FIRST LOOK: Glee's Biggest, Craziest, Most Expensive Show Ever

 Joe Pugliese

The new Hollywood Reporter goes behind the scenes as the Fox hit relocates its already complicated production 3,000 miles away to NYC.


It's a two-unit day back in Los Angeles: while the girls shoot a hotel-room scene at Paramount, Morrison is the solo star of a reflective moment. His character Will, standing alone on a Broadway stage (re-created at downtown L.A.'s Million Dollar Theater), ponders the age-old question, "What if?" with a song -- his own. It's the first time Glee has incorporated original music by one of its stars, but "Still Got Tonight," off of Morrison's debut album (out May 10), presented the perfect sentiment. "It's about aspiration," Murphy says. "We've seen Will be this dreamer."

As for Morrison, spotlighting his single brings both extra pressure and satisfaction. "I want my songs to hold up as part of the great work we do on Glee," he says. "This song is very theatrical; you could see it being part of a big moment." Murphy, who directs the scene, upped its presence.

"It's that moment when he has to think, 'Which am I going to pick -- going out for my dream and possibly failing or being a teacher?' " Murphy explains. "It's sort of how I see the difficulty in being a teacher in the arts."

The scene oozes sentiment as light streams in from the top of the aisles and Morrison, ever so wistfully, looks back on how far he's come. It's an appropriate closer for Murphy, too, who cheerfully guides the crew of 60, most of whom have worked on Glee from the very start. "They love the message, they love to sing and dance, and more than any other crew out there, they talk to people about what the show means to them and their kids," he says between takes. "Nobody ever thought a television musical could work, let alone be sustained. They do the impossible every week."     

GLEE-NYC: By the Numbers

  • 40: Production members flown in from L.A.
  • 60: Local crew hired
  • 9: NYPD officers on duty in Times Square at $61.77 per hour per officer
  • 2: NYPD film/TV unit officers supplied free of charge
  • 50: Hotel rooms booked for Glee crew and cast
  • 2: Horses employed for Central Park scenes
  • 10: Paparazzi on average, per day
  • 48: Hours for finished script to arrive after shooting began
  • 300: Fans who watched Times Square shoot
  • 1: Days costumer had to find 26 outfits
  • 12: Shooting hours on longest day
  • 10: Total NYC locations

-- Additional reporting by Lacey Rose and Lesley Goldberg

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