“It’s like a reunion here,” New York Times best-selling author, “Glee” star and Clovis native Chris Colfer said Tuesday, taking the stage at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre in his hometown for the 13th stop in his “Land of Stories: Worlds Collide” book tour.
Colfer relayed how it felt odd to be back in Clovis as hundreds packed the venue where he stood years ago as a child. “I can’t believe I’m back on stage where I did so many school plays. You may remember my riveting portrayal as Chip from Beauty and the Beast,” he said to laughter and applause.
During the Q&A session, older audience members asked about Colfer’s time at Clovis East High School, where he graduated in 2008, before being cast as Kurt Hummel in “Glee.”
Colfer remembered his drama teacher, who was in the audience, but had a hard time remembering others. Although Colfer has spoken numerous times about the bullying he experienced in high school, one of the characters in his book is drawn from the good teachers he remembers from his childhood. “Mrs. Peters is based off a lot of (my) teachers,” he said.
Colfer has been writing “The Land of Stories” books since he was in high school. The sixth and final book in the series was released July 11.
“The series affected my grades,” he told the audience. “I was too busy writing to do my homework.”
I should come back more often. This is such an ego boost.
Chris Colfer on returning to his hometown
A Clovis woman asked Colfer why he didn’t graduate from University High School, instead of Clovis East. “That was the goal,” Colfer said, “but I didn’t pass Algebra 1. I’m really bad at math!”
One fan, Mary Sue Franklin, said she is proud Colfer has come back to his hometown. “I heard this is what he wanted,” she said. “To come to this auditorium, because he went to school here (at Clark Intermediate School). Then he went on to Clovis East.”
Another fan, Mariana Marmolejo, drove from Hollister and was the first in line at 6:30 a.m. to see Colfer. She’s been to every book tour in the series, meeting Colfer numerous times. “This is the last tour so I thought I’d get my last hurrah in,” she smiled.
Dressed as Mother Goose, a character in the series, the 28-year-old described herself as an “older fan.” Although the books are aimed at middle schoolers, she said Colfer’s writing bridges the gap between generations by bringing childhood fairy tales to a slightly older audience.
“He’s crafted his image very carefully,” she said. “He inspires people. He doesn’t like being a role model, but he helps people whether he means to or not.”
Inside the theater, nearly every word from Colfer elicited applause and excitement from fans. “I should come back more often,” he mused. “This is such an ego boost.”