hernandez | The Observer
“An Evening with Matthew Morrison.” That’s all I knew, and it was enough to get me to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) last Friday night.If you aren’t familiar with Matthew Morrison, he’s a Broadway star, turned Glee teacher, turned cyber-bullying victim. I only knew him from his star role as Mr. Scheuster on “Glee,” and when I got the email from DPAC back in June that Mr. Schuester would be taking the stage, visions of inappropriate dance numbers, uncomfortable raps and edgy comments appeared in my head.One burning question remained: What is involved in an evening with Matthew Morrison?The world has been cyber-bullying this man for the past few years, so much so that I knew this was an event I had to see. From his performance in the recent televised “The Grinch Musical!” to some questionable scenes in “Glee,” there are so many pop culture references involving this man. The event was such a fever dream of an evening. Let’s set the stage.  

Matthew Morrison: Act 1, Scene 1

The DPAC stage is dimly lit. A lone man sits down and plays a groovy beat on the bongos. A cream fedora rests on an unused mic stand. A ukulele case and a cup of tea rest on a stool. The audience buzzes with anticipation. Out of the darkness emerges a man with briar patch, margarine-soaked curly hair.Matthew Morrison: “WHEN YOU’RE A JET, YOU’RE A JET ALL THE WAY…”A herd of hundreds of 18-year-old girls shriek. Brad the Piano Player sits down at the piano (no, I am not kidding).   Turns out an evening with Matthew Morrison is essentially a concert with interspersed personal monologues. He blended many of the major roles in his career into a set list, providing background and personal stories about each song. I was entirely unfamiliar with his Broadway career, but one of my favorite performances from the evening came from his breakout role in “The Light in the Piazza.” The song, “Il Mondo Era Vuoto,” is an operatic ballad that left me with goosebumps.Another standout performance was his duet with sophomore Claire Ann Santos; they sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” against a backdrop of soft multicolor lights, their voices blending together beautifully.The crowd insatiably demanded he perform the Glee classic “Gold Digger,” and they did not take no for an answer. Eventually, Morrison admitted that he did not remember all of the words, but with the help of a brave audience member, the crowd’s wishes were granted.After the show, my friends and I left the auditorium feeling different. Something about listening to young girls drool over a 42-year-old man with two kids for a couple hours changes a person. The atrium of DPAC was swarming with people chanting “WE WANT MATTHEW.” My friends and I were terrified by the sheer audacity of the crowd, and we made a quick escape. But then we began thinking, if we were Morrison, we would not dare walk through the insanity that awaited him in the atrium, and most of the time artists exit through a side door anyways. We decided it might be worth a shot to go wait outside to see if we could meet him.It worked!
The legend that he is, he granted the request of a fan/budding journalist for an interview. My question for him was, “Is this your first time on the Notre Dame campus?”His response, you ask? “It is not! You know what, it’s so funny. I actually dated two girls who went here. My high school sweetheart went here and then I dated another girl who went here as well. So I’ve been to this campus.”I went into the evening expecting to heckle and mock Will Schuester, but I left with a greater appreciation for Matthew Morrison. Not only was he an excellent performer, but he was also gracious and kind with his fans.