At Long Last 'Glee'!

Today's cuppa: PG Tips tea

Glee_13-glee-kids-stairs_1819_lyv1 I heard about this show for months, then did two set visits and a couple of blog posts, and wrote a syndicated feature story.

At long last, "Glee" is here!

The high-school musical show premieres tonight on Fox, seeking that post-"American Idol" bump, then disappears until returning on Wednesdays this fall after the "So You Think You Can Dance" results show.

So a dancer gets ditched, then we get "Glee"! Mood swing evening...

Anyway, I got a big kick out of the "Glee" pilot and had good fun on set. Check it out...

Fox hopes 'Idol' can bring 'Glee' to America


By Kate O'Hare



As demonstrated by the YouTube megapopularity of dowdy Scotswoman Susan Boyle's surprising audition for "Britain's Got Talent," a beautiful voice has incredible power to stir strong emotions, from the deepest longing to the most explosive joy -- or even glee.

Three days after the video's release, a writer on the new Fox musical-comedy-drama "Glee" watches the clip on his laptop between takes on the show about high-school glee club misfits who find joy and freedom in song.

To complete the circle, one of the "Britain's Got Talent" judges, Simon Cowell, is a judge on Fox's "American Idol," and Fox is betting on that show's big audience to help "Glee" make a big impression.

The "Glee" pilot airs after the Tuesday, May 19, episode of "Idol," then doesn't return to the schedule until fall.

"It's rare to get that many people watching their television sets at the same time," executive producer Dante Di Loreto says, "so to have the opportunity to show the audience this show, which we feel is special and different and stands alone -- it feels right to be doing it in a special and different way.

"Honestly, it plays as much like a one-hour movie as it does a single episode of a TV series, so it captures the special-event quality of what this show is. There's nothing else like it on television."

Set at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio , "Glee" is the creation of executive producer Ryan Murphy ("Popular," "Nip/Tuck"), who went to high school and college in Indiana.

Broadway star Matthew Morrison stars as Will Schuester, a McKinley Spanish teacher who, driven by his secret past (no, nothing illegal), takes over the school's moribund glee club.

Once a championship show choir -- which combines singing, choreography and costumes -- the club has turned into a haven for outcasts who sit at the bottom of McKinley's social hierarchy.

Will's plan to revive the club includes recruiting handsome quarterback Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), who's paired onstage with high-energy perfectionist Rachel Berry (Lea Michele).

Rounding out the group are dramatic, high-voiced Kurt (Chris Colfer), diva Mercedes (Amber Riley), awkward stutterer Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and guitarist Artie (Kevin McHale), who doesn't let his wheelchair slow him down.

Also starring are Jayma Mays, Jane Lynch, Dianna Agron, Mark Salling and Jessalyn Gilsig.

For those who saw Morrison in "Hairspray," fear not; you get more than acting from him in "Glee."

"The acting is great," Morrison says, "but when I get to shine and sing and dance, I'm at my most comfortable.

"I'd like to say this was a big stretch for me, but this character is me, if I didn't move to New York and have the success I did there."

When not on location at Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, Calif., (the school's steel-drum band is in the pilot), "Glee" shoots at historic Paramount Studios in Hollywood.

Monteith -- who admits hanging out in the audio-visual lab in high school in Victoria, Canada -- is thrilled to be at Paramount, but he never really had musical theater aspirations.

"It never crossed my mind," he says on the set during a break from dance rehearsals, "that I would do anything with it or sing in front of people in any capacity whatsoever.

"The dancing is even tougher for me. I hope that doesn't show in the series."

Riley has her knee in a brace, and she has Murphy to thank for it. Her first TV role came in one of his pilots, and then he got to discover she could sing (and now, dance) when she auditioned for "Glee."

"It's like my career is starting all over," she says. "I stopped acting; I started singing. Now ... it started with him, and it's starting over with him, too."

For stage and TV veteran Ushkowitz, playing Tina is a chance to not be who she was in her performing arts high school.

"I was class president," she says, "outgoing personality. I was more of a Rachel Berry, personally. I exhausted myself."

As for McHale, he says, "I grew up singing ... and dancing, not that that matters in this case. It was cool, because it was a different character, obviously in a wheelchair, so that's new for me.

"I don't play guitar, so that's been new for me."

For Di Loreto, it's about showing that happy isn't out of style.

"I hope that we're catching the time and place today in America," he says, "that no matter how depressing the news or the economy, the fact that kids want to sing and dance and perform and fulfill their potential is joyful and uplifting and fun to watch."