Last season on Fox’s popular series Glee, many students from McKinley High School graduated, going their separate ways to begin their careers.
So joining Sam (Chord Overstreet) this season, several new students have enrolled in the Glee Club, including Puck’s (Mark Salling) younger half-brother, Jake (Jacob Artist), Marley Rose (Melissa Benoish) and Ryder (Blake Jenner, who won The Glee Project last year).
I spoke with them at Paramount Studios about their experience on Glee.
What was Glee to you before you came on the show?
Jacob: We had grown up with it. I remember watching the pilot back in high school, the message hit home for all of us and so many people, which is why I think the show is so successful.
Melissa: It was something to identify with for sure, especially as a musical theatre nerd in high school.
Blake: I remember watching the show with my brother Ricky. He was like, ‘You have to watch this with me because it’s the best show ever and I can totally see you on it.’
I grew up being in drama club in high school. I was in Oedipus Rex and we did Rent. So I loved this show. I was like, ‘Man, if I could be in that show once.’ It’s awesome and [the cast] is awesome, so it’s really a dream come true to be a part of it.
Chord: I remember the first time I saw the show. I have four sisters, and they were all in a trance in front of the TV. And I started watching it and it just brought back all these memories of watching old musicals like Singing in the Rain and Grease. I have literally watched Grease 300 times. So when we did Grease Lightning, I was obsessed.
So as soon as I got the opportunity to audition, I was like, ‘Yes.’ When I first came into work the first day, I didn’t know Kevin (McHale) was not actually handicapped and that surprised me.
Did you do musicals in school?
Melissa: I grew up watching musicals with my grandma and old tapes of The Mickey Mouse Club from the ’50s. That was something I always wanted to do.
When I was in middle school and Chicago, the movie, came out, I wanted every movie after that to be a musical. It’s exciting that we get to be a part of that [musical] shift.
Are there any songs you’ve sung that were recorded before you were born?
Chord: Me and Heather (Morris) got to do Something Stupid this season, which was such a blast. I’m a huge Frank Sinatra fan. Darren (Criss) recorded that with Lea (Michele) and he won’t let me forget that.
What has it been like coming on such a popular series?
Jacob: I would have to say it’s been unbelievable to the fullest. I remember when I first moved to L.A. and I met my manager for the first time, he was like, ‘What kind of show do you want to do?’ And I said, Glee, because I had just fallen in love with the message and everything it stands for.
I grew up as a dancer, so the arts have always been in my life. And the fact that this show celebrates that on such a great scale is unbelievable.
Melissa: I think all of us are a little more comfortable now that it’s been a few months and everyone’s getting along so well. There is the sense still of every day coming to work being a new adventure. It’s kind of cheesy. But it feels that way. It’s still really exciting and fun.
Does Sam graduate this year?
Chord: I don’t know.
If Sam does graduates this year, what would you like to see him do next?
Chord: Once he graduates he’d probably save up a little money, get back on the pole! He may move down to Nashville and just go for country music. Nashville’s pretty close to Ohio, so it’s not a long drive. It’s not too far a stretch. I think that Sam would like country music. I’m certainly a fan of it. But the pole might be the only thing in his future.
For decades we never saw music on TV, people never broke into song. What’s it like to change society?
Melissa: It’s definitely a privilege to be a part of something that can change society so much and so quickly.