The “Glee” ratings were probably helped by the fact that the show featured a heavily hyped guest appearance by Neil Patrick Harris, the Emmy-nominated star of CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” and a respected stage veteran whose credits include Assassins, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd and Rent. Harris played Bryan Ryan, a school-board director who’s out to cut the glee club’s funding but who tearfully admits he has a secret stash of Playbills in his basement and sees Broadway shows several times a year on the pretext of business.
Harris/Ryan performed two duets with Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) – “Piano Man” and “Dream On.” Other songs featured in the hour included “Daydream Believer,” “Hey Big Spender,” “Safety Dance,” “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” “I Dreamed a Dream” was performed by Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and rival glee-club director Shelby Corcoran (Tony Award winner Idina Menzel), giving viewers a strong clue into the identity of Rachel’s birth mother. Recurring guest stars Jonathan Groff and Molly Shannon also returned for the episode, which was directed by Harris’ “Dr. Horrible” web-series director, Joss Whedon.
Next week, “Glee” returns with “Theatricality,” an episode featuring an anticipated tribute to Lady Gaga. The gaudily dressed songbird’s hits “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” will be featured, along with “Beth,” “Shout It Out Loud” and “Funny Girl.” Menzel and Groff will return for the episode.