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In The Pipeline: Joining the 'Glee' club

October 05, 2011|By Chris Epting
  • Caden Michael Gray.
Caden Michael Gray. (Chris Epting, HB…)

Sitting at a local coffeehouse with Caden Michael Gray, it would be easy to think you're conversing with a seasoned showbiz veteran as opposed to an on-the-rise actor.

Then again, both impressions may be accurate.

After all, the recent Huntington Beach High School graduate (last June) who starred in the school's noted Academy for the Performing Arts (APA) program did start his professional career at the age of 12 with the national tour of "The Full Monty," including a nine-month, 42-state trek. He's appeared in numerous other productions, "Hannah Montana," "Out of Jimmy's Head" and countless school musicals.

As a result of all that, Gray speaks with a wise and worldly view of the industry for someone who's just 19.

But then there was his wonderfully electric appearance recently on the season premiere of the pop culture juggernaut, "Glee."

In the season three opener, "The Purple Piano Project," Gray portrayed Gavroche, a high school student in a rival show choir. It may just have been one scene, but oh what a scene it was. Gray knocked it out of the park.

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"Having lines that good just served up on a platter like that was amazing," he said. "It was just a fantastic experience."

He moved here from Fresno in his sophomore year of high school. His mom grew up in the area and had attended Fountain Valley High School. Home schooled up until that point, attending the APA program was a chance for Gray to get into a more regular school routine while also being part of a renowned creative program. He'd still travel to Los Angeles frequently for auditions, and got the call for "Glee" last July.

"I went in and sang 'Anything Goes' and had to learn a tap dance. All they told me is that the kid's character is really enthusiastic and really into music theater. I know that world — I did it for so long. I didn't get a call back for a while so I thought, that's OK, I didn't get it. You just move on."

Then a week later, the call back came. He did the full scene. After another week, the money call came — he had gotten the part and was to report to the set almost immediately.

"We spent one day of intense tap rehearsal — had a day off — then went back and filmed the entire sequence from 8 a.m. 'til about 8 p.m. It was an incredible production day."

Interestingly, Gray grew up with "Glee" star Chris Colfer, who portrays Kurt Hummel, and the two got to share the scene.

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