In its final season, ‘Glee’ tackles an important and timely subject. The series is exploring Coach Beiste’s physical transition from female to male, including a name change from Shannon to Sheldon. Coach Beiste is played by the fabulous Dot Marie Jones.
In a climactic moment, former student Unique Adams returns to perform ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ from the musical ‘Hairspray’. In an earlier storyline, Unique’s desire to be accepted as a female was not always encouraged by her parents or fellow students. "Unique is back to make a little bit of a visit, and she's there to support Bieste and be that rock," actor Alex Newell shares.
Interestingly, the idea for Newell to perform this selection came from the song’s composer. The legendary Marc Shaiman - the genius behind the music of ‘Hairspray’, ‘Smash’, and Bette Midler’s finest moments - requested its inclusion on the series.
“Last July, I saw a YouTube of this blessed child from GLEE singing our song ("I KNOW WHERE I'VE BEEN" from "Hairspray") and I promptly wrote to Ryan Murphy and said "Don't MAKE me go off on you, you'd BETTER have him sing this on the show!". Ryan wrote right back "I will!" And lo and behold here it comes! And let me tell you, prepare ye, Alex sings the holy f**k out of it!”
In the performance, Newell is joined by a 200-person trans choir. GLAAD helped 'Glee' producers recruit the choir from all across the United States. "This really is the face of America and you hope that when people see this episode they'll recognize, 'Hey, they look just like me,’” said Glee executive producer Dante DiLoreto. “This isn't about tolerance, it's about coming home, and coming home to who you really are.”