The "Glee" cast is taking its show on the road. Fox's Golden Globe award-winning high school musical has announced a seven-date U.S. "Glee Live! In Concert!" tour, kicking off in Phoenix, Ariz. on May 18 -- just over a month after the show's anticipated return to television.
"This has been such an extraordinary year for 'Glee' and I can't think of a better way to finish up the first season than performing live on stage with the cast," said cast member Leah Michele, who plays hyper-ambitious glee club soloist Rachel Berry on the show.
"The response of the fans to our little show has been so immediate and so gratifying, we wanted to get out and thank them live and in person," said "Glee" co-creator Ryan Murphy.
Rumors of a "Glee" cast tour had been circulating for weeks, ever since Cory Monteith, who plays football quarterback Finn Hudson, broke the news on his Twitter page. "This show has changed my life in so many ways," said Monteith. "If you had told me a year ago that I'd be performing classic rock songs in concert theaters around the country, I would never have believed you. We are psyched!"
As "Glee" fans -- known as "Gleeks" -- have grown in number, so has the popularity of the show's music, which is made available for download after each episode. The top 10 songs recorded by the Glee Cast have sold a total of 4.5 million digital downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- 677,000 of those belonging to the cast's version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." The full soundtrack albums have also seen strong sales: "Glee: The Music, Volume 1" has sold 730,000 copies since its November 3 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while "Glee: the Music, Vol. 2" has sold 529,000 since December 8.
The "Glee" tour setlist will feature a live performance of "Don't Stop Believin'," other group number highlights like "Somebody to Love" and "Jump," and memorable solo performances including "Don't Rain on My Parade" and "Sweet Caroline." Cast members lined up for the tour include Michele, Monteith, and their fellow performers who play glee club members on the show: Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones), Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel), Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang), Mark Salling (Noah "Puck" Puckerman), Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray), Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike Chang) and Dijon Talton (Matt Rutherford).
"Glee" tour tickets go on sale to the public Mar. 18 for the Phoenix date and Mar. 13 for other cities; pre-sale tickets are available on Friday (Mar. 5) for American Express cardholders.
As for the television show, "Glee's" first season returns to Fox on Apr. 13, while production on season two will begin following the "Glee" tour.
Here are the "2010 Glee Live! In Concert!" tour dates:
May 18: Phoenix, Ariz. (Dodge Theatre)
May 20: Los Angeles, Calif. (Gibson Amphitheatre)
May 21: Los Angeles, Calif. (Gibson Amphitheatre
May 25: Chicago, Ill. (Rosemont Theatre)
May 26: Chicago, Ill. (Rosemont Theatre)
May 28: New York, N.Y. (Radio City Music Hall)
May 29: New York, N.Y. (Radio City Music Hall)