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Glee – Lea Michele on how her life has changed forever

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Glee, 2.05 - Cory Monteith, Lea Michele
Episode 2.05 'The Rocky Horror Glee Show' - Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) perform © 2010 Fox

Lea Michele made her Broadway debut at 8 years old as the young Cosette in Les Miserables, going on to appear in Ragtime and Fiddler on the Roof. On Broadway she is best known for her role as Wendia in the Tony Award winning musical Spring Awakening.

But it’s her work on TV’s Glee as the ambitious Rachel Berry that has brought Lea Michele worldwide fame. Only in its second season, the series continues to exceed expectations which such guest stars this year as Gwyneth Paltrow, Carol Burnett, Britney Spears, Olivia Newton-John and Neil Patrick Harris. In a special episode following the Super Bowl, the Glee club performs Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

The cast went on tour in America last year to sold out venues, and this year are going to Europe. And due to overwhelming response, two more concert dates have been added in London, beginning on June 25th.

I caught up with Lea at Fox Studios to talk with her about the show and how her life has changed forever.

How pressured do you feel being the Super Bowl show?

Glee, Season 2 - Lea Michele
Season 2 - Rachel (Lea Michele) © 2010 Fox

Oh man, the Super Bowl episode is great.  It’s a very back to basics Glee. It reminds me a lot of the episode in our beginning season, number four, where they did the Single Ladies.  It’s a very basic episode but has some grand moments in it.

Is the relationship between Rachel and Finn totally on the rocks?

Rachel’s single again. I think we’re going back to early Glee.  You know, Rachel being single, striving for her career. So, I like that. I loved playing the longing.  I love working with Cory and I love pretending he was my boyfriend. But at the same time, the longing and the wanting, the yearning as an actor is really fun.

Is there any subject matter you’d like to see the show tackle?

I think we’re doing a lot. I think it’s really important that we enter the homes of these kids. What does Mercedes’ family look like?  What does Tina’s family look like?  Rachel’s dads, what is it like living in Ohio with two gay fathers? I want to get to know what these kids are like when they leave school. We know Quinn’s family, we know Finn’s.  I want to see the other kids.  As a viewer, I want to know what they are like.

Do you talk about who you would like Rachel’s gay dads to be?

You know, I don’t know when they’re going to do that. I have two people in my head that I’ve always had in my head.

They always say Taye Diggs and Hugh Jackman, but I feel like they need to be a little older. I feel an older presence from them. I do.

Are there a couple wish list songs that you’d like to do?

Glee, 2.06 - Cory Monteith, Lea Michele and Kevin McHale
Episode 2.06 'Never Been Kissed' - Finn (Cory Monteith), Rachel (Lea Michele) and Artie (Kevin McHale) discuss the class assignment © 2010 Fox

How can I be picky at this point? I feel so lucky to have gotten to do the things I’ve done at this point. I love flipping through my script and I’m rapping or something like that. I think that that’s a lot of fun.

Has anyone ever offered you Funny Girl? I cannot believe that they haven’t.

No.  Where are the calls?  Where are these calls?

Is that a dream role for you after doing Don’t Rain on My Parade?

I mean if you don’t know my obsession with Funny Girl

I do. That’s why I brought it up.

Of course, Fanny Brice is me. I feel very connected to that story.

Have you met Streisand?

No.  I’m okay with that.

Are you scared to?

You’ve got to keep your idols as idols.

Glee, 2.09 - Lea Michele and Chris Colfer
Episode 2.09 'Special Education'- Rachel (Lea Michele) tries to recruit Kurt (Chris Colfer) back © 2010 Fox

How amazing was it to get to do Don’t Rain on My Parade on the show?

That and to get to do with Chris Colfer Papa Can You Hear Me. Don’t Rain on My Parade was just the beginning. I am salivating over the amount of Barbra that I’ve gotten to do. I’m loving it.

Is No More Tears maybe going to come up somewhere along the line?

No, I’m fighting for My Man, as always.

What do you prefer Broadway or TV?

Both. I’m on Broadway TV right now, right?  Isn’t it great?

Is there a rocker inside of you somewhere that’s trying to bust out?

Well, my mother and father were very big classic rock fans. So, I grew up listening to Queen and Led Zeppelin. Then all of a sudden, they had this little Broadway kid. They’re like, “What the heck?  Who is this girl?” They don’t know where I came from!

You have such long hours. Do you have any time to do things for yourself?

Glee, 2.08 - Lea Michele and Naya Rivera
Episode 2.08 'Furt' - Rachel (Lea Michele) and Santana (Naya Rivera) discuss a plan to help Kurt © 2010 Fox

For me, I work, I come home, I rest.  I love having my cast members over at my house.  We do that a lot.  Sometimes we hang out in our trailers for an extra hour at the end of the day just to spend some time together.  But I live a really quite life here in Los Angeles.  I kind of like that because it’s a little cuckoo out there for girls my age.

Are you going to be going to London with the tour?

Yes, I am.

Is the show going to be like the one you did at Universal?

The main structure of the concert will be exactly like the one you saw, except I think we’re going to have the Warblers join us, hopefully.  You know, obviously some new songs and we have some new cast members from this season, Chord, Darren, and Chris who will hopefully make it.