Gar­gan­tuan job

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV -

A be­hind-the-scenes look at megahit se­ries Glee.

FOR the cre­ators of Fox’s most fa­mous show, it’s not so much Glee as it is grit. Es­sen­tially the cast and crew of the enor­mously pop­u­lar se­ries are able to con­jure a movie mu­si­cal in just one week.

Any­one who’s ex­pe­ri­enced dance, mu­sic or act­ing re­hearsals knows that sched­ule seems im­pos­si­ble. The show mak­ers agree there’s jaw-clench­ing pres­sure to get the job done.

“Ev­ery episode is eight days,” says cos­tume de­signer Lou Eyrich. “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, but also or­ches­trates it, an­other gar­gan­tuan job. “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.”

An­ders labours an episode ahead of the oth­ers. “When they’re shoot­ing, the mu­sic has to be done,” he says. He 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.

“But, my whole thing is to kind of strad­dle the fence be­tween what Glee is – the in­spi­ra­tion and ev­ery­thing – and not go­ing cheesy. And that’s kind of what I’m al­ways try­ing to do. Be­cause it’s a lit­tle bit of camp, but we never go too far. So when I do go too far, that’s the stuff you never hear.”

Chore­og­ra­pher Zach Woodlee has eight hours per dance num­ber, which in­clude sing­ing, of course.

Mur­phy (who cre­ated and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced 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.

“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.

“And I felt in­stead of go­ing big­ger and over­stuff­ing Sea­son 2, which I think peo­ple would ex­pect us to do, let’s go un­der it. Let’s re­ally sort of dwell on a lot of these sup­port­ing char­ac­ters like the San­tana char­ac­ter, the Brit­tany char­ac­ter and the Mike Chang char­ac­ter and the Tina char­ac­ter. So we’re giv­ing all those ac­tors big sto­ry­lines this year be­cause I think peo­ple want to know about them,” he says.

“And last year be­cause we were with ( Amer­i­can) Idol in the sec­ond half of the sea­son, I per­son­ally kind of blew it out. Like that Madonna episode had nine num­bers, which was in­sane. So we’re scal­ing back a

(clock­wise from left) Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, Cory Mon­teith, Am­ber Ri­ley, Kevin McHale and Lea Michele ac­knowl­edg­ing the ap­plause at the end of a show in lit­tle bit and con­cen­trat­ing a lit­tle more on the sto­ries, and now I think we’re go­ing to do five or six songs, but that’s just be­cause I thought we were learn­ing as we went.”

Eyrich has the task of cre­at­ing both the high school garb for the kids, as well as the fan­tas­tic cos­tumes for the mu­si­cal num­bers. “It’s a dream job. I love my job,” she says.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly chaotic. Some days you will hear me scream­ing through the halls ‘I can’t do this any­more’, and I come back lov­ing it again. It’s re­ally al­most more of a chal­lenge for me to dress them as high school kids than it is to cre­ate the fun, crazy cos­tumes, to stay true to the re­al­ity, to keep them young-look­ing, and to make peo­ple want to watch the show and be in­spired by it.”

When Mur­phy and co-cre­ator Ian Bren­nan first thought of Glee, one of their in­spi­ra­tions was the movie Elec­tion. “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,” says Mur­phy.

“And one of the con­cepts of the show is when you are in a high school, at mo­ments I think it feels like a sud­denly bright light spot­light hits you, and you feel very ex­posed, which is sort of a hyper-sur­real place, so I think with that in mind, that’s why we do some of those mo­ments.”

Now that Glee’s such a hit, Mur­phy 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).’ And I opened it up and I think that it was Michelle 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.” – McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices n The sec­ond sea­son of Glee will be aired on Star World (Astro Chan­nel 711) in Jan­uary.

Tak­ing a bow:


The cast of Glee per­form­ing a num­ber af­ter a week of re­hearsals.

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