Get ready, Gleeks. The song that started it all is back to play a major role in Rachel's first run at Broadway on tonight's episode of Glee.
"[Creator] Ryan [Murphy] called and said, 'Rachel is going to have her Funny Girl audition, so she has to do some Barbra Streisand, and then she does something very emotional, but I'm not telling you what it is,'" says Lea Michele with a laugh. "I was like, 'You can't tease me like that!' So he said when she starts to sing, she realizes that she's singing 'Don't Stop Believin',' and all the kids show up in her imagination to support her."
Those "kids" are the core members of New Directions, which means Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith had to slip back into the red shirts, blue jeans and black Chucks of the pilot. "Nothing we've ever done has or will compare to that song. It's genius, bringing it back to the iconic number," raves Monteith, who recently checked into rehab for substance abuse.
In addition to her friends' emotional support, Rachel also receives some much-needed maternal assistance when Idina Menzel returns as her birth mom, Shelby Corcoran. The mother-daughter duo teams up for a little preaudition ditty that should help our girl get into a better headspace before she tries out for her dream role. Back at McKinley, life is far from dreamy after NeNe Leakes brings her firebrand swim coach Roz Washington back to terrorize the Cheerios.
But the episode's real draw is "Don't Stop." According to McHale, "the arrangement is a little different because of the context," but the staging, including Artie's guitar riffing, remains the same. Riley, for one, couldn't be happier: "Now that we've grown so much and have way more complicated choreography, that sequence was simple!"
And even though they've performed the song more times than they can count, it was worth revisiting. "We've done 'Don't Stop' on tour and on the show," Ushkowitz says, "but the way we did it this time was special. And it was cool because we never all get to work together."
For fans, it sounds like the best part may come when Rachel realizes that a certain someone has always been in her corner. "There is that moment between us, the everlasting love that is Finchel," Monteith says, "getting her through." Hold on to that feeling, kids.
Glee airs at 9/8c on Fox.