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Matthew Morrison Plans Return to the Stage in 'Finding Neverland'

Matthew Morrison
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Matthew Morrison

The "Glee" star will play the lead role of "Peter Pan" author J.M. Barrie in a developmental workshop of the long-gestating musical, produced by The Weinstein Co.

NEW YORK -- After a prolonged absence from musical theater during his five-season run on Fox's Glee, Matthew Morrison is slated to return to the stage in Finding Neverland, the first major theater project spearheaded by Harvey Weinstein.

According to an unconfirmed report in The New York Times, Morrison has been cast as Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in an upcoming developmental workshop of the musical, adapted from the 2004 Miramax release of the same name that starred Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.

The show traces the story of Barrie's friendship with a woman and four fatherless children who inspired his classic tale about the boy who refused to grow up.

If the workshop is successful, the Times story states that the production's planned trajectory is to start with an out-of-town tryout in late summer at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. It will then transfer to London next winter and from there to Broadway during the 2015-16 season.

The show world-premiered in Leicester, England, in fall 2012 to tepid reviews in a production staged by Rob Ashford, with an original score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens). Barrie was played in that run by Julian Ovenden, who has since joined the cast of Downton Abbey.

Weinstein last June overhauled the original team, bringing in Diane Paulus to direct, and Gary Barlow, of 1990s boy band Take That, to pen additional songs. Playwright James Graham was also brought on board to work on Allan Knee's script, which was based on his play.

Paulus is artistic director of ART and director of the recent Broadway revivals of Hair, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and Pippin, all three of which won Tony Awards in their respective years as best musical revival. In addition, Paulus won her first Tony for best direction of a musical in 2013 for Pippin.

Morrison made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of the 1998 musical Footloose, before moving up to starring roles in Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific. He was nominated for a Tony in 2005 for The Light in the Piazza.