‘Glee’ Premiered 10 Years Ago Today: Where Are the Stars Now?

The cast of Glee, the Fox musical dramedy about a high school glee club, went through many changes over the years. But when the series first premiered on May 19, 2009, the leading actors were the six actors below (plus six others). In honor of the 10th anniversary of the pilot, let’s take a look at where they are today (in alphabetical order).

The original members of New Directions from the Glee pilot
The original members of New Directions from the Glee pilot | FOX via Getty Images

Chris Colfer

Colfer was one of the youngest actors on Glee, as he was actually a teenager when the show began. It was his first TV role, and the character of Kurt Hummel was created especially for him. Colfer remained on the show as a main cast member through the series finale.

During Glee’s run, Colfer began to branch out a bit, appearing on two episodes of Hot in Cleveland. After the series ended, he wrote and starred in his own film, Struck by Lightning. He also had a main role in the UK comedy Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

Kevin McHale

Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy sought out cast members for the show from theater and musical backgrounds. McHale, who starred as Artie Abrams, was in a boy band NLT before landing the role. The actor stayed on the series in some capacity through Season 6.

McHale hasn’t done much of note since Glee came to an end. He was the host of British game show Virtually Famous from 2014-2016 and appeared in the film Boychoir in 2015. McHale also had a role in the miniseries When We Rise created by Dustin Lance Black. He has returned to his musical roots as of late, with the song “Help Me Now.”

Lea Michele

Michele portrayed Rachel Berry, the catalyst for the glee club. Her character (sort of) evolved from a fame-obsessed teenager to a young adult who wanted to help others achieve their dreams. Michele remained on the series through the final episode.

Since Glee ended, Michele has gone on to try new things as well. She starred on the Fox horror-comedy Scream Queens (from the creators of Glee), as well as the short-lived ABC sitcom The Mayor. Michele has also written two books and put out two albums. At present, she is starring as Ariel in the Hollywood Bowl’s production of The Little Mermaid.

Cory Monteith

Sadly, most fans of Glee know what happened to Cory Monteith, who played football star Finn Hudson. In between filming Seasons 4 and 5 of the series, Monteith, who had recently been struggling with substance addiction, passed away from an overdose at the age of 31.

When the show returned, they honored him and his character in an episode titled “The Quarterback,” as well as briefly in subsequent episodes. At the time of his death, Monteith was in a relationship with his Glee co-star, Lea Michele.

Amber Riley

Riley, like many of her co-stars, has a musical background. In fact, she auditioned for American Idol when she was just a teenager. She was also brand new on the scene when she landed the role of Mercedes Jones on Glee — which has continued to be her most notable role to date.

Since the series ended, Riley has done quite a few different things. She was the winner of Dancing with the Stars Season 17. She also acted in the 2018 film Nobody’s Fool and performed in a West End production of Dreamgirls. At present, Riley has been performing her own music in concert.

Jenna Ushkowitz

Finally, Ushkowitz, who also came from a theater background, portrayed Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee for the first five seasons (she recurred in the final one). Unlike the rest of the cast, she had done quite a bit of work prior to being cast, appearing in Broadway productions as a child.

Since the show ended, Ushkowitz has continued to act, while also moving behind the scenes. She was a co-producer for the 2017 revival of Once on This Island, which earned her a Tony Award. Ushkowitz appeared in the film Hello Again and is currently filming One Night in San Diego. Additionally, she hosts a podcast, titled Showmance, with McHale.

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