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Member of Dartmouth Aires Gets a Shot at Television’s ‘Glee’

  • An image that’s part of the history exhibit at the Great Hall shows some of the factory work that was done there.

    An image that’s part of the history exhibit at the Great Hall shows some of the factory work that was done there.

  •  Clark Moore will appear tonight on  Glee.   Samantha Oh photo

    Clark Moore will appear tonight on Glee. Samantha Oh photo

  • The restored Fellows Gear Shaper factory in Springfield, Vt., is home to an art gallery called the Great Hall. It also is home to a health center. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

    The restored Fellows Gear Shaper factory in Springfield, Vt., is home to an art gallery called the Great Hall. It also is home to a health center. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

  • An image that’s part of the history exhibit at the Great Hall shows some of the factory work that was done there.
  •  Clark Moore will appear tonight on  Glee.   Samantha Oh photo
  • The restored Fellows Gear Shaper factory in Springfield, Vt., is home to an art gallery called the Great Hall. It also is home to a health center. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

For every famous Hollywood face, there are throngs of actors who spend years working in the trenches, waiting for the role of a lifetime that may never come. For Clark Moore, that dream role came on his first try.

The Dartmouth senior from Atlanta parlayed his appearance with the Dartmouth Aires on NBC’s The Sing-Off into a guest spot on an episode of the popular sitcom Glee that will air tonight on Fox. Glee’s depiction of the musical outcasts at a fictional Ohio high school has won over millions of fans, including Moore, who’s been a faithful “Gleek” since the first episode aired his senior year of high school.

“I felt like I kind of grew with the characters, and I felt like I was kind of going through a lot of the same things that they were going through, although I was in college and they were in high school,” Moore said in a phone interview this week from Los Angeles. “It’s one of those shows. It’s just so unique. You can’t argue with its reach in the community. It’s really inspirational for a lot of children who kind of feel left out, or feel like the losers. ... Even if it’s just a small part, to be a part of a show that has such an impact on so many lives is just so inspirational and it gives me so much hope for where I can go after this for the rest of my career.”

Moore decided to forego shivering through one last winter in Hanover to spend his winter term in sunny L.A., dipping his toes into a hyper-competitive industry by auditioning for roles in TV pilots and looking for an agent. Little did he know that during the Aires’ successful run on the The Sing-Off in the fall of 2011— they were the first runners-up in the third and final season of the a cappella competition show — his first audition was under way.

Moore, with his distinctive, Little Richard-esque hairstyle and stage antics, caught the eye of Robert Ulrich, Glee’s casting director. While in Los Angeles in May, Moore came to Ulrich’s office for an audition. No roles were available at the time, but Ulrich’s office got back in touch with him in November, “and basically offered me this role,” Moore said.

In tonight’s Glee episode, Moore will sing and dance as a member of Adam’s Apples, an a capella group at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts, the performing arts college attended by Glee characters Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer). The Adam’s Apples are keen on making Kurt a member of the group. “It’s a funny, quirky, band-of-misfits type thing, and it should be a lot of fun,” Moore said. The role is designed to be recurring, Moore added, though he doesn’t know when or if his future appearance as an Apple may air.

Growing up in Atlanta, Moore was frequently cast in area musical theater productions and TV commercials. He auditioned for other film and TV roles as a child, “but nothing really clicked,” he said. So Moore rededicated himself to his studies, and he’s set to graduate from Dartmouth in June with a degree in history, modified with art history.

Once the Aires gained national exposure, though, “I realized that I loved performing so much and that there was absolutely nothing else in the world that I would want to do more, and no other way I could imagine spending time for the rest of my life, career-wise,” Moore said. Participating in The Sing-Off enabled Moore to build a network of friends and professional contacts in Los Angeles. His roommate was a member of a competing group on The Sing-Off, and he regularly hangs out with the show’s former participants and crew members. “It’s kind of created a community, and a network out here for me as well,” he said.

But landing a role on one of his favorite TV shows hasn’t gone to Moore’s head. He realizes that it’s a competitive industry, and he’s maintaining a realistic attitude as he taking baby steps to establish himself.

“My ideal situation would be to be employed regularly. That’s every actor’s dream, to be able to create art and work that they’re proud of, but also to just be able to feel like they have some stability in their career,” Moore said. “So that’s my goal for the first few years. But you know, we’ll see what happens. Hopefully this can kind of lead to another thing as well.”

Katie Beth Ryan can be reached at kbryan@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.