"Glee" Spin-Off to Feature Smith College Glee Club

Becca Damante '17

Arts Editor

Last month, Fox’s hit show “Glee” concluded its six-year run with a heart-wrenching series finale. If you find yourself periodically crying over the loss of offensive jokes and missing the spontaneous musical numbers in which every character magically knows all of the words, melody and choreography, fear not! Fox just announced a spin-off that will premiere this fall, “Glee: Smithie Style,” which will star Smith College’s very own Glee Club!

Jane Lynch, who played tough cookie Sue Sylvester on “Glee,” developed the concept for the spin-off. Lynch visited Smith in 2012 to give the commencement speech and was so taken aback by the immense talent of our Glee Club that she pitched the idea for a “Glee” spin-off to director Ryan Murphy. In a recent interview, she explained, “The minute I stepped onto Smith’s campus, I heard the sweet sound of the Smith Glee Club all the way from Sage Hall, and I immediately thought: spin-off. My ex-wife Lara [Embry] was a Soprano I in Glee Club when she attended Smith, and from her, I knew how much drama the club would brew up for television, especially with their frequent trips to Penn State.”

Soon after, Lynch contacted her distant cousin Emerson Lynch ’15 who, at the time, was a Smith first-year. Over the last few years, the Lynch team has spent numerous hours poring over dialogue, set lists and costumes. Overall, they’ve kept their plans pretty quiet; however, Emerson Lynch recently gushed, “It’s a thrill to be working with Jane. Right now, we’re working on the big opening number of the new season. It takes place in front of the Grecourt Gates, but one unlucky first year unwittingly walks through them!”

Emerson will make an appearance on the show as Glee Club president. Current Glee Club director, Jonathan Hirsh, will also appear on the spin-off, playing a role similar to the show’s beloved Mr. Schuester. While he won’t be featured opposite an antagonistic gym coach like Sue Sylvester, there is another rivalry heating up here on campus. Long-time arch nemeses Grant Moss and Raphael Atlas have been fighting over who will play the inconspicuous yet integral piano player on the show. Atlas has been ruthless in battle. Just last week, he threatened to sabotage the handbell choir if Moss doesn’t back down.

It’s also rumored that some of the show’s fan favorites will make an appearance on the spin-off, including Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris). A few days ago, Rivera cryptically tweeted, “I have a special project coming up with my on-screen lady lover. Can’t wait for Britanna to head to the lesbian capitol of the United States!” Could she be referring to Northampton? Rivera has not been available for comment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she and Morris made a guest appearance in one of the first few episodes of the show. Let’s hope they sing together!

Full track lists for the first season have not been released, but two songs from the pilot episode have been confirmed. The first is Ingrid Michaelson’s “Afterlife,” which will be performed flash-mob style on Chapin Lawn with Ingrid and her full band backing the Glee Club. No musical series is complete without a theme song, though; for “Glee” it was “Don’t Stop Believing,” but for “Glee: Smithie Style,” Murphy chose to go in a different direction. While he did toy with using “Gaudeamus Igitur,” he ultimately rejected it in favor of “The Women of Smith.”v v There’s no better way to honor Smithies than to feature an original composition with the strong message that “Smith women always land on top.”

urrent glee club director, Jonathan Hirsh, will also appear on the spin-off, playing a role similar to the show’s beloved Mr. Schuester. While he won’t be featured opposite an antagonistic gym coach like Sue Sylvester, there is another rivalry heating up here on campus. Long-time arch nemeses Grant Moss and Raphael Atlas have been fighting over who will play the inconspicuous, yet integral piano player on the show. Atlas has been ruthless in battle. Just last week, he threatened to sabotage the hand bell choir if Moss didn’t back down.

It’s also rumored that some of the show’s fan favorites will make an appearance on the spin-off, including Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris). A few days ago, Rivera cryptically tweeted, “I have a special project coming up with my on-screen lady lover. Can’t wait for Britanna head to the lesbian capitol of the United States!” Could she be referring to Northampton? Rivera has not been available for comment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she and Morris made a guest appearance in one of the first few episodes of the show. Let’s hope they sing together!

Full track lists for the first season have not been released, but two songs from the pilot episode have been confirmed. The first is Ingrid Michaelson’s “Afterlife,” which will be performed flash-mob style on Chapin Lawn with Ingrid and her full band backing the glee club. No musical series is complete without a theme song, though; for “Glee” it was “Don’t Stop Believing,” Clarkson Page 7