Matthew Morrison Wraps Cabaret Run With Another Cory Monteith Tribute

Beneath the bright spotlight on the small stage of 54 Below, Matthew Morrison began his final cabaret show the same way he had the first: by paying heartfelt homage to Cory Monteith, his Glee costar who unexpectedly passed away on Saturday.

“This week has been an interesting one for me. I lost a good friend of mine, Cory Monteith,” Morrison said solemnly to a sold-out crowd at the intimate New York City venue on Wednesday evening. “He was like a brother to me …. So, I’m going to start the show tonight with a song for Cory.”

Morrison filled the room with a moving, a capella rendition of “What I Did for Love,” a song from the musical A Chorus Line that Monteith’s girlfriend Lea Michele performed on the second season of Glee.

Then he dove into a set of show tunes and standards — from “Luck Be a Lady” from Guys and Dolls, to “On The Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady, to Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” — keeping the audience completely spellbound with his smooth vocals, suave dance steps and stellar showmanship, all backed up by a band including Brad Ellis, the piano player on Glee (who was also Morrison’s childhood camp counselor).

While the man of the hour sparkled with songs like “Singin’ in the Rain” — “one of my favorite[s],” he said — he turned somber at times, most of all with his performance “Send in the Clowns,” which left him wiping his watery eyes.

Throughout the set, which drew on his latest album, Where It All Began, Morrison effused about his experience on Glee, in which he plays the beloved Glee club coach Will Schuester.

“I’m not actually a high school teacher in real life. In real life, I’m not the kind of guy who hangs around high schools,” he said, sparking laughter among his showgoers. “In real life, I’m the kind of guy who hangs around places like this. But one of the best things about the past four years is I’ve gotten to sing some of the best show tunes on global television.”

That’s what Morrison will continue to do once the Fox musical-comedy returns for its fifth season this fall. But for now, filming is reportedly on hiatus, as fans, friends and the entire Glee family continue to mourn the tragic loss of Monteith.