Glee team under the pump
Glee is a labour of love, writes Luaine Lee
FOR the creators of Fox’s most famous show, it’s not so much Glee as it is grit. The cast and crew of the enormously popular series conjure up a movie musical in just one week.
Anyone who has experienced dance, music or acting rehearsals knows that schedule seems impossible.
The show’s makers agree there’s jaw-clenching pressure to get the job done.
‘‘ Every episode is eight days,’’ costume designer Lou Eyrich says. ‘‘ And we get a script three, four days into it, so we basically have four days of prep and then start shooting, and then catch up a little bit in the next few days.’’
Music director Adam Anders not only prepares the music, he also orchestrates it.
‘‘ I think this is the most civil you will ever see us because we are always fighting for time,’’ he says.
‘‘ We never have enough time, of course. . . But you gotta make it work. When they’re shooting, the music has to be done,’’ he says.
Anders works with a partner in Sweden. ‘‘ We arrange everything. We take our cues from (co-creator) Ryan Murphy. Do you want this to be a kind of ode to the original? Do you want a reinvention? What are we looking for here? We’re trying to serve the story, and we go from there. Grit your teeth: The
cast are no strangers to hard work.
‘‘ But my whole thing is to kind of straddle the fence between what Glee is — the inspiration and everything — and not going cheesy.’’
Choreographer Zach Woodlee has eight hours to prepare the dance number. That includes the singing.
Murphy, creator and execu- tive producer of Nip/Tuck, says he was naive when Glee began.
‘‘ We didn’t know what we were doing when we started. We were kind of making it up as we went along,’’ he says.
‘‘ But the one thing that really clicked for me is when we went on tour, which was instantly sold out, which was amazing, and all the kids were there, and they would come out. Some of them would have two lines, three lines, and they got these huge ovations, and they had their sort of mini fan clubs,’’ Murphy says.
When Murphy and cocreator Ian Brennan first came up with the idea of Glee, the movie Election was one of their inspirations.
‘‘ I think high-school shows work and I think college shows do not, because I think high- school shows are about firsts: first love, first kiss, first fights,’’ Murphy says.
Now that Glee is such a hit, he says songwriters are eager to have their work featured on the show. One such plea arrived unannounced.
‘‘ It was in a package and it was sort of handwritten and it was two CDs and it said, ‘ Hi, Ryan. I hope you would consider some of these songs for Glee, and then it said ‘ Paul’ (McCartney). I opened it up and it had these huge songs. I was gobsmacked. I grew up with that guy, so of course we are going to do something with— I don’t think a whole episode — but something with him.’’ Glee, Channel 10, Monday 7.30pm. FOX8, Saturday 6.30pm, Sunday 2pm