We’ve all heard the cliche terms. Band geeks and theatre freaks. These groups are usually composed of the misfits in junior high and high school that have no place to turn but the dreaded band or theatre room. Cast aside as the losers who are unpopular for their specific interest in music, dance and theatre these students are forced to find solace in instruments, high leg kicks and harmonizing melodies. But the tides are turning. And quickly. With Fox’s new hit “Glee” already in its second season the show is changing the way young teens think about performing arts. Already coined as the “Glee Effect” the show has propelled many normally reluctant teenagers to gladly participate in these not so popular activities. Historically known for its “nerdyness” theatre is now becoming the cool kid on the block…and it all may be thanks to Glee.
Besides their attractive looks, the high school students of William McKinley High School have got some major talent. Dancing while belting out notes that even Mariah Carey would have trouble hitting is normal for the members of the Glee club. Mix in a decent amount of love triangles between the glee students, regular teen drama, and the desire to be the best singing and dancing choral group around, Glee has easily managed to catch the attention of teenagers across the nation. What is extremely unique about Glee is that it incorporates both old and new musical songs to feature on the show. From Broadway’s Les Miserable’s “On My Own” to My Fair Lady’s “I Could Have Danced All Night” the show doesn’t limit itself to just current top chart singles. By putting a fresh spin on some of the hits of the past, Glee has made history by making them popular once again. Now young people are listening to and, more importantly, appreciating iconic musicians that they had never even heard of before Glee hit prime-time television. Thanks to Glee the trash like Rebecca Black’s “Friday” is out and teens are rocking out to Queen, Dionne Warwick, and Aretha Franklin.
High school theatre teachers have noticed a definite increase in the number of students to try out for the theatre productions. Many of them attribute this swell of eager participants to Glee. Some see Glee as a saviour to an art form that was quickly going out of style. No longer are teenagers looked down upon for wanting to sing, dance or act. It’s now something they can celebrate and be proud of. Hopefully, the Glee train will continue to inspire young people around the world to put themselves out there and explore their hidden talents.
Creator of Glee, Ryan Murphy, said it perfectly in his acceptance of a Golden Globe, “this show is about a lot of things…its about the importance of arts education and this [award] is for anybody and everybody who got a wedgie in high school.” Nicely put. As of now, the kids in junior high and high school who were ridiculed for their participation in the performing arts arena can walk with their heads held high. It may be time for “gleeks” alike to give some football players a taste of their own medicine. Can you say role reversal?
Nicole Younger, Marketing Intern