That brief greeting from Craig Hitchcock, executive director of the The Paley Center For Media, was all it took. A massive cheer rose up from nearly 2,000 members of Glee Nation at a screening of the show and a panel discussion with co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy and cast members at PaleyFest 2010. Saturday's crowd of nearly 2,000 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills was the largest in the 27-year history of the event.
While the opportunity to see the entire cast in person (with the exception of Lea Michele, who had a previous commitment) was the big draw, the audience was also treated to a sneak preview of the director’s cut of the upcoming fourteenth episode. When that was announced, fans broke into sustained applause and cheering that lasted a solid 20 seconds. The Tea Party movement has nothing on the Glee Party movement.
Here are the highlights:
Sue Sylvester Goes "Vogue": An upcoming episode will feature ten Madonna songs, and Jane Lynch just finished shooting what sounds like a shot-by-shot version of the “Vogue” video. Said Lynch: “I started rehearsing this, dance-wise, in December because it takes me 10 rehearsals more than the normal person.”
Kurt Gets A Boyfriend! According to Murphy, “He’s going to be very different, but I think equally as fabulous and I want them to become the power couple of the school.”
Kurt Will Be Busy: Murphy said Kurt masterminds a relationship between his father and Finn’s mother so he can move in with Finn.
Puck’s Mohawk Is Gone. For Now: Mark Salling appeared with close-cropped hair but no Mohawk. Murphy wouldn’t absolutely rule out that the Mohawk was gone forever. “He auditioned with that Mohawk, which was his mistake,” said Murphy. “And we loved it and we kept it in.”
Puck Will Be Busy, Too: The Puck-Rachel relationship will be reignited (Murphy said the couple is referred to as “Puckleberry”). But that’s not all for Puck. Said Murphy: “The great thing that we found about the Puck character that we love is that he’s a great bad boy and we kind of keep him bad. So he actually has an affair with almost every lady on this stage.” At which point Salling put his arms around Diana Aggron (Quinn) and Jayma Mays (Emma), both of whom who were sitting next to him.
Glee Goes Gaga: Get ready for a Lady Gaga number. Murphy said, “She’s arguably the most important pop artist right now. It makes sense for us to do her. We reached out to her and she said yes, I’d love it, I love the show.”
Hello Jonathan Groff: In the screened episode, the Tony-nominated actor played a member of a rival glee club who gets involved with Rachel. They duet on Lionel Richie’s “Hello.” Speaking of his Glee experience, Groff said, “It was so inspiring to come into this company and feel totally embraced. And to know that in the middle of this huge perfect storm, this phenomenon of a show, is a group of people that are just so humble.”
Neil Patrick Harris Guest Stars: According to Matthew Morrison, Harris will play a high school rival of Will’s. “And now he is a member of the school board and he’s going to try and bring Glee Club down,” said Morrison. “Like that hasn’t happened a million times!” The two will duet on an Aerosmith song and a Billy Joel number in an episode directed by Joss Whedon.
Forget Idol. Go For The Glee: Murphy said the show will soon be launching a website where people can upload audition videos in which they sing a song that’s been performed on the show. “And from those auditions we will pull three or four cast members for next year.”
Ryan Murphy On Kurt: Kurt and his father are based on Murphy’s own relationship with his dad. "I’m not particularly interested in seeing that kid get gay-bashed" Murphy said. "I’m not interested in seeing him being picked on. I’m interested in him winning and him being popular and him being a survivor and him being a role model to so many gay kids who watch the show and see that character and say I can be that."
Chris Colfer (Kurt) On Going Home Since He's Been on the Show: “It's interesting. A lot of the people that weren’t nice to you claim to have been your best friend. I find that fascinating because I don’t…forget…easily.”
Murphy on Glee’s Evil Forces: Speaking of Jane Lynch as Sue and Jessalyn Gilsig as Terri Schuester, he said, “We really see the damage that makes someone hard. And you see a vulnerability. I think they’re both so talented and they do such a great job and that it’s hard to be on a show that’s so optimistic and to be a dark force. ... The show could not be what it is without it.”
What Amber Riley (Mercedes) Would Say To Simon Cowell: Once rejected by producers early in the Idol process, Riley now has the final say: “Nanny nanny boo boo. I didn’t meet Simon Cowell. I’m really glad that they told me no. It was the best no that I’ve ever gotten in all of my life because it made me work harder. It was very traumatic at the time. Now I’m working for Fox and I get paid to sing and I get to work with these wonderful people.”
Matthew Morrison On Broadway vs. Television: “They’re two different beasts. Broadway is hard because you’re doing it live eight times a week, so you really have to be on your game. But this… we work 14-16 hour days. Again, it’s two different animals. I can’t say one is harder than the other but definitely the hours are ridiculous. It’s insane.”
... Murphy said his favorite episode was “Wheels” and that it came about because “I think I just had the idea that I wanted to see ‘Proud Mary’ in a wheelchair.”
... Morrison said there’s a story behind the porcelain wiener dog that appears in some shots in the choir room. It once belonged to one of his favorite English teachers.
... A basic test for whether a joke has crossed the line or not is to determine whether a mother viewing the show would keep watching or turn off the television. Among the lines that didn’t make the cut was, “Shut your mouth before I rape it.”
... Coldplay and Bryan Adams are among the artists who didn’t give permission to have their songs used on Glee. But Murphy said permissions have become much easier to get. “Now it’s different because the music has been such a success. When we do a song on the show, the original always re-charts. So in the past six months, it’s totally different. People call you up and say, ‘Please, can you put my music on?’”