The success of musical based tv shows have been quite rare these days. Shows like Eli Stone and Cop Rock never quite found their audience. However, the creators of Glee managed to find the right balance of comedy and drama with outstanding musical numbers.
By eliminating the “randomness” of the musical numbers and highlighting not only classic songs but modern hits, Glee became an instant hit. Known for its extremely talented cast and epic mashup covers, the series went on to achieve cult status with its most dedicated fans calling themselves Gleeks. The series also achieved more popularity with its famous guest stars coming from stage and screen. The series regularly produced soundtrack albums with songs featured on the show as well as original songs. The show’s popularity even led to the cast performing at events around the country as well as the Glee Live! In Concert! Tour. In addition, the tour would be highlighted in the big screen movie Glee: The Concert Movie.
Fans of the series turned in for the amazing musical numbers, high school drama, and the beloved characters. However, many people haven’t seen some of the behind-the-scenes of the making of the series. In this article, we'll highlight some of the “making of” pictures you might not have seen from the series’ original run. These pictures highlight the friendships and relationships between the cast of Glee and may add a new perspective to your view of the show.
From fantastic celebrity appearances to on-set selfies, here are 23 Behind-The-Scenes Photos from Glee That Change Everything.
23 The Early days
Glee creator Ryan Murphy knew from experience how powerful music could be to people. Having been a member of show choir in college, he experienced a love for music and performance earlier in life. The series served as a “happy place” for audiences to escape the harshness of the real world. He stated, “Everything's so dark in the world right now, that's why 'Idol' worked. It's pure escapism."
Given the popularity of American Idol already on Fox, it is no surprise that the series got the green about 15 hours after being submitted.
22 A Family Affair
The character of Sue Sylvester become one of the highlights of the show. Her quest to bring down the Glee Club turned into her obsession for most of the show. She was portrayed as being conniving, ruthless and pretty heartless, in the beginning. However, we began to see her softer side as the seasons progressed and she learned to love others like family.
In real life, Lynch even worked with some family members on set.
Here she poses with her niece, Megan Doyle, who worked as a production assistant on the show for three years. Lynch proudly shared this photo on her Twitter account back in October in 2012.
21 Quinn and Kurt get cozy
Characters Kurt and Quinn came from very different social groups at their high school. With Quinn being on the popular side and Kurt being the frequent target of bullying by the football team, the two seemed unlike to ever be in the same social circles. However, once they came together for the Glee club, the two slowly formed a friendship with one another.
Not only did the two characters become close onscreen, but the real-life stars did as well. The love between Quinn and Kurt originated from the close friendship between actress Dianna Agron and Chris Colfer. Here, the two share a sweet moment during filming for season 1 of the series. We live for Kurt and Quinn moments like this!
20 Bundled up in the choir room
The Glee choir room became more than just the practice area for the group. In this room, the members were able to share their thoughts, dreams, and frustrations without the fear of being judged. Although there have been a few tense moments over the years, the room remained a place for the team to be themselves and express their true feelings. Fans were treated to many amazing musical numbers and mash-ups over the years in the four walls of this room.
Even in this behind-the-scenes shot, the cast looks at ease and very comfortable in the beloved room.
The choir room truly became the heart of the show and will always remain a special place for cast and crew.
19 The Mini Versions
The appeal of Glee came from not only the powerful musical performances but also the relatability to the cast. Each character portrayed a specific archetype often found in the halls of any regular high school. From the popular football players to the neglected outcasts, audiences could easily find a member of the group that they could relate to. Although we grew to love the diverse cats over the years, we couldn’t help but love the mini version of the Glee club even more.
During the episode “The Substitute” we see the Glee stars posing with the mini versions of themselves when Will starts hallucination from being sick. Double the Rachel, Santana, Puck, and Mercedes? Yes, please!
18 The Cast That Lunches Together...
The various storylines of Glee brought the characters together in a variety of ways. The real issues tackled on the show sometimes pitted the character against one another. Whether there were heartbreaks, break-ups, or betrayals, the characters managed to repair their differences and forgive one another. That type of bond existed between the actors in real life as well.
Though there have been reports of a couple of rivalries onset, the majority of the cast remained close throughout the series.
In this photo, we see the cast hanging out on their way to have lunch together. Even after the series concluded, the majority of the cast remained in touch and still hung out together. We hope the Glee bond will stay for years to come.
17 Bringing The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Glee
Given the musical theme of the show, the audience expected the cast to cover some of the most popular songs in music today. Along with pop songs, Glee tackled some of the great Broadway shows of all time. Included in that spotlight was the cult favorite The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Although many people expected Ryan Murphy to take on the directorial job for this production, the position actually went to Hairspray director Adam Shankman. He proudly dropped the hint of his position on his Twitter account alongside stars Cory Monteith and Lea Michele. Along with being a choreographer, Shankman also served as a judge on the fellow Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance.
16 Chris Colfer Takes The Lead
Kurt Hummel had some amazing development over the course of Glee. After coming out to his family and friends, we watched as he grew to become more confident with who he was. We even see Kurt finally find love with former Dalton Academy Warbler Blaine Anderson. However, much like his onscreen persona, Colfer also gained confidence from stepping beyond the role of just actor.
Colfer tried his hand at writing for the show.
He notably wrote the season 5 episode “Old Dog, New Tricks” in 2014. This wasn’t his first attempt at script writing, though. Colfer penned the 2012 film Struck by Lightning and starred in the lead role. He also has another script in the works for the movie The Little Leftover Witch.
15 Glee’s 100th Episode
Creating a musical-based comedy TV show like Glee definitely started out as a risky move. This unique concept for a show could have failed immediately given its limited appeal. However, the overwhelming charm of the series plus the powerhouse talent of the cast made the show irresistible. The popularity of Glee skyrocketed fairly quickly and soon took on cult status.
When the series hit the 100th episode mark, they pulled out all the stops to celebrate this momentous occasion. Director Paris Barclay stepped in to helm the show. The episode also saw the return of many members of the original cast. Included in the special guests were fan favorites Gwyneth Paltrow and Kristin Chenoweth.
14 The Epic Christmas Episodes
Although the regular episodes of Glee never failed to be entertaining, the holiday specials were definitely a favorite for Glee fans everywhere. The season 3 Christmas Special served as the directorial debut for actor Matthew Morrison, who played Will Schuester on the series.
This episode contained a whopping nine songs during the episode including the original piece "Extraordinary Merry Christmas". Each of the songs performed on the show was released as singles along with eight of them being included in the soundtrack album Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2.
In this picture, we see many of the female stars posed in front of the huge Christmas tree used on the show.
There’s nothing like a Glee holiday special!
13 Blaine's Family
Not only did Glee tackle the issues many students face during high school but also their lives at home. From divorce to adoption, the writers of Glee made sure to include a full scope of home life for these kids. In the episode “Big Brother”, we take a look into the family of Blaine when his older brother Cooper, played by Matt Bomer, comes to town. The two had an unspoken rivalry that came to a head during the episode.
Actor Dylan Sprayberry portrayed the young version of Cooper in the episode. In this behind-the-scenes photo, we see the young Anderson brothers together, with Ravi Sinha Smith playing the young Blaine.
12 The Legendary Britney Episode
One of the most talked about episodes of the series focused on pop megastar Britney Spears and her music.
The highly anticipated episode put Glee character Brittany at the spotlight for many of the musical numbers.
Fans also anticipated the episode because of actress Heather Morris’ extensive experience as a backup dancer. The popularity of the episode increased significantly when it was announced that Britney Spears would make an appearance in the episode also. They covered some of Spears’ most popular songs including “Baby One More Time”, “Toxic” and “Me Against the Music”. “Britney/Brittany” quickly became a fan favorite thanks to the talent of Morris and the show-stopping cameo from Spears herself.
11 Glee Girls Do The Time Warp Again
In terms of unforgettable characters, costumes and musical numbers, The Rocky Horror Picture Show certainly stands at the top of any list. “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” paid tribute to the 1975 movie with all its over-the-top musical numbers and characters. Included in the cast were stars from the original film including actor Barry Bostwick and singer Meat Loaf.
Although Glee would pay tribute to other musicals over the years, this episode served as the first of its kind for the series. The show did its best to give the popular musical the high-quality tribute it deserved, down to the costuming, dialogue, and musical numbers. With the exception of Puck being a part of the storyline, the rest of the cast did a fantastic job in the episode.
10 Their Real-Life Halloween Costumes
The costuming department of Glee always went all out for the series. Whether it was dressing the cast for their normal “everyday” outfits or fashioning amazing outfits for the themed performances, the fashion from the show became legendary. However, the casts’ outstanding costuming didn’t just stop on the show. Off the set, the cast managed to make headlines with their outfits as well.
Much like the outlandish costumes used for episodes like the Halloween special, the stars went all-out for Halloween in real life.
In the past, the cast has dressed in coordinating outfits from The Rugrats, DC Comics, Star Wars, and Super Mario Bros. Above, they are shown in their best Looney Tunes costumes for Halloween 2012.
9 Saying Goodbye In Season Five
The episode “New Directions” served as a bittersweet episode for the series as a whole. As s the second part of the epic 100th episode, the plot saw the end of the Glee Club at their high school. The story also featured the graduation of the seniors from high school, leaving behind their time with the Glee Club.
Many characters did not appear again during season 5, including Puck, Quinn, Kitty, and Jake. Also, some characters were reduced to only guest appearances on the show going forward. Guest characters April Rhodes, Holly Holliday, and Marley Rose also made their final appearances on the show. During the episode, audiences were treated to a duet between Rachel and Santana performing “Be Okay” by Oh Honey.
8 Graduation 2013
Although fans loved the original cast of Glee, the plot of the story set up the seniors of the group to eventually graduate. As such, some members of the show eventually leave, making room for new Glee members in the future.
Fans watched as Becky, Brittany, Artie, Blaine, Sam, and Tina graduated from high school.
Before graduation, the Glee Club share their final moments together in the choir room reflecting on how much the organization has meant to them. The culmination of their years of hard work and dedication to the club finally came to an end. The episode ended with Will taking one final look at the beloved choir room and eventually shutting off the lights.
7 Memories with Cory
The loss of actor Cory Monteith was a devastating blow to the show. Not only did it affect the cast but the crew of the series as well. In fact, it was his passing that led to the conclusion of the series. However, during this time on the show, the actor shared many tender moments with his cast mates.
Back in 2010, late actor Cory Monteith shared this sweet photo of Rivers, Morris, and Colfer on his personal Twitter account. The love between the close cast members has grown since the first days of the show. The stars shared their best memories with Monteith after his passing in 2013 and have made an effort to remain close to one another to this day.
6 Star Wars Greatness
Season 3 of Glee brought in some familiar faces for its Christmas Special that year. The mid-season finale took a page from such legendary Christmas specials such as The Star Wars Holiday Special and The Judy Garland Christmas Special. This inspiration even led to the inclusion of one special character from a galaxy far, far away!
Fans were surprised to find out that Chewbacca would be included in the Glee special episode.
George Lucas gave special permission to the show to use the character and even flew the character actor down to film for the episode. Although we didn’t get a dancing and singing Chewie, fans were blessed with candid photos like these with the cast and the Wookie.
5 The Rumored Rivalry
The growing popularity of Glee affected its cast members in many different ways. Some established stars become even more popular thanks to the show’s success while relatively unknown actors came into a new spotlight. However, with that increased popularity reportedly came inflated egos and diva demands.
Rumors circulated about a growing rivalry between Michele and Rivera over the years. Although the stars avoided talking about these issues in various interviews, tabloids continued to report on their onset issues. The rivalry reportedly continued even through the final season of the show.
It’s hard to take these rumors as facts when we have behind-the-scenes photos like the one displayed above to prove otherwise.
Whether there was a true feud or not is still only speculation (with a brief mention in Rivera’s book Sorry Not Sorry)
4 Lea and Chris bond
The relationship between Kurt and Rachel began as bitter rivals. With both singers vying for the top spot in the Glee Club, they often clashed over just about everything. With time, the two began to look past their rivalry and found they had quite a bit in common. Their passion for singing and music helped them developed a strong friendship that lasted throughout the series. The pairing of the two powerful singers led to some of the most beloved duets on the show, including their cover of “Defying Gravity” and the mashup “Get Happy/ Happy Days Are Here Again”.
Off-screen, the two stars grew closer over the years, with their onscreen friendship flourishing in real life.
3 Long Live Sue Sylvester
The designated “villain” for Glee was cheerleading club coach Sue Sylvester. Known for her devious ways and snide personality, she soon became one of the main reason to tune in to Glee. Week after week, she tried to take down the annoying Glee club and its club leader Will. She even bullied students in her spare time in her position.
Although mainly shown as being ruthless and cold-hearted, viewers often saw her softer side with her interactions with her sister Jean. Many of the heartfelt moments between the two siblings made the audiences fall in love with the character even more. In the picture, we see Jane Lynch (who played Sylvester) posing for their upcoming Christmas episode on Halloween of 2012.
2 The Unique Season Six Plot
Season 6 of the series deviated from the normal plot of the series just a bit. The final seasons served as a focus on Rachel’s life as she returned home from failing as a TV star. Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter, "It really [will be] a lovely, fitting season that … dwells on the original people that were on the show and what happens to them and how they give back. That really is the last season. … We'll revisit some of the new kids that came and went. There's a return of the Jane-Matt characters in a big way. It's really interesting, a very sweet, satisfying ending to the story."
Rachel also made it her mission to restore the Glee Club back at her alma mater.
1 The Finale
After the passing of Monteith and his tribute in the episode “The Quarterback”, creator Ryan Murphy decided to bring a close to the series. Season 6 marked the end of the cult series with 121 episodes and almost 730 musical performances completed. Glee found the right mix of comedy, drama and, of course, musical performances, to appeal to a modern audience. Whereas other musical programs had failed to find a fanbase, Glee managed to capture its audience with its humor and overwhelmingly talented cast.
The two-part season finale highlighted both the present and past of the Glee Club and included a look at the reason why the original five members decided to join in the first place. The final reunion of old and new cast members brought the perfect conclusion to the series.
What's your favorite memory from Glee? Share in the comments!