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An Enchanted Evening with Matthew Morrison at the Cultural Trust’s Greer Cabaret


I remember when the Trust Cabaret series announced that Matthew Morrison would close out the 2023-24 season. As I exited Norm Lewis’ performance around this time last year, a massive poster with Morrisons’ picture adorned the lobby, accompanied by an announcement from Cabaret staff. I immediately thought of his role as Mr. Schuester from the television show Glee.

Matthew Morrison | ms-cas photo

Just a short year’s time later, I had the pleasure of returning to the Cabaret to see Morrison in the final show of this Cabaret’s season. Accompanied by Brad Ellis, Morrison did mention Glee in his relaxed, anecdotal audience addresses in between songs, but his performance repertoire showcased his immense talent, charisma, vocal range, and dancing ability. Morrison brings an impressive resume to the stage. He starred in several original Broadway productions, including Light in the PiazzaFinding NeverlandHairspray, and the revival of classics such as South Pacific. Morrison has also recorded several solo albums including, “Disney Dreamin’ with Matthew Morrison” and a self-titled debut album featuring duets with Elton John, Sting, and Gwyneth Paltrow. 

Morrison delved into his expansive catalog but opened the show with his self-proclaimed “go-to song,” the classic “On the Street Where You Live.” After welcoming the audience and declaring his adoration for Pittsburgh, Morrison grabbed his ukulele and also taught us that the proper pronunciation of the “u” in ukulele is “oo” and not a long “u” as many commonly say. With his ukulele in hand, Morrison dove into his Disney catalog with a delightful mashup of “Zip A Dee Doo Dah” and “Bear Necessities.” It was clear that Morrison was in his element and having a blast despite telling the audience he was up significantly past his typical bedtime. With two young children at home, Morrison noted several times that he chose to work less over the past six years to stay home and be a proactive father. 

His love for his family was evident through his genuine storytelling and visible as his wife, Renee Morrison, joined Matthew for several numbers. They told a heartfelt story about traveling to Egypt last year and being invited to perform in an ancient, sacred space. They were the first people to introduce music into this space. They sang the song they performed in Egypt, The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” The couple’s beautiful harmonies soared as their voices paired serendipitously. Still, I could not help but be emotionally touched by the profundity of being tasked with bringing music into a space for the first time. 

Renee went on to explain that she is a native Hawaiian, and the Morrisons paid homage to the island’s culture by also singing Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She also accompanied her husband on a lovely rendition of “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Morrison’s Disney album, originally from the Tarzan soundtrack.

Morrison chose the perfect word to describe his show – “eclectic,” which he also used to describe his brain. Between Disney songs, he serenaded audiences with Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and “Rocket Man,” both of which Elton sang with Morrison on his self-titled debut. Morrison tackled the incredibly well-known “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera. This was Morrison’s first time singing the classic Broadway song, and he said that the song has always made him feel a bit intimidated. Morrison did not seem intimidated as he dominated with a pitch-perfect vibrato, creating a well-known song anew. He breezed through other timeless tunes including Judy Collins’ “Send in the Clowns,” “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific, Jimmy Durante’s “Smile” and even Sean Mendes’ “Lost in Japan” as an ode to his time recently spent in Japan staring in a revival of Chicago. Morrison rounded out his set with a passionate performance from Finding Neverland, which proved to be a crowd favorite. 

Morrison returned for an encore and modestly admitted he was out of songs to perform. After fluidly engaging with the audience all night, Morrison looked to the crowd again, but this time for requests. Several suggestions were offered, but Morrison and Ellis settled on an impromptu medley from Hairspray in which Morrison originated the role of Link Larkin on Broadway. Morrison left it all on the table with this encore. He remembered about 95% of the words in a six-song mashup of the hit show. Fans sang along, clapped, kept time, and even helped with some of the words. We were this leading man’s ensemble for a brief moment in time. A moment that personifies what makes theater and live entertainment special. None of us, not even Morrison, anticipated this encore at the end of the night, but he indeed offered ‘an enchanted evening’ with his chosen ‘music of the night.’ 

Learn about the newly announced 2024/25 Greer Cabaret Season here: