Kevin McHale plays Artie for the last time tonight in the series finale of Glee (airing on City), but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down. McHale stars alongside Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates in Boychoir (in theatres now) about a boys’ music academy and its demanding choirmaster. As he leaves his big-break role behind, McHale filled us in on behind-the-scenes BFFs, learning to wheelchair dance, and travelling mishaps from his five favourite episodes of Glee.
For obvious reasons, this episode holds the closest place in my heart. We were all getting to know each other—cast, crew, everyone—and it was all so eye-opening. We had no idea if the show would work, but we loved making it and loved each other. We also were figuring out how to deal with shooting a musical number and listening to it 60 times in a day. Needless to say, “Don’t Stop Believing” is really hard for me to listen to now.
Season 1, episode 9: When the glee club experiences life as Artie does from his wheelchair
This was my first big storyline, and I was best friends with Jenna Ushkowitz by this point and we were so excited about it. There was a day on set where we filmed all of our one-on-one scenes and it has gone down forever as the “Jenna & Kevin Day.” We were really still discovering our characters and dealing with everyone trying to cope with dancing in wheelchairs. They all discovered it’s not as easy as it looks. WELCOME TO MY WORLD!
Season 1, episode 19: When Artie dreams of being a dancer
1) I got to get up and dance. I was terrified that I had forgotten how, but it was so much fun and we filmed it in the middle of a real mall, which was scary. The show hadn’t been on long yet so most shoppers had no idea what was going on. 2) Joss Whedon. Need I say more? He directed it, pre-Avengers. He was magical and I loved every second of it.
Season 2, episode 14: When the glee club learns about underage drinking firsthand
This ep may or may not have been inspired by true events. Shhh. It was incredibly fun to film. We hadn’t done anything like that up to that point. New sets, and getting to play these characters outside of school was really fun, and we obviously were playing it up. It’s my favourite episode.
Season 2 finale: When the glee club goes to New York to compete in the national show choir competition
We got to actually go to NYC to film this, which felt like a dream! I missed my flight on my way there—I thought I was going to get fired. It felt really great to all be together out on streets filming this show that had now become popular. There were crowds following us everywhere and it felt like we were shooting guerrilla-style.