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Glee hits its 500th musical performance Thursday (9:30/8:30c on Fox), so in honor of that milestone, we decided to make a big production over New Directions’ new powerhouse Melissa Benoist, 24. If you think her Marley Rose is a sweetheart, that’s nothing compared to the delightful Colorado native who plays her.
1. She’s got chops and charm. Called a “ravishing, golden-throated, raven-haired beauty” by none other than Sue (Jane Lynch), transfer student Marley shares an undeniable likability with Benoist. It’s no wonder the character has Jake (Jacob Artist) and Ryder (Blake Jenner) swooning over her. “I wish it was like that in real life,” Benoist says with a laugh.
2. She’s persistent. Even though she was living in New York at the time, Benoist endured round after round of tryouts in L.A. “After, like, seven auditions, it happened,” she says.
3. She rocks. Ditties by Regina Spektor, Colbie Caillat and Glee alum Idina Menzel were among her audition songs, and Benoist also wanted to do something by the Talking Heads. “But that would have been too weird!”
4. She loves her on-screen mom. “Trish [Rae Stahl] is an amazing person,” she raves of the actress who plays much-mocked lunch lady Millie. “That sweetness you see? That’s real.”
5. She gives her costars props. Benoist praises fellow new cast members Artist and Becca Tobin (who plays Kitty) for helping ease her fears when she joined the show. “It would have been very different had they not been there,” she says. “I’m so grateful.”