I’m sure by now you have heard that Glee lead actor Cory Monteith passed away Saturday at the age of 31. Reports came in Tuesday that the autopsy revealed Monteith died from a mixture of heroin and alcohol.
You see, while Glee is not traditional theatre, I consider it an important feeder program of sorts. Many of the actors and actresses of Glee, the most well known being Lea Michele, had Broadway careers prior to Glee. Furthermore, I know several kids currently in Pittsburgh’s performing arts schools that have told me that Glee is an important driving force for their careers.
Because of this, Monteith’s death is going to throw Glee into very hard situation. Finn was a main character, and his relationship with Rachel Berry (Michele’s character, for those who don’t know) was a huge part of the show. Removing that key part means a piece of the show’s soul is gone. It’s hard to keep a show going after something like this.
Also, there is concern that Michele will not be able to continue with Glee. For those who don’t know, Michele and Monteith were a couple both on and off-screen. It’s hard to go back to work at the place you met your boyfriend right after he died.
But the bigger, overlying problem I see continues to be death by drug overdose. Monteith is the latest in a long list of actors, both onscreen and onstage, that have died because of drug overdose and substance abuse.
Obviously, there is a problem with young artists using drugs to deal with various stressors. Glee has helped develop the dreams of the rising generation of stage actors, and Monteith was an idol to many boys who dream of the male lead.
Drugs, specifically heroin, in this situation, has killed too many artists, and the usage of such recreational drugs needs to be eliminated from the top down.
That being said, my heart goes out to Monteith’s family, the Glee cast, and really anyone who looked towards Monteith for inspiration. He was an amazing talent, and will be missed.