Lea Michele Refuses to Watch ‘Glee’ Tribute Episode for Late Cory Monteith

Michele has yet to watch "The Quarterback" to preserve Monteith's memory after the actor died of a drug overdose in 2013.
Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Glee
Lea Michele and Cory Monteith

Lea Michele has opened up about remembering late “Glee” co-star and former boyfriend Cory Monteith almost a decade after his passing. Monteith died in 2013 of a drug overdose, and the hit high school TV series dedicated a tribute episode, titled “The Quarterback,” to the actor.

During Michele’s ongoing concert series “An Evening with Lea Michele: Life in Music” tour, Michele recently performed the song she had chosen to remember Monteith with: Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” Michele sang the ballad for the first time since 2013, performing it on July 20 to an audience at City Winery in Washington, D.C.

While it was “wild and hard” to perform the track, Michele shared that “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy asked her to choose a song for her character Rachel to sing to honor Finn (Monteith) in the tribute episode. “I don’t even remember what I was listening to at the time. Like, nothing. I was just in such a hole,” Michele said. “I’m grateful that [Murphy] asked me, because it needed to be something that felt real for me.”

“Make You Feel My Love” was a song that she and Monteith listened to during their relationship. Michele’s real-life discussions with showrunner Murphy also inspired dialogue in “The Quarterback” episode. “A lot of what I say to [Matthew Morrison’s] character in that classroom were exact words I said to Ryan after everything,” Michele added.

And Michele still hasn’t watched “The Quarterback” in its entirety to preserve Monteith’s memory. “It’s the only one I’ve not seen,” the “Funny Girl” Broadway actress revealed of the episode. “Because I think if I don’t watch it, it just kind of feels like Finn is still there. So this [song] is very special.”

Michele and Monteith starred together in “Glee” from 2009 to 2013. The series continued through 2015.

Since “Glee,” Emmy-nominated Michele starred in Murphy’s “Scream Queens” and “The Mayor,” plus an immersive live-to-film concert experience of “The Little Mermaid.” Michele reprised her role in Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” for the HBO Max reunion special, “Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known,” earlier this year.

Michele will take over the role of Fanny Brice in Broadway’s “Funny Girl” on September 6. Until then, current star Beanie Feldstein’s understudy Julie Benko will perform from August 2 through September 4 and every Thursday beginning on September 8.  “Funny Girl” reunites Michele with “Spring Awakening” helmer Michael Mayer, who produces and directs the musical.

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