First Person

Piano man

As the pianist on the Fox musical dramedy Glee, Lexington High graduate Brad Ellis has a front-row seat to one of this season's hottest TV sensations.

(Photograph by Joe Schmelzer)
By Sarah Rodman
June 6, 2010

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You’ve never spoken on the show, but you now have fans starting Facebook pages dedicated to getting you some dialogue. What do you make of that? I think it can only be a good thing, as long as I don’t join them. (Laughs.) There’s this great old bit of wisdom that it’s better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it.

Is that your way of saying you’ll never have a line, not even in the finale on Tuesday? Oh, not at all. Basically, I’ll do what they tell me. If they want me not to speak, that’s working great, and if ever they decide they want me to say lines, I’m fine with that. As an actor, I have a wide range of characters I can play, as long as they’re all exactly like me.

How did you get the Glee gig? A wonderful casting director named Robert Ulrich brought me in to help work with singers and with actors that haven’t done a lot of singing. Singing can make people unnecessarily insecure, and I can usually help find ways around that.

What do you like most about the show as a viewer? I like that it’s really positive. Most fictional things on television that last an hour kill somebody in the first reel and then figure out who did it for the rest of the show. I also think it’s having a positive impact on music in schools and the relationship of kids to actively making music, rather than just downloading it.

Glee has tackled everyone from Madonna to Streisand. Whose music would you like to see featured? I feel like this show has shown classic rock and Broadway to young audiences but also Kanye West to some of the adults. We did “Maybe This Time” with Lea Michele and Kristin Chenoweth in a style similar to the movie [Cabaret], which refers to 1930s jazz styles. We’ve also done one big-band cut. That’s an area I’d like to see more of.

Do you think maybe in, say, season three, we could get a Brad POV episode? Let’s put that in season eight, when they genuinely start to run low on ideas.

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  • june 6 globe magazine cover
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