Thursday, October 27, 2011

Norfolk Actor Lands Gay Love Interest Role on "Glee"

One of the things I advocated for years ago when I was an activist for gifted and talented education was funding for the Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, which served students from Hampton Roads school divisions. The efforts of the parent organization I led at the time also successfully brought several magnet programs to the Virginia Beach public schools. As the Virginian Pilot is reporting, a graduate of the program (pictured at left) has just landed a role on "Glee" as a gay love interest who will try to split up the characters Kurt and Blaine. One of the favorite targets for spending cuts with the Republican Party of Virginia and its Tea Party loon allies is the arts and gifted education which is described as unnecessary frills. With Hampton Roads' exodus of college graduates to more progressive and culturally dynamic cities and regions, if anything funding for the arts and programs such as the Governor's School should be increased to make the area more competitive. Here are some story highlights:

The show will be Gustin's first TV gig, and the 21-year-old talked about the "Glee" job by telephone Wednesday from Los Angeles.

For years, Gustin was a familiar face on the local theater scene. He studied musical theater at The Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk and was a regular performer with Hurrah Players.

"He was with us from the time he was about 9 years old till he was about 18," said Hugh Copeland, artistic director of Hurrah Players. "The fact that he's good-looking and charming supports the talent. He has always worked hard."

On "Glee," Gustin will play Sebastian, a gay member of the Dalton Academy Warblers, an all-male glee club that often competes with the show's central characters, who perform in the group New Directions at the fictional McKinley High in Lima, Ohio.

Sebastian, a popular athlete, sets out to come between couple Kurt and Blaine. The episode will air Nov. 8. . . . . The appearance of Sebastian, Gustin said, will force Kurt and Blaine to decide whether they are meant for each other. The show's producers aren't giving any clues as to what will happen.

"Maybe I will split them up, and maybe I won't," Gustin said. "No one knows yet. I don't even know." Gustin has signed on as a guest star. Whether the role will be recurring or permanent hasn't been decided, the actor said, but he expects it won't be a one-time appearance.

Gustin filmed his first "Glee" episode two weeks ago. "I was a little insecure, because I'd never been on camera and a set before," he said. "But it's a good transition. I get to dance and I get to sing, and that's what I'm used to doing."

Congratulations to Grant Gustin. And shame on the Neanderthals who left negative comments on the Virginian Pilot article. They more than confirm why so many young people with brains and talent choose to leave Hampton Roads (and Virginia) after completing their college education.

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