You wouldn’t expect the stars of “Glee” to be nervous about a little song and dance.
But that’s just how series regulars Blake Jenner and Melissa Benoist feel about putting on their first show together, along with some of their co-stars and friends from the hit musical comedy. The stars will come to Modesto for “One Night Only!” at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Feb. 22. The show is a fundraiser for Jenner and Benoist’s independent film, “Billy Boy,” which is being co-produced by Modesto native and Hollywood casting director Robert Ulrich.
“Nobody is more nervous that I am. I just don’t want to suck,” said Jenner, who plays Ryder on “Glee” and wrote “Billy Boy” last summer. “Putting together our own show is stressful in a fun way. You are worried because you want everything to be perfect. I’ve never really done this before, but it’s really exciting. We want to have a good time with everyone. We want to sing songs we have always loved and wanted to sing.”
Joining Jenner and Benoist will be fellow “Glee” castmate Alex Newell, who plays Unique on the series, and “The Glee Project” alums Lindsay Pearce, a Modesto native who was the first-season runner-up and appeared in two episodes of “Glee,” and Abraham Lim, who was on the competition show’s second season. Joining them will be L.A. comedian Nathaniel Stroud and all of the past Valley’s Got Talent winners, including Shelly Bort, Stop Motion Poetry, The Sensations and Francesca Heyward. Ulrich will host the evening.
The concert will have a variety show format with a mix of singing, dancing, comedy, audience interaction and video skits. Ulrich said the musical repertoire will range from classic standards from the 1920s to modern-day chart hits.
“I think it’ll be a really, really fun, incredible, and joyous evening. ‘Glee’ and ‘The Glee Project’ are like a family. They have remained very, very close friends,” said Ulrich who cast both shows. “Whether on ‘The Glee Project’ or ‘Glee,’ to feel like I am a small, small part of the beginning of what will be huge careers for all of them, that makes my job worthwhile and meaningful for me. And I am close friends with them. It’s like seeing my family succeed. ”
Also a family affair will be the “Billy Boy” production. The indie film is being produced by Ulrich and his son, Cooper Ulrich, with Jenner and his brother, Michael Jenner. Blake Jenner won the second season of “The Glee Project” and joined “Glee” in its fourth season along with Benoist and Newell. The trio are now all regulars in the show’s fifth season and expected to remain so on the series’ final season next year.
Jenner began writing “Billy Boy” last summer while on a trip to the Philippines with Benoist. The two began dating after they met on “Glee” and recently became engaged.
“He had showed me six pages (of the script) this past summer and I just knew automatically that it was something that was from his heart,” said Benoist, who plays Marley on series. “It is really different than what we had been working on in terms of ‘Glee,’ and that was exciting. And not because I am biased, but it’s just a really great script.”
The film is a drama about a troubled young man named Billy (played by Jenner) who meets and falls in love with a waitress (played by Benoist) and then attempts to better himself and his life. They’ve gotten creative to fund the $400,000 or so needed to begin shooting.
In November they launched an online crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. The campaign exceeded its $100,000 goal in December. Ulrich said they’ve raised the amount needed to begin filming thanks to the Kickstarter and private investors, including Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa, who he said “generously gave” to the project. Funds from the Gallo Center show will go toward the production as well.
“It’s been kind of crazy and really cool to see how much support we received from fans of the show and other people who have been supportive,” Benoist said of the film project. “It’s also kind of nerve-racking. It has been a really big learning experience. This is something both of us want to do for the rest of our lives – creating original projects and putting in the work ourselves. It’s really rewarding.”
I’ve added almost 200 HQ photos of Melissa attending recent events!
- Events and Public Appearances > 2013 > December 08: “TrevorLIVE LA” Honoring Jane Lynch And Toyota For The Trevor Project
- Events and Public Appearances > 2014 > January 14: Fox All-Star Party
- Events and Public Appearances > 2014 > January 18: Day For Night Video Lounge @ Huffington Post In ChefDance Space
- Events and Public Appearances > 2014 > January 18: The Variety Studio: Sundance Edition Presented By Dawn Levy
Glee‘s Melissa Benoist has been cast in Whiplash, adapted from writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Sundance-winning short film. J.K. Simmons plays a brutal jazz teacher who unloads his frustrations on a novice drummer (Miles Teller) who begins to lose his humanity in his quest to play with the country’s top jazz orchestra. Benoist just finished filming Imagine with Al Pacino and Annette Benning. She’s repped by UTA, Authentic Talent & Literary Management and Frankfurt Kurnit.
I’ve added over 30 HQ photos of Melissa attending this year’s Fox Eco casino! Thanks to Claudia for some of the photos.
I’ve added the first HQ photos of Melissa at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards!
It’s impossible to ignore the natural charisma of Melissa Benoist, whose dynamic performance as Marley Rose has made her the star to watch among the divas at Glee‘s William McKinley High. Ironically, her first day on set was more like those she spent as a shy student in Denver. “It was a choir scene, and I don’t think I said a word,” she admits. “At school, when it came to being social, I had no idea how to do it.”
Fast-forward a year, and the 24-year-old has transformed into a confident leading lady, belting out showstopping performances of classics like “New York State of Mind” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.” Her charm is so infectious it won over the heart of costar Blake Jenner, the Danny to her Sandy, both on and off the screen.
We clicked on his first day, during a ‘Born to Hand Jive’ dance rehearsal,” Melissa gushes about her real-life romance with Jenner, who plays fellow New Directions member Ryder on the show. “I love talking about it. Blake is amazing!” Despite being all giggles at the mention of his name, she firmly asserts that this is more than just a crush. “The chemistry you see with Marley and Ryder is not acting.”
Glee creator Ryan Murphy envisioned Marley as a relatable girl next door who would face problems common to many teens. “My first week, he said Marley would struggle with an eating disorder,” she remembers. Though conquering such issues on screen is emotionally draining, she says it’s also rewarding. “I still get letters from girls telling me I’ve given them hope. It’s awesome.” She’s come a long way from her days spent watching Judy Garland films with her grandma, but she knows future success isn’t guaranteed. “It’s all extremely hard,” Melissa says of shooting up to seventeen hours at a time. “But if you work your butt off and never settle, nothing will stop you.”
Melissa Benoist has been cast in Dan Fogelman’s Imagine. The actress, who recently was promoted to series regular on Fox’s Glee, will play Jamie, a desk clerk at a hotel frequented by one of her favorite rock stars of all time. The indie pic will shoot on location in Los Angeles. Benoist is represented by UTA and Authentic Management.
Glee is cementing the future of New Directions.
The Fox musical has promoted Melissa Benoist (Marley), Jacob Artist (Jake), Becca Tobin (Kitty) and The Glee Project alums Blake Jenner and Alex Newell to series regulars, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
The news comes days after news broke that New Directions and McKinley High alums Heather Morris (Brittany), Mark Salling (Puck), Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Harry Shum Jr. (Mike) had been downgraded from regulars. The quartet — along with Dianna Agron (Quinn) and Jayma Mays (Emma) — will likely return for guest appearances going forward, as has become the norm on the dramedy. Mays, meanwhile, has already found her next gig and will co-star  in CBS’ upcoming Will Arnett comedy The Millers.
Fox and studio 20th Television renewed the Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk musical for its fifth and sixth seasons in April and the promotions come as little surprise all five have been considered the future of the series as its original core cast marches toward the show’s latest graduation. (Morris’ Brittany graduated in May’s fourth season finale, and the actress’ pregnancy further complicated the ditzy cheerleader’s likelihood of returning .)
Benoist’s Marley has been considered the heir apparent to Lea Michele‘s Rachel within Glee’s New Directions; Artist’s Jake portrays the younger half-brother to Salling’s Puck and her love interest. Tobin was cast as Kitty, the new snarky mean girl of the club and Jenner is the all-American Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) of the group. Newell, meanwhile, plays Wade “Unique” Adams, a transgender teenager with a killer voice. The latter duo first joined the series after winning five-episode arcs on Oxygen’s The Glee Project in seasons two and one, respectively. Oxygen is currently mulling the future of the reality competition series.
Benoist is repped by UTA, Authentic and Frankfurt Kurnit; Artist is with UTA and David Dean; Tobin is with Innovative, Schumacher and Felker Toczek; Jenner is with CAA and Mosaic; Newell is with CESD.
Glee returns for its fifth season on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. on Fox.
Melissa was spotted on location for the Glee season 5 promotional shoot today!
The four newest cast members of your favorite high school musical, Glee, are coming to Manila on June 8, Saturday, to celebrate the launch of Coca-Cola’s newest product.
Glee newbies and fast-rising stars Melissa Benoist (Marley Rose), Becca Tobin (Kitty Wilde), Jacob Artist (Jake Puckerman) and Dean Geyer (Brody Weston) will be making an appearance at the TriNoma Activity Center for the larger-than-life launch that will be held at different locations at once. Mystery crates all over Metro Manila will be unveiled at exactly 2 p.m. to reveal the new Coca-Cola beverage. Enchong Dee, Julia Montes, Joseph Marco and Kathryn Bernardo will also be present to celebrate with Coca-Cola.
Don’t miss your chance to see –– and hear –– your favorite Glee stars live. Registration starts at 12 noon.