10 years ago today we were introduced to a rag tag group of losers who, with a song in their hearts, were just looking for a place to belong as they made their way through high school in Nowhereville, Ohio. We met a young teacher trying to rediscover his passion for teaching. We came across your usual high school jocks and cheerleaders, we had our first run-in with a slightly scary, slightly crazy cheerleading coach, and we heard that iconic song for the first time closing out the episode.
Yes today marks 10 years since Glee’s pilot aired. How little we knew then the impact this show about a high school glee club that was littered with song and dance numbers that ran the gamut from top 40 pop to rap to classic rock to Broadway staples would have on our lives. And it’s not just our lives that it changed, it also changed the TV landscape… bringing musicals back to TV, opening up mainstream TV to LGBT issues, and raising awareness of issues from the value of arts education to texting and driving.
Let’s take a look at where the cast are now.
Dianna Agron – Quinn Fabray
Dianna became a household name as the Queen Bee head cheerleader Quinn Fabray with the seemingly picture perfect life… little did we know from that very first episode. Following her character’s high school graduation at the end of season 3, Dianna only appeared in a handful of episodes for the rest of Glee’s run. Since landing Glee, Dianna has had a number of film roles. They include The Hunters (2011), I Am Number Four (2011), The Family (2013), Zipper (2015), Bare (2015), and The Crash (2017). She also made her London theatre debut as Dahlia in the play McQueen in 2015. Dianna married Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall in 2016.
Chris Colfer – Kurt Hummel
Chris was a cherub-faced 19-year-old when Ryan Murphy created the role of Kurt Hummel for him and just like his character, Chris is not taking ‘no’ for an answer and forging his own career as a storyteller. Chris won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor for his portrayal of the fashion-forward countertenor in 2011. During the Glee 2011 hiatus, Chris wrote and starred in the film Struck by Lightning. Chris adapted the film’s script into a novel, which was published in November 2012. While working on the Struck and during breaks in the Glee Live! in Concert! tour through North America, the UK and Ireland, Chris was working on his draft for The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, the first in his fantasy children’s series and earning him his first New York Times Bestseller’s list entry. The novel has spawned five sequels, two picture books and a couple of companion books, not to mention a number of other Bestseller’s list entries. It was announced last year that the first book was being adapted for film. Chris will not only serve as writer and executive producer, but will also make his directorial debut on the project. He also released his second Young Adult novel – Stranger than Fanfiction – in 2017. Although his writing has kept Chris largely busy since Glee wrapped, he has had a guest spot on Hot in Cleveland and guest starred in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Jane Lynch – Sue Sylvester
When Glee debuted 10 years ago, Jane Lynch was probably the best-known cast member. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in cheer coach and Will Schuester/Glee club antagonist Sue Sylvester. Jane had some of the best one-liners throughout the series, with many still littering social media today. From 2013, Jane has hosted NBC’s game show Hollywood Game Night (on which a number of her Glee castmates have appeared) for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Host in 2018. That same year was also nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor for her role in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Jane executive produced and starred in the comedy web series Dropping the Soap, earning an Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Emmy nomination for her performance. Her autobiography, Happy Accidents was published in 2011, and Jane returned to the stage, making her Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan for a limited engagement in 2013 in the Annie revivial and touring her cabaret show, See Jane Sing, which debuted in 2015.
Jayma Mays – Emma Pillsbury
Jayma played the germaphobe McKinley High guidance counselor, who always had a motivational leaflet on hand for any occasion. Her infatuation with Will Schuester provided her with much angst in the first few seasons, but her patience and long-suffering was finally rewarded, notwithstanding her runaway bride escapade. Jayma starred alongside Neil Patrick Harris in the two Smurf movies and had lead roles in the TV series The Millers (2013-2015) and Trial & Error (2017-2018). Jayma and husband Adam Campbell welcomed their son, Jude in August 2016.
Kevin McHale – Artie Abrams
Former boy band member, Kevin took on the role of wheelchair bound Artie Abrams. Since Glee wrapped in 2015, Kevin spent some time in the UK hosting the comedy panel show Virtually Famous for its first three seasons. He also played supporting roles in the independent film Boychoir and the docudrama miniseries When We Rise, which detailed the history of US LGBT rights advocacy from the 1970s to the 2010s. On the music front, Kevin joined fellow Glee star Darren Criss in Katy Perry’s celeb-filled video for her 2011 hit “Last Friday Night “(T.G.I.F.)” and has recently my working on new solo work, with his song “Help Me Now” released at the end of March. Kevin can also be heard every Thursday with best friend and Glee co-star Jenna Ushkowitz on their podcast Showmance – part of the Ladygang Network, of which fellow co-star Becca Tobin is co-creator of.
Lea Michele – Rachel Berry
Lea starred as the Broadway-obsessed, New Directions-lead diva, Rachel Berry. Following Glee’s end, Lea joined Ryan Murphy’s new Fox comedy horror series, Scream Queens. Lea played Hester Ulrich for the show’s two seasons. In 2017 she starred as Valentina Barella in ABC’s ill-fated sitcom The Mayor, which despite positive critical acclaim, was cancelled after one season. Lea made her feature film debut in 2011’s New Year’s Eve. Lea has released two studio albums: Louder (2014) and Places (2017), and has recently teased work beginning on a new album. She promoted Places in 2017 with the mini tour An Intimate Evening with Lea Michele, which took her to nine cities in the US as well as Toronto, Canada and London, UK. She teamed up with fellow Glee-alum Darren Criss for the LM/DC Tour in 2018, which saw the pair perform across North America, the UK and Ireland. Lea has also penned two books: the New York Times Bestseller Brunette Ambition and You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life. Lea married president of clothing brand AYR, Zandy Reich earlier this year.
Cory Monteith – Finn Hudson
Cory played the lovable giant Finn Hudson, McKinley’s star quarterback who also slayed it on the drums and could nail any classic rock song. While working on Glee, Canadian native starred in Monte Carlo and Sisters & Brothers, both were released in 2011. Cory made no secret of his struggles with addiction, both before and during Glee. Cory was found dead in a Vancouver hotel in July 2013. His two films, All The Wrong Reasons and McCanick were released posthumously. The cast and crew paid tribute to both Cory and Finn in the season 5 episode, “The Quarterback”.
Matthew Morrison – Will Schuester
The role of McKinley High’s inept Spanish teacher who revives the glee club was played by Matthew Morrison. Matt released his first solo studio album in 2011. The self-titled album was followed up in 2013 with the release of Where It All Began, a collection of Broadway standards. Matt also starred in The Muppets (2011) and the film adaptation of bestselling book, What To Expect When You’re Expecting (2012). Matt returned to the Broadway stage in 2015, performing the title role of J.M. Barrie in the new musical Finding Neverland. The role earned him two Broadway.com Audience Awards: Favorite Actor in a Musical and Favorite Onstage Pair (with Laura Michelle Kelly). He has had recurring roles on The Good Wife and Grey’s Anatomy and earlier this year, Matt was one of the dance captain’s in BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer. He married Renee Puente in 2014. The couple welcomed their first child, Revel in 2017.
Amber Riley – Mercedes Jones
With a killer set of pipes and a huge dose of diva, Amber Riley played the unstoppable Mercedes Jones. Amber put her years of Glee dance training to use, taking out the Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars. She starred as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, in NBC’s live performance of The Wiz in 2015. Amber then came across to London and made her West End debut as Effie White in Dreamgirls, a role that won her the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2017. Later that year she was a judge on BBC One’s musical talent show Let It Shine. She also joined forces with Beverley Knight and Cassidy Janson as Leading Ladies. They released their first album, Songs from the Stage at the end of 2017.
Mark Salling – Noah “Puck” Puckerman
Mark played McKinley’s resident “badass” Puck. A bully who has been in and out of juvie, he’s Finn Hudson’s best friend and teammate on the football team, however, this doesn’t stop him from knocking up Finn’s girlfriend Quinn. But this relationship does bring him to the New Directions as a way to be closer to Quinn. Mark released the studio album Pipe Dreams in 2010 where it received modest success reaching 29 on the US Indie chart. In 2013 Mark was accused of sexual battery, which was settled out of court. He was later arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. He died by suicide in January 2018 before he was sentenced.
Jenna Ushkowitz – Tina Cohen-Chang
Jenna starred as the stuttering emo/goth Tina Cohen-Chang, though both of these attributes didn’t last beyond the first two seasons. Jenna released an autobiography, Choosing Glee in 2013. She returned to the stage in 2015 and 2016 as Julia Sullivan in The Wedding Singer in Pittsburgh and in a limited run as Dawn Williams in Broadway’s Waitress, respectively. Jenna has also turned to producing. She executive produced the documentary Twinsters in 2015, which premiered at the South by Southwest festival and she won her first Tony last year for her work as a producer on the Once on This Island musical revival. In 2016 Jenna founded the At Will Radio podcast network with Will Malnati. She hosted the podcast Infinite Positivities. More recently she has joined Glee best friend and costar Kevin McHale as co-hosts of the Ladygang Network podcast Showmance. Jenna also founded Kindred: The Foundation for Adoption with fellow adoptee Samantha Futerman.
Heather Morris – Brittany Pierce
In what was only meant to be a background role, Heather Morris so endeared ditzy cheerleader Brittany Pierce to the fans and the Glee writers that she quickly became a series regular. Heather provided the voice of Katie in Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) and has starred in Spring Breakers (2013), Most Likely to Die (2015) and Folk Hero & Funny Guy (2016). Heather appeared in the 2017 season of Dancing with the Stars, being eliminated in the sixth week of the competition. Heather gave birth to her son, Elijah with Taylor Hubbell in 2013. Heather and Taylor were married in 2015 and welcomed their second son, Owen in 2016.
Naya Rivera – Santana Lopez
The third member of the Unholy Trinity, Naya starred as Latino spitfire Santana Lopez. Naya made her feature film debut in 2014 in the horror film At the Devil’s Door. She had a recurring role in the third season of Devious Maids (2015) and has starred in the YouTube Red series Step Up: High Water (2018-). Naya signed with Columbia Records in 2011 to produce a solo album. Her single “Sorry”, featuring then-boyfriend and rapper Big Sean was released in 2013, though the album was never produced. Naya has also published a memoir: Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up. Naya married Ryan Dorsey in 2014. They have a son, Josey, who was born in 2015. Naya and Ryan eventually divorced in 2018.
Harry Shum Jr. – Mike Chang
The dancing jock with a surprising voice, Harry starred as Mike Chang. Known for most of the first season as “Other Asian”, it was his relationship with Tina from the second season that brought Mike into the heart of the glee club and their fans. Harry was involved in a number of web series during Glee’s run, including Step Up 3-D and Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Since Glee he has starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny and the hit 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians. He is best known for his role as the warlock Magnus Bane in the Freeform/Netflix series Shadowhunters, which ran from 2016 and the series finale airing earlier this month. Personally Harry married actress/dancer Shelby Rabara in 2015. The couple’s first child, Xia, was born earlier this year.
Chord Overstreet – Sam Evans
Chord joined the cast early on in season 2 as transfer student Sam Evans. While Chord starred as Nick in the 2015 film 4th Man Out, he has largely focused on his music career since Glee wrapped. In 2016, Chord toured with Glee season 5 recurring guest Demi Levato and Nick Jonas, opening a series of their Future Now Tour dates. He released a series of singles between 2016 and 2017, along with his debut EP Tree House Tapes in mid 2017. In 2018, he created alt-pop-rock group Overstreet. They released singles “Wasted Time” and “Carried Away” Last month they debuted new song “All Nighter” and their debut album Man on the Moon is due out later this year. They are currently touring around the US at selected cities.
Darren Criss – Blaine Anderson
With a failed audition for Finn Hudson behind him, Darren Criss was cast as rival glee club Dalton Academy’s lead singer, Blaine Anderson, in season 2’s sixth episode, “Never Been Kissed”. Initially a short guest stint as a role model-type character for Kurt, the chemistry between Darren and Chris Colfer and the fan response to both Darren and his debut song “Teenage Dream” soon saw him join the regular cast. Darren made his Broadway debut in a three week stint as J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in January 2012. He went straight from Glee into rehearsals for Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, taking the stage for 12-weeks in 2015. He reprised the role for the San Francisco and LA legs of the US tour in 2016. He has starred in the films Girl Most Likely (2012) and the upcoming WWII drama Midway. The film All You Ever Wished For, which was filmed straight after his first Hedwig run and received limited cinema release, will be available on DVD from next month. Darren teamed up with Ryan Murphy again as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, a role which won him a slew of awards in the past award season including the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG for Best Actor in a Limited Series.
Darren’s first solo tour, Listen Up, played to sold out venues in Glee’s 2013 summer hiatus. He formed the band Computer Games with his brother Chuck last year. They released their debut EP Lost Boys Life and played a few concerts around the US and in Mexico. They are set to release some new tracks over the next few months. Darren released his second solo EP Homework at the end of 2017. He toured with co-star Lea Michele throughout 2018 as well as performed intimate solo sets in London and Sydney. Darren realised a long-held dream in 2015, with the launch of Elsie Fest – a Broadway and pop music festival. The festival has been held annually in New York City. Darren married long-time girlfriend Mia Swier earlier this year. They opened the piano bar Tramp Stamp Granny’s in LA last year.
Guest star Grant Gustin (Warbler Sebastian Smythe – 2011-2013) has gone on to star as Barry Allen/The Flash in The CW’s The Flash and other Arrowverse shows. Melissa Benoist (Marley Rose – 2012-2014) currently appears as Kara Danvers/Supergirl in The CW’s Supergirl and other Arrowverse shows. Becca Tobin (Kitty Wilde – 2012-2015) has starred in a number of Hallmark movies and created the podcast Ladygang with Keltie Knight and Jac Vanek. This has spawned an E! TV series and podcast network. The ladies are about to embark on a limited tour of the US.
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