Webmaster’s note: this interview is an old one, dating back to October 2012. For some reason it just got released now.
With many of the former Glee Club members now graduates, the hunt is on at William McKinley High School to find talented singers to rebuild the New Directions. It’s not goodbye to the graduates however as beloved characters Rachel and Kurt move to New York to continue their education at the New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts (NYADA), struggling to adjust to life after high school. So Glee: Season 4 still features all of your favourite characters, but also introduces great new additions to all the laughs, tears and fun-filled antics in a season that features numerous episodes that will leave you desperate for more.
Like the memorable seasons before it, Glee continues to attract big names, with starring roles from Kate Hudson as a nasty NYADA dance teacher, to Sarah Jessica Parker and Whoopi Goldberg (reprising her role as NYADA Dean Carmen Tibideaux). As well as this, the popular show’s trademark tribute episodes entertain more than ever, with this season featuring episodes dedicated to the music of Britney Spears, Grease and Stevie Wonder.
Glee Season 4 also sees the introduction of latest Glee Project winner Blake Jenner who joins the cast as Ryder Lynn, a football-playing sophomore who Finn encourages to audition for the upcoming school production of Grease.
Good times and bad times in the McKinley universe. How important is it to have that dynamic on the show that is starting to look to the future?
Have conflict? It is important for any show to have conflict. If there’s no conflict I don’t think people really want to tune in. You can’t have a happy world the whole time. Our show thrives on conflict but it’s also conflict that raises big issues, the conflict of being bullied, of being a teenager who’s pregnant. These big issues that we have in our society are huge conflicts that people can have with other students or young people in their lives. These are conflicts that need to have some light shed on them.
I don’t know what’s tougher in life, to be a teenager going through those awkward moments of growth and education versus an adult who really should know better.
I agree with you. It’s almost harder as an adult and that’s kind of what Rachel and Kurt are experiencing now that they are in New York. In high school, it hurts but you kind of have a safety net in the high school experience and just with your friends there. When you’re an adult you’re kind of on your own, you make mistakes that could be really devastating to your life and to your career.
And to the people around you. For Will, what is going to happen? Sometimes I think he makes worse decisions than the kids.
This is a season of transition for everyone. Winning nationals has been this kind of elusive thing for the past three years and now, he won. He won nationals. When you get to that place and you have this vision of something so great and grand and actually attain it then you’re like okay, what now? What next? And I think that’s kind of where Will is right now. He just achieved this great height in his career and then he’s kind of got this new batch of kids now and it’s kind of like starting from scratch. His heart’s not quite in it like it used to be.
Is it hard what you have been to the peak of the mountain to do it again?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s also changed in a way because we’re going to talk about in this season, he wants to make a change on a national level now. He’s going to be going off to Washington DC to kind of advocate for the arts out there.
I almost don’t want to talk about music. The musical voice of the show has never felt this energized. Will we continue to see that?
You want the music to further the storyline and characters. We’ve done that exceptionally well in certain cases. I’m so surprised that there’s still music that we have to do. Three years on a show doing over 400 musical numbers, it’s like what’s left? That’s music for you. There’s always going to be something. There’s always big stuff to just grab and choose from. The writing has been exceptionally well this year. And that’s a great thing about this show is you get the songs that you hear on the radio but we put them into a storyline and they kind of make the song new again you know. You see it in an actual setting and a story and you’re like, oh, that makes sense. So it’s great to have music on television in general. The show has opened the door for many other shows that are now coming out that have music in it.
I was talking to a very close friend of mine where we are of a certain age and we should not be watching Glee.
Why do people say that? I get that all the time like grandmas come up to me and they’re like I know I shouldn’t be watching it. And I’m like well, I don’t know.
I think part of it is we see these young faces and earnest voices that have such hope and we know the world’s a little different. Do you think we ever get over this period in our lives?
I still think of Santa Claus and wish I didn’t know that he wasn’t real. I want those Christmas presents back. That is why a lot of shows are based in high school and those shows do very well because everyone’s been through that. Mostly everyone has been through that. There are experiences there and sometimes people like the show, especially older people, like the show because it does take them back. There is a sense of nostalgia there and also to see how the kids nowadays are going through high school and what it is like for them.
Things ultimately actually don’t change.
No, exactly. It’s so strange. You still have to wear stupid clothes to gym class. There are a lot of the same things. But that’s one of the great things, in a way you can relate to your own children. You can be like, yeah I’ve been there. I know what you’re going through.
When are you going to be back on stage?
I’ve been onstage a lot actually lately.
What we want to see you in another like a light in the Piazza type piece again.
I’m working on something. I’m trying to get it together but the thing is our hiatus is two-month long and it takes at least a month to even work a Broadway show or any kind of show that matter. I’m doing a lot of the symphony circuit. I’m coming out with a new album in February. It’s going to be like a Broadway standards album. And I didn’t know about the symphony circuit really before. Kristen Chenoweth, Edina Menzel, they all do it and just go around to different symphonies all over the country. Two weeks ago I was in Pittsburgh with the Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra and you just get to do your act with a 60 piece orchestra behind you. It’s quite lovely and I’m having a really good time with it.