Glee Stars' Side Projects

Matthew Morrison, the coach of America's favorite group of singing students, releases his first solo album Tuesday. From landing big screen roles to penning screenplays, see what else the Glee cast is up to when they're not filming the Fox hit.

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Matthew Morrison

As the coach of William McKinley High School's New Directions, the singing group featured on Fox's hit series Glee, Will Schuster has taken a back seat to his students. And as his character is currently grappling with his own quest for fame, the actor who plays him, Matthew Morrison, is entering the spotlight with his own self-titled album this week. "This is the hardest I'm ever going to work in terms of trying to be noticed and seen," 31-year-old Morrison told The Hollywood Reporter. "I've worked so hard on it, I wanted to give it its due." It's also been reported that the actor will be singing one of his own songs on the upcoming season finale of Glee on May 24 in an attempt to promote Matthew Morrison. "I want to be like the next Gene Kelly," he told Us Weekly of his cross-over efforts. "I want to kind of do it all."

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Chris Colfer

Twenty-year-old Chris Colfer has emerged as the unexpected star of Glee as the proudly openly gay Kurt Hummel. "I'm so happy to be a part of something that is so new and different and so needed at this time," Colfer told the Los Angeles Times before the show even launched. "It's good to have something positive, especially for kids in small towns, like myself, who need a little pick-me-up." But now, he has plenty of pick-me-ups: Colfer's portrayal of Kurt has connected with international audiences and even earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor earlier this year. Colfer has also been busy behind the scenes: He recently sold a pilot called The Little Leftover Witch, based on Florence Laughlin's children's book of the same name, to the Disney Channel and wrote and will star in an indie feature called Struck by Lightning, with Saved's Brian Dannelly directing.

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Lea Michele

Rachel Barry, New Direction's Barbra Streisand wannabe, is their lead soloist and she is not afraid to go after what she wants—and seemingly, neither is the young woman who plays her, Lea Michele. The 24-year-old New Jersey native started her career on the Great White Way and originated the lead role in the Broadway production of Spring Awakening. But since taking on the role of self-centered Rachel on Glee, she's moved on from New York, both literally and figuratively. Michele landed the gig of Dove Hair spokeswoman and also heads to the big screen shortly: Michele voices the lead role of Dorothy Gale in the animated Dorothy of Oz, due out in April 2012, and she appears in Garry Marshall's Valentine's Day spin-off New Year's Eve, scheduled to be released later this year, as a backup singer for her hometown heroes, Bon Jovi.

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Dianna Agron

The actress behind Glee's cheerleader-turned-baby-mama-turned-prom-queen-hopeful Quinn Fabray was one of the first to capitalize on her newfound fame. Dianna Agron nabbed a small role as the girlfriend of Christina Aguilera's love interest in Burlesque in 2010 and then starred in the 2011 sci-fi action thriller I Am Number Four, which introduced her to her rumored boyfriend Alex Pettyfer. The 25-year-old beauty has also become a bit of a fashion icon and has aspirations of taking some time behind the camera. Agron recently told Marie Claire: "I sold my first screenplay six months before Glee, but they had the option for a year and now it's back with me. So I'd like to get that made. I wrote it during the writer's strike when there weren't any auditions— I now know every coffee shop in L.A."

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Cory Monteith

As Finn Hudson, the male figure in Glee's most prominent love triangle (with Quinn and Rachel), Canadian-born Cory Monteith has become the unofficial spokesman for dim-witted jocks with hearts of gold. When Glee was on hiatus, Monteith had the opportunity to film Monte Carlo with Disney star Selena Gomez and Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester, which is due out in theaters this summer. The 28-year-old actor also shot a film called Sisters & Brothers and has reportedly signed on for an untitled workplace comedy, which was picked up by Fox 2000, Deadline.com reported. And when he's not in front of the camera, Monteith is sitting behind the drums for his indie rock band Bonnie Dune because he clearly can't stay away from the music.

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Mike O'Malley

Though a slightly younger generation knows him as the host of Nickelodeon's Get the Picture and GUTS, Mike O'Malley went on to become a sitcom star on Yes, Dear and now, Kurt's realistically loving, accepting dad Burt Hummel on Glee. His heartfelt performance earned O'Malley an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series and some serious acting cred in Hollywood (though he can also be seen in Time Warner digital cable commercials). But O'Malley could soon be moving on—he'll appear in the Miley Cyrus movie So Undercover and is also set to play the lead in the comedy pilot Family Album, about a passionate former jock who has a breakthrough on a family vacation that prompts to "bond the crap out of his family," Deadline.com reported.

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Jayma Mays

Jayma Mays is known for giving some nutty advice as the obsessive-compulsive guidance counselor Emma on Glee, so it's only natural that she'll try a hand at guiding some blue outcasts around New York. Mays signed on to be in the live action/animated hybrid The Smurfs. But it sounds like Mays' isn't leaving her McKinley High issues behind: she plays the pregnant wife of Neil Patrick Harris, who guest-starred last season as the rival of Emma's love interest, Will Schuster. How's that for incestuous?

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Jane Lynch

For this Christopher Guest movie regular, Glee has become somewhat of a side project itself for Jane Lynch. The comedian plays McKinley's tracksuit-wearing former cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, who won an Emmy for playing New Direction's biggest enemy. Though she's been in the business for quite some time, the high-profile role on Fox's hit series has certainly helped her move on to even bigger projects: she hosted Saturday Night Live, nabbed a role in The Three Stooges movie, and is currently penning a memoir. She's also a spokesperson for LG's Text Ed and voiced characters in Shrek Forever After and recent hit Rio. Seems like Lynch has just reached her peak at 50.