While Fox's Glee has taken off as a prime-time phenomenon -- solid weekly ratings, massive downloads of the musical comedy's weekly songs on iTunes -- nobody has ridden the wave to stardom faster than Chris Colfer. At just 19, the kid who grew up in Clovis, Calif., a small town near Fresno, has risen to stardom playing Kurt Hummel, one of the few gay characters in prime time. And he can sing. With no professional training, Colfer so impressed Glee creator Ryan Murphy during initial auditions that a character was written specifically for him.

In his first gay press interview, Colfer sat down with to discuss his overnight success, growing up in a small town, and how important it is to be gay in prime time.
Glee creator Ryan Murphy didn’t go the typical route for casting the show. How did you connect with the show and what was your audition process like? What song did you perform?
Chris Colfer: It was very grueling and was probably the most stressful experience I've ever had to go through. Originally I was auditioning for the role of Artie [played by Kevin McHale] and I went in to the casting director and he liked me and put me through to the callback with Ryan and the rest of the creative team. The audition was OK; I was extremely nervous. I don't remember being truly there for the whole thing. Then I got a call from my agent saying that they didn't want me for Artie but they wanted me for this new character they were writing. At the audition the first thing that Ryan said to me when I walked through the door was, "Why do I have a feeling you've been in The Sound of Music?" And I said, "Oh, I was Kurt in The Sound of Music." So I get to the next audition and I discovered the new character that they just wrote is called Kurt. I was a little suspicious of the name and what kind of character it would be, but I was still reading the lines because the character hadn't been written yet. I went through the network auditions and the studio auditions and I got a call later from my agent, who said that I got the role and that the role had actually been written for me.

Did you have to sing during the auditions?

Yes, I had to sing in all of the auditions. In all of the auditions I sang "Mr. Cellophane" [from Chicago], which they also put in the show as well.

Was theater/acting/singing something you’ve always wanted to do professionally?

Absolutely. I'd always wanted to eventually do something on Broadway or do something on TV, but I never thought it would be a mix of both. I'm very fortunate.

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Tags: television