Fact and fiction collide as ‘Glee’ actor Matthew Morrison (aka Mr Schue) plans to open performing arts schools for talented kids

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

US star tells Adam Sherwin he hopes to open a global network of schools to train tomorrow’s talent

As the irrepressible “Mr Schue”, Matthew Morrison inspires the talented students of McKinley High School to live out their musical dreams on stage.

Now the Glee actor is hoping to launch his own international network of performing arts schools to combat cuts in music provision which he fears could prevent a generation of youngsters from achieving their potential.

The hit US series Glee, in which a gaggle of precocious students perform spectacular reinventions of classic songs under the tutelage of Morrison’s character Will Schuester, has encouraged a generation of teenagers to form their own choral societies.

But the Tony and Golden Globe-nominated star, 34, has disclosed his plan to create real-life “Glee schools”.  “My focus is on arts education. I’m trying to create an accredited school programme that would go nationwide and hopefully global eventually,” he said. “It’s kind of modelled after the performing arts school I went to [New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts]. It would be great to have one in London. It’s something I’d like to talk to Andrew Lloyd Webber about.”

In the latest series of Glee, now shown on Sky, Mr Schuester goes to Washington to lobby politicians on the importance of arts education. It is a passion which drives the actor in real life. “I don’t know why music is the first thing to get cut,” said Morrison, who spoke to students at Highbury Grove School in north London during his visit to the capital this week.

“I am the product of a public arts education and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t found that passion at a young age. I think it’s a shame and a travesty to cut that stuff.”

Morrison is working on “an accredited programme”. “You’d have to keep up the grades to be involved,” he said. “It would have a big element of under-privileged kids, I think that’s important. It’s also been proven that music helps you in science and maths.”

Morrison’s classes will teach aspirants how to deliver a tune, an endangered skill. “There’s something about storytelling that’s been lost in music,” he said. “A lot of people go on talent shows and even though they can be great singers, it’s more about vocal acrobatics – let’s go to the circus. They should be worried about ‘what am I singing about? What is the meaning of this song?’ When I’m on stage I go into a different character almost for every song, and treat it like a monologue. I feel like I’m really acting these songs. I feel that’s been lost a little bit.”  Morrison, who was born in California, built his career on the New York stage and is using a hiatus during Glee to  release an album of show tunes and Broadway standards, Where It All Began. Its swinging interpretations of “Singin’ In The Rain” and a duet with Smokey Robinson are designed to bring the songs a new audience.

But the actor, whose  big break was starring in Hairspray on Broadway, fears the overnight sensations created through talent shows like The Voice UK, which reaches its climax tonight, lack the chops to build a career. “Those shows make it look so easy,” he said. “A lot of people on them like singing but they want to be stars. They’re in it for the wrong reasons.

“What scares me about these shows is that a lot of people aren’t properly trained so they’re wrecking their voices because they don’t know how to sing properly. There’s something about paying your dues and going through rejection. I was very excited when I got a Broadway role where my character actually had a name. Now I’m on a global TV show and I’m a lot more recognisable, but I think that I’ve earned it.”

Morrison is proud Glee has placed issues like teenage homosexuality and bullying at the heart of a network drama. He has become a vocal advocate for gay rights, and wishes more of straight actors like him would raise their voices too. “I just think it’s ridiculous that a loving and committed gay or lesbian couple can’t get married just because they’re different. The case is more impactful when it comes from a straight person because the people you’re trying to persuade may not buy into it when they see a gay person talking.”

Morrison, who hopes to settle down with his model girlfriend Renee Puente, said that even among his generation of actors, “there’s still a lot of people who are afraid to come out.”

Glee, a hit from its 2009 launch, has been picked up for two more seasons, with Morrison tied in for the option of a seventh year. “I have missed opportunities to do some films,” admits the actor who starred alongside Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez in the recent film What To Expect When You’re Expecting. “But it’s a lot of actors’ dream of getting steady employment like this. I’m not complaining.”

Morrison says that when Glee does end he will return to the stage, with a West End debut top of his wish-list. “I’m trying to find the right project and the West End is being talked about right now. Willy Wonka? [in Sam Mendes’s new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical]. Gosh what a great role. I can’t wait to see it. I’ll have a word with Sam.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone