The initial main cast encompassed club director and Spanish (later History) teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), Will's wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), and eight club members played by Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Kevin Mc Hale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley, Mark Salling and Jenna Ushkowitz.For the second season, formerly recurring cast members Mike O'Malley, Heather Morris and Naya Rivera were promoted to the main cast.After Tina's proposal to Mike Chang is rejected, Artie promises that if they are both single in ten years that they should marry each other. Mc Hale joined Glee from a dance background, and found it challenging to adapt to using a wheelchair, The episode "Wheels", which places focus on Artie and his disability, drew criticism from a committee of performers with disabilities, who felt that casting an able-bodied actor to play a disabled student was inappropriate.
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Mc Hale explained that the diversity of the cast's backgrounds reflects the range of different musical styles within the show itself: "It's a mix of everything: classic rock, current stuff, R&B. You won't always recognize it." Agron said in a 2009 interview pertaining to her casting session: "I nearly bailed on my audition for the show. With her wholesome good looks, Agron certainly looked the part, but the producers wondered if she appeared too innocent.
Agron said in an interview: "They told me to come back with straight hair and to dress sexier.
Later that week, I started work." The two remain a couple for most of the season before breaking up.
In the third season, Artie, then a junior, directs the school musical and a television special featuring the glee club for the local PBS station.
A number of the principal actors were cast directly from Broadway, while those without theatrical backgrounds were required to demonstrate singing and dancing as well as acting ability.
In casting Glee, series creator Ryan Murphy sought out actors who could identify with the rush of starring in theatrical roles.
The series has many supporting characters, including faculty members, students and relatives of the glee club members.
Broadway stars including Idina Menzel, John Lloyd Young, Jonathan Groff, Phoebe Strole and Kristin Chenoweth have been featured in guest roles.
Instead of using traditional network casting calls, Murphy spent three months on Broadway, where he found Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester), who had previously starred on stage in Hairspray and The Light in the Piazza, Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), who starred in Spring Awakening, and Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang), from the Broadway revival of The King and I.