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March 14, 2010


IMG_0019 By Lesley Goldberg

For 1,800 “Glee” fans — a record audience in the Paley Center’s 27-year history — Saturday was a special night at PaleyFest. Those lucky enough to snag a ticket to the sold-out Saban Theatre panel were treated to “Hello,” a director’s cut of the April 13 return-from-hiatus episode.

But the surprises didn’t end there for the Fox rookie dramedy’s boisterous fans: With nearly the entire cast in attendance — lead Lea Michele (Rachel) was noticeably absent — both the stars and the writers behind the hit musical revealed more gems than a jewelry show could store, the biggest of which co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy revealed.

“We are going to do an episode in the second season with all original music,” Murphy told a crowd that was as diverse as the cast of the show itself.

In addition to the original music, Murphy made moderator Marc Malkin’s day when he spilled that a show about the “power of theatricality” is in the works for the series’ second half that will include a Lady Gaga song.

“She’s arguably the most important pop star right now,” noted Murphy, who said the series was born out of a dark feature that co-creator/co-exec producer Ian Brennan initially wrote. “We are doing that this season.”

In revealing even more of what’s to come when the series’ back-nine episodes resume April 13, Matthew Morrison (Will) spilled the beans about what the second duet he’ll be performing with guest star Neil Patrick Harris.

“His first day of work was the day after he sang at the Oscars,” noted Morrison, whom Murphy said performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and played the ukulele during his audition. “We sing two duets together: one is an Aerosmith song, the other is a Billy Joel song.”

The spoilerific night was packed with anecdotes from the cast and creative team about behind-the-scenes accidents — Amber Riley (Mercedes) took a massive spill during the wheel chair number during filming of “Wheels” — but perhaps the biggest laughs came when Brennan dished about dialogue that doesn’t make it on air.

Glee lynch“A lot of them are Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) saying things like, ‘Shut your mouth before I rape it,’ ” he said, adding that the writers — Murphy, Brennan and Brad Falchuk have written every episode to date — sometimes put dialogue in as a joke and it makes it through the broadcast and standards department.

“We still don’t know if we’ll air, ‘I will kick you square in the vagina!’ ” Lynch interjected to raucous laughs from the jam-packed theater. “… or ‘Square in the taco!’ ”

The biggest applause of the night — after the crowd’s initial reaction to being among the first to see the show’s return episode — came when Lynch dished on her “Vogue” performance as part of “Glee’s” all-Madonna episode that will feature 10 of the Material Girl’s songs.

“I started rehearsing this dance in December and we did it almost a day,” she said. “We filmed it with the video (for “Vogue”) playing in front of us as we shot it and paused with every movement.”

In the episode, the second to air after the show’s return, Lynch said Mercedes and Kurt (Chris Colfer) give Sue a makeover and get her out of her standard track suits.

“I wear everything that (Madonna) wears,” Lynch said.

Murphy, who is openly gay, also discussed how the character of Kurt — a role Colfer said Murphy wrote specifically for him after he auditioned for the role of Artie (Kevin McHale) — is based on his own experience growing up.

“It’s based on my father and myself,” Murphy said. “I had a unique experience because I was out of the closet at 14 and proud and popular and I grew up in Indiana. (Kurt) has such dignity. I’ve never seen that on network TV before. I’m looking for him to be a role model and for kids who see that character and say, ‘I can be that.’ ”

As for what’s in store for Kurt, Murphy said he has a boyfriend this season who is “very different and equally fabulous. I want them to become the power couple of the school.”

Glee monteith Asked if viewers will get to meet Rachel’s two gay dads, Murphy looked to the future: “Not this season,” he teased. “We’ve never met them, but that’s something we want to save. Maybe in Season 2.”

Addressing what happens to the Gleeks after high school, Murphy said the creative team has a “paradigm for the first three years but we haven’t thought passed that.”

Pressed for details about if Julia Roberts would join a roster of guest stars that already includes Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Harris, Jennifer Lopez and more, Murphy said his “Eat, Pray, Love” star has seen rough cuts of the show and “fell in love” with it but he doesn’t know if she’ll wind up doing it.

“It seems like if you have a Tony, you can get on the show,” Murphy joked, adding that he gets a lot of requests from “American Idol” contestants to appear and that landing music clearance rights has gotten easier now that the show is such an international success but that they still face some obstacles from some artists.

“It’s not that they don’t want their song to be on the show, it’s that they don’t want it to be covered,” Murphy said of artists including Coldplay and Bryan Adams who have declined to participate. 

In terms of other spoilers ahead for the show’s second half, Finn’s (Cory Monteith) mother and Kurt’s dad will get together. “We shot those episodes. That’s a great source of tension for Chris and Cory,” Murphy said. “Kurt masterminds their parents getting together so he can move in with Finn.”

Puck (Mark Salling) and Rachel — or “Puckleberry” as they’re known on-set — “will get back together,” Murphy said. “We kind of want to keep him bad — he has an affair with every lady on the show." 

As the whirlwind panel came to a close, Murphy touched on the cast’s upcoming Easter White House performance and concert tour — with tickets for some dates selling out in 22 seconds: “We look at each other every day and ask, ‘How the hell did this happen?’ ”

Other panelists included Jayma Mays (Emma), Salling, Dianna Agron (Quinn), McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Jessalyn Gilsig (Terri) and upcoming guest star Jonathan Groff (Jesse).

Top photo taken by Lesley Goldberg.


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