Chris Colfer grew up performing in community theater in Clovis, CA, appearing in such classics as The Sound of Music and Oliver! A three-time speech and debate champion in high school, Colfer was president of the writer's club and combined his love for writing and musical theater together to pen and direct a musical spoof of Sweeny Todd called "Shirley Todd." Colfer embarked on a professional acting career after high school and auditioned for his idol, Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy, for the role of the guitar-playing, wheelchair-bound Artie on Glee. Murphy was so impressed he didn't give Colfer the part. Instead, Murphy created a role just for Colfer that Murphy based on his own early life, that of the fashion-conscious, gay Kurt Hummel. It was Colfer's first professional job. He was nominated for multiple acting awards for his work on the show. In 2010 he voiced one of the dogs in the live-action version of Marmaduke. In 2012 Colfer wrote and starred in an indie film, the blackly comic high-school-set Struck By Lightning, which played at the Tribeca Film Festival.