Idina Menzel Shares Honest Thoughts About Glee Making Her Play Lea Michele’s Mother

idina menzel as shelby corcoran on glee
(Image credit: YouTube)

Idina Menzel has had a very successful career, ranging from the Broadway stage to the big screen to Arendelle as the voice of Elsa in Frozen, but some may know her best for her role as Shelby Corcoran on Fox's musical dramedy Glee. Menzel played the mother of Lea Michele's Rachel Berry, and now Menzel has shared her thoughts about playing Michele's mom.

Shelby Corcoran was first introduced in the 14th episode of Season 1 as the coach of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline. It was later revealed that she was actually the birth mother of Lea Michele’s Rachel. Although Rachel was only in high school in Glee, Michele was actually 26 at the time, making her just 15 years younger than her on-screen mother. Idina Menzel revealed to InStyle how she felt about her role as Michele’s mother and how it could have worked if it were a tad different:

The scene that was the most memorable [on Glee] was probably singing 'I Dreamed a Dream' with Lea Michele. She was 26, and I probably should've been her older sister. But I don't have a chip on my shoulder about that.

Idina Menzel was in a total of twelve episodes of Glee and played a pivotal role at the end of Season 1 when she adopted Quinn and Puck’s newborn daughter, Beth. It makes sense that the Broadway star felt a little off about the casting, as the age gap isn't very large, but it does make things better that she still doesn’t have a chip on her shoulder. That "I Dreamed A Dream" moment that she referred to about singing with Lea Michele might be one of my favorite performances on Glee, and there’s a lot.

Besides, Glee often didn't make a whole lot of sense, but fans could overlook it to enjoy the ridiculous ride packed with great performances and singing stars. A 15-year age gap between a mother and daughter isn't unfathomable but I can definitely see where Idina Menzel is coming from. That storyline was a memorable one and it showed where Rachel got some of her love for Broadway and singing. Although Menzel's time on the show as Shelby didn’t last too long, it was nice to get a bit of a backstory.

There have been rumors about a potential Glee reboot, so would Idina Menzel come back to reprise her role? It’s hard to tell but it would be something if it was revealed that Shelby is actually Rachel’s sister and not her mother, but that is a little dramatic, even for Glee. You can revisit Menzel's time on Glee with the full series available streaming on Netflix now. 

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.