Fox’s ‘Glee’ a Savior to Arts Education

Fox’s ‘Glee’ is a hit, again.

Tuesday night’s return of the singing and dancing series scored its best ratings ever, pulling in 13.7 million viewers, which is a vast improvement over its series premiere numbers last year (9.6 million).

News of a ratings smash should come as no surprise to the millions of dedicated fans, otherwise known as “gleeks.” Social networks are constantly abuzz about the Fox series and watch parties are popping up all over the country.

Perhaps the most obvious fan base is the Broadway community — last year the New York Times mentioned that the teenage cast of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ gathered after their show was over to watch ‘Glee.’ Similar gatherings are still taking place, including amongst college students, as happened last night at an outdoor screening of the show on Columbia University’s main campus.

Who knew that a show that followed a dysfunctional high school glee club, complete with stereotypical characters straight out of a John Hughes script, would turn into a major phenonmon, one that spawned CDs, a national concert tour and a performance at the White House? Certainly not the show’s co-creators, Brad Falchuck and Ian Brennan.

“I thought that it would kind of be like a niche hit that was good and people liked,” Brennan said. “But, somehow it just struck a chord with people, and that is a real, real pleasant surprise.”

What might come as a real surprise, however, isn’t the ratings success or number of record sales, rather a “real world” change that has been occurring in schools around the country.

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