Hi there, Gleeks! So, we’ve all just finally forgotten about the mish-mash of awesome and infuriating that was season 2 of our favorite musical dramedy, right? Well, if you’re like me, and you can’t help but at least check out anything Glee-related, then this is the article for you! In an effort to keep us all interested enough to come back in the fall, the creators of the show are doing a few interesting things. First of all, there is the Glee Live show, which is currently touring the country. On the recent Cleveland stop, I caught the show with my kids, and I’m here to tell you it’s a blast. More on that in a minute. An offshoot of this show, in case you’ve missed the show in your town, or it’s not headed anywhere close to you, is the Glee Live! 3D! movie, hitting theaters in August. And you just know that a lot of folks who saw the show will still flock to the theater for an encore, combined with goodies they may have missed. It’s going to be a spectacle one way or another.
The other must-see for Glee fans these days is The Glee Project, now airing on the Oxygen network (and streaming on Hulu). I’ve caught the first two episodes, and enjoyed them immensely. In taking 12 talented young people and putting them through a Glee boot camp of sorts, this reality contest takes the best loved elements of Glee and puts them front and center. No maddening plot contrivances or character assassinations to worry about here, just some standard reality tropes (confessionals, everyone living together, editing to set up some heroes and villains), fun challenges and unique personalities. The point of the show is not simply to pick the best singer or dancer, or even to fill some kind of “type”, but rather to find someone that Ryan Murphy and his writing staff will be moved to write a seven episode story arc for during the upcoming third season. I think we might see some sort of catfight between Lindsey and Emily, who seem poised to be the next Rachel and Santana respectively. And Alex is like the next level of Kurt. Beyond them, the remaining contestants would all bring something completely different to the table. It’s also nice to note that, at least so far, the show is largely kid-friendly because it focuses on the song and dance angle, rather than the melodrama and the increasingly adult storylines of Glee. The mentors and coaches on this show are the actual Glee personnel, who have a very vested interested in making the right pick. The final call goes to Ryan Murphy, but his staff is not shy with their input. Plus, Glee stars (regular and guest stars–so far we’ve seen Darren Criss and Idina Menzel) offer a one on one mentoring session with the winner of the weekly “homework assignment”, who then gets a featured spot in the video shoot that rounds out each week. All in all, a perfect summer diversion with a pay off that Gleeks are invested in seeing. Back to the live show, a set list of which is available here (our show did not include ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade”, unfortunately, but also was devoid of “Friday”, which was a blessing.) The well-oiled show ran almost 90 minutes, and did not contain a single clunker. Again, it was pretty much appropriate for all ages and crowd-pleasing does not even begin to describe it. Almost every song intro was met with deafening screams and girlish squeals in equal measure. Speaking of the crowd, there was some stellar people watching. There were many people dressed in t-shirts meant to pay homage to the ‘Born this Way” episode, folks dressed in Warbler blazers, Sue Sylvester track suits and Rachel Berry-esque knee socks and short skirts. The merchandise for sale was varied and plentiful…from big foam fingers and programs, to overpriced t-shirts, Warbler ties and track jackets. If you ever wonder why Glee is renewed despite any ratings dips, one must only point to the massive amounts of show-related merch on display. It’s a testament to capitalism, really.