Meet a Dad: Jeremy Morse, the Duke of Weselton in Frozen, the Broadway Musical | Greater Lansing Area Moms

GLAMoms had a rare opportunity to speak with a cast member from the hit Disney Musical, Frozen. Unlike the scheming, short tempered miser Duke of Weselton he plays on stage, Jeremy Morse is funny, humble and kind – and get this – the only parent in the entire Frozen company!

GLAMoms is putting a spin on our Monday Meet a Mom feature and sharing this hilarious and wildly talented DAD!  Learn more about Jeremy, his wife Alex and their sweet baby girl, Clementine.  Jeremy shares some new-dad stories, the Find Your Funny program he and his wife started during COVID and a glimpse of his days as he and his family travels with the Frozen the Broadway Musical production.

Frozen the Musical begins at the Wharton Center this week and runs through February 6!  

Welcome to Greater Lansing Area Moms, Jeremy! 😊

Where did you grow up?
Grew up in Havertown – about 10 miles from Philadelphia.  My parents actually still live in the same house where I was raised.  

What was your childhood like? 
I had a great childhood, a fun childhood.  I love the neighborhood and community I grew up in, there is a group of us – the Myrtle friends club (myrtle like as in the tree) – lots of fun!

When did you know you would be an actor?
I was always singing and my mom will tell the story that at the age of about 3,  I demanded that everyone go around the house singing HiHo from Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs and everyone had their own hammer and I insisted upon it even in the middle of the night.  Like we are waking up and we are doing this NOW.  I think at a young age is when the seed was originally planted.  

My mom was not at all surprised and she was incredibly supportive  – just amazing.  I was scared, and she was like – you are doing this, you are good at this, you love this.  I was – am – so fortunate to have both of my parents tell me that you are going to do this because you are good at it and to have that support even when I was afraid. 

How did you and your wife meet? 
We were at a New Years Eve party 2014-2015 and she came over and I handed her champagne.  We talked for 3 hours, on what was at the time was my futon, which is not an adult piece of furniture for us now.  We chatted and then I was persistent and about 2 weeks later we started dating.  

It was very clear we were in love and meant to be together.  I knew.  It was the most clarity I had ever had in my life.

Would you share some tips on keeping your relationship strong while you are on tour?
Currently we see each other all of the time she is on tour with me – she is an actress as well – she is not in the show… yet!  We always want that to happen.  Right now with a 4 month old we are getting our footing and the whole traveling with our child as well. 

Currently she is in AirBNB, apartment or wherever we are staying during performances.  With COVID it is more difficult to explore the cities visited.  We are being very conservative about going out, especially with the Omicron wave.  We are hoping that abates and we can go back to restaurants and bars as the tour progresses. 

It is tough.  It is isolating.  

Speaking of Covid, we have heard several Broadway shows have to cancel or reschedule shows. How is Disney working to keep the cast members and crew safe during the Omicron wave?
Disney has been awesome about keeping us SO safe at the theatre.  They are putting in every effort to mitigate the spread.  This includes daily testing, mandatory vaccine mandates for all members of the company as well as required PPE. We all wear KN95 masks; there is air filtration, it really is above and beyond.  Literally the safest place I feel anyone could be is to be – the backstage of the theatre.  

What is your Pre Show routine? 
Pre Show routine.  Some stretching.  Being 35, my body does not spring back as it did and my back hurts from having a baby (laughs), well carrying a baby.   

It is some maintenance and a little vocal warm up and usually going around and saying hi to people and checking in with my good buddies and friends backstage.  

I do not go on until about 20 minutes into the show so I get a little bit of a break.

I am also getting my MBA, and taking my last class right now.  This is also part of my pre show/during show ritual – where I will be in Microsoft Excel cleaning documents and verifying data and whatever I need to do for my current class.

I am slightly busy and after this class I will be finished and look forward to it being off my plate!  

What are some must haves while you travel to make it feel more like home? 
Must haves while we travel.  Oh my goodness we have so many now, pillows, good pillows, with a baby we have her toys and play gym and all the fixings.  We have Casper pillows and we love them and just to have that sort of consistency is amazing.  

We are cooking a lot and it is fun.  We are definitely in an oatmeal phase.  I love making oatmeal in the morning and sauteing a banana and some peanut butter, adding some nice berries – we are definitely into that.

We also started a new vegan delivery subscription where you make the meals called Purple Carrot.  We have been  exploring that for a couple weeks; we will also be using the Purple Carrot meal subscription while in Lansing.

***Not to be confused with the Purple Carrot food truck and Red Haven.  GLAMoms suggested and he jotted down Red Haven.  “Going to have to get some food from there…”

Tell us more about Find your Funny! If a child is interested in acting, what steps do you recommend to fulfill that dream?
Oh, thank you for asking.  First a little bit of the back story that led to the idea. 

My wife and I were both in the show Waitress.  It came through and played at the Wharton Center – I think it was 2018.  In Waitress,  they always cast 2 young girls, like 5 or 6 year olds, locally in the show.  

I probably went to 70 cities over the course of 2 years and we met a LOT of young aspiring actresses.   A bunch of them reached out during the pandemic asking if we offered any online classes.  They were looking for virtual classes for kids,-Improv acting classes.  So we started with that!

We had so much interest and we decided we are going to do this and make Find Your Funny our pandemic venture.  We started teaching improv classes to kids aged 6-9 and then expanded to 9-12, then 12-14 then 14-18.  At our peak, probably a little over 40 kids and 7 classes a week; which was a lot and so fun and so incredible. 

Our classes are all based in yes and improv, short form – basically learning the building blocks of how to create a scene from scratch while also having fun and getting out of your head and getting out of your own way, be brave, and in a Zoom improv class setting.  

It has been really fun and very rewarding.  We have gotten so much awesome positive feedback from parents-such as their kids coming out of their shell, having more confidence, doing better in school.  Really meaningful feedback!

Sometimes after a class we are like, oh that class did not go so well.  And that is when we get the emails from parents sharing that this meant so much to the students. 

Some fun ones to get to know you a little better!

Favorite French fries?
We have been to so many places he had to pass for a moment and said his wife was ruminating on it and a few moments later said most recently 2 places here in Chicago, the Dearborn and Au Chevl – they have had stand out fries.

Favorite whiskey?  
I love Basil Hayden with 1 or 2 cubes, that is it.

Favorite vacation?  
We went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and if we could just go back there every single time we would.  Lately, we love Portland, Maine – such a fun, awesome town, love the food scene; it is so crunchy and weird and awesome.  And if we need to go to a beach, we love Fort Lauderdale.  We are obsessed with Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Messy or Neat?
We are neat.  It takes constant maintenance with our kid!

Text or call?
Text <well thank you for taking our call> 😊

Morning person or night owl?
Morning person, now.  Definitely would always stay up late pre-kid.  Now I get done with the show at home by 10pm.  If it is a crazy late night, it is 11-11:10pm.  Usually try to get to bed by 10:45pm.

What’s next after Frozen?
After Frozen, I’m not 100% sure.   I am contracted through September 2022.  May it be September or longer, I imagine we are going to go back to our apartment in New York. 

We have not been there in a long time.  We miss it.  We want to create roots in New York for our family and see all of our friends and get back in the theatre scene there.  I think that is eye on the prize there and then whatever jobs come with that!

Thank you Jeremy, this was a lot of fun!  We look forward to seeing you on stage this week and we hope you enjoy your visit to the Greater Lansing area.  And since your favorite color is green, you should fit right in while staying near Michigan State University landscape; while in East Lansing, try some french fries at the Peanut Barrel.  We are sure they will rival some of your favorites.

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