Interview with Glee’ Christopher Colfer and Kevin McHale
The cast of Fox’s hit musical series, Glee visited Chicago’s Orland Square Mall to meet with fans, offer sneak peeks of what is to come in the upcoming premiere season, and gab about what it has been like to star in America’s favorite show choir. Michael J. Roberts and Alissa Norby were there to interview the multi-talented Gleekers about the unique experience of being part of one of the biggest television phenomenons of the year.
Q: Tell us about the unique rehearsal process for Glee.
A: (Kevin McHale) One day we’ll be doing choreography, then we’re learning the songs and production numbers another day. And a lot of times we’re doing all of that the same day.
A: (Christopher Colfer) It’s a lot like being in prison.
Q: And what is your shooting schedule like?
A: (Christopher) Pretty grueling. You know, Monday through Friday. If we’re not filming, we’re rehearsing or pre-recording the songs.
Q: Now Kevin you have a dance background, but you’re in a wheelchair. Has this posed a challenge for you in Glee’s full-spectacle production numbers? We also hear you’re going to be thrown around.
A: (Kevin) Yeah, I get thrown into the walls. My character plays guitar, and I don’t actually play guitar, so it’s kind of the equivalent of me trying to learn guitar.
Q: Many shows have tried similar formats in recent years but have not succeeded. Why do you think Glee, for lack of a better pun, has struck such a chord with audiences?
A: (Christopher) I think Glee has an element to it that everyone can relate to. I think it’s very real. There’s very little that is fictitious about it. When we’re singing, It’s usually onstage with an orchestra behind us. It’s not as if we are breaking out into song in the middle of the locker room.
A: (Kevin) The songs are all used for the storyline, not just to sing or to do it. [The music] is very plot-driven and focused on the characters from very early on in the story. So I think there are so many songs and characters that an audience can relate to. Also, it’s not original music, it’s all songs everyone knows already.
Q: Let’s talk about Jane Lynch.
A: (Christopher) She is terrifying in the show.
(Kevin) But she’s the nicest person!
(Christopher) She really is. It’s a complete thrill to work with her. Every time she improves it’s like a hug from Jesus. And she’s always funnier than anything in the script. We just look down and try not to laugh.
Q: Chris, you have an extensive history of involvement with high school theatre. From speech team, drama club, and show choir. What do you want the young aspiring artists in your audience to take away from Glee?
A: (Christopher) I think Glee is about them. It’s about aspiring to be something that you’re not, which is probably why they all love it so much.
Q: Tell us about “Shirley Todd.”
A: (Christopher) It was for my high school’s senior showcase. We wanted to do something funny, so we did Shirley Todd, a spoof of Sweeney Todd, and all of the characters were gender reversed. It took place in modern-day punk rock England rather than historical England.
Q: And theatre is unfortunately something that is mostly discouraged in our schools, whether through administration or judgmental peers.
A: (Christopher) Yes! Very much so. It’s very kind of a food chain in high school. No one likes to let you rise in it.
A: (Kevin) [Glee] shines a spotlight on outcasts, people who don’t fit in.That’s probably 99% of every student body in high school. So we’re showing how everybody goes through the same thing, and you can come out of it a lot better than most of those other groups.
‘Glee’ premieres September 9, 2009 at 9PM EST/8PM CST on Fox. For more information, please visit www.fox.com/glee