We all know or are someone who watched Glee back in the day. The hit FOX series – set in the William McKinley High School – followed the student members and adult affiliates of a glee club, and is basically a cult classic at this point.
With a new documentary out focusing on the so-called “cursed” legacy of the show, people are once again – and not for the first time – interested in the actors behind the infamous series.
So, let’s cycle through the main cast (with some fairly obvious omissions) to recap what they did and where they went after the series ended in 2015.
1. Lea Michele as Rachel Berry
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Rachel is, in many ways, the face of Glee, and Lea has certainly seen her fair share of success since the series ended. Currently starring as Fanny Brice on Broadway in the musical revival of Funny Girl, Lea has also released three studio albums and authored two books. She reunited with the team behind Glee when she appeared on Scream Queens, and also starred in the ABC TV series, The Mayor.
It’s also worth noting that Lea has been the subject of numerous controversial allegations since the show ended. In 2020, former co-star Samantha Ware accused her of racist bullying, and season four actor Dabier Snell also shared that Lea exhibited exclusionary behaviour on set. Several Glee alum – including Heather Morris, Amber Riley, and the late Naya Rivera – have supported Samantha and Dabier’s accounts that Lea was “unpleasant” to work with.
2. Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester
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Will was the earnest, Justin Timberlake-esque teacher behind the New Directions (the glee club) at William McKinley High. Shortly after appearing in the series, Matthew joined the original Broadway cast of Finding Neverland as J.M. Barrie until 2016, and appeared as the Grinch in NBC’s 2020 production Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical Live!. He has been a judge on The Greatest Dancer and So You Think You Can Dance, released three studio albums, and also reunited with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk when he starred in season nine of American Horror Story.
3. Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones
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Mercedes is best known for her spectacular voice and her long-standing rivalry with Rachel. After Glee, Amber went on to originate the lead role of Effie White in the West End debut of Dreamgirls, for which she won several awards. She also briefly became part of a supergroup called the Leading Ladies with fellow West End performers Beverley Knight and Cassidy Janson. Amber’s debut album Songs from the Stage was released in 2017, which she followed up with an EP under the name of RILEY in 2020. She has also appeared on the musical theatre talent show Let It Shine as a judge, and last year she won The Masked Singer US.
4. Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson
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Another breakout Glee star is Darren. After joining the series in season two, fans became enamoured with his voice and acting and… Face, to be honest. Darren has continued to collaborate with the creators of Glee on the likes of American Crime Story and Hollywood, which he also executive produced. He was also an executive producer and star on the musical comedy series ROYALTiES, and has released a solo album and three EPs. In 2015, Darren played the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and last year he performed in the Broadway revival of American Buffalo.
5. Heather Morris as Brittany Pierce
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Let’s be honest, Brittany was the best character on the show, and a comedic character for the ages! Since Glee, Heather has continued with her comedy on the likes of Comedy Bang! Bang! and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, as well as her dancing, which she has showed off on GLOW, Dancing with the Stars, and The Masked Dancer. Heather has also appeared in Most Likely to Die, Ice Age: Continental Drift, I.R.L., and Folk Hero & Funny Guy.
6. Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel
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Chris’s portrayal of Kurt on Glee was both iconic and important. Since the show ended, Chris has been busy appearing in the likes of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and Hot in Cleveland. He has also been working on several unreleased projects, including a TV show called Indigo and a biopic about Noël Coward. Chris’s biggest endeavour since Glee is undoubtedly his work as an author. He has penned a whopping 18 books, including several novels in his bestselling YA series, The Land of Stories.
7. Kevin McHale as Artie Abrams
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Artie is an OG member of the New Directions known for his vulnerable yet resilient personality. An amazing singer, Kevin released his debut EP in 2019, and also continued acting post-Glee, appearing in the docudrama When We Rise, as well as Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s AHS spin-off series, American Horror Stories. From 2014 to 2016, he hosted British panel show Virtually Famous, and in 2019, he began a Glee-oriented podcast with former co-star Jenna Ushkowitz. It began as Showmance, but has since been retitled as And That’s What You Really Missed.
8. Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang
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Jenna played perpetual wallflower Tina in Glee. Besides her podcast with Kevin, Jenna has been busy with all sorts of projects, including founding a podcast network and appearing on Broadway in Waitress and The 24 Hour Plays. Jenna has won two Tonys for her work as a theatre producer – once in 2018 for Once on This Island and again in 2020 for The Inheritance. She has also appeared in movies like Hello Again and 1 Night in San Diego. An adoptee herself, Jenna co-founded Kindred: The Foundation in 2014, which aims to provide support to adoptees and their families.
9. Dianna Agron as Quinn Fabray
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Quinn was the bitchy cheerleader who stole all our hearts with her vulnerability. Since Glee, Dianna has worked primarily in film (mostly indie movies), appearing in The Family opposite Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as Bare, Shiva Baby, The Laureate, and As They Made Us, to widespread acclaim. She starred in McQueen on the West End, and has also done several residencies as a singer at the Café Carlyle in New York.
10. Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang
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Dancer extraordinaire Mike started off as a background character but made his way to the front of the class with the rest. After Glee, Harry has taken on more TV roles in the likes of Shadowhunters and Grey’s Anatomy. He has also appeared in movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, All My Life, Love Hard, and Crazy Rich Asians. Regarding the latter, Harry will play the lead in a follow-up film focussing on his and Gemma Chan’s characters.
11. Jayma Mays as Emma Pillsbury
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Jayma played Emma, a guidance counselor who was struggling with mysophobia. Known for her acting in a variety of popular series, Jayma continued working in TV after Glee, appearing in Trial & Error, Getting On, Great News, and The Millers. She has also appeared in movies like Disenchanted, American Made, the Paul Blart movies, and The Smurfs movies during and after her tenure in Glee.