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'Glee's' Darren Criss Talks Broadway, Blaine & Kurt, Debut Album
To say that Darren Criss has been busy the past year would be a teensy bit of an understatement.
It was only 12 months ago that the singer/actor chopped off his shaggy curly locks and auditioned for the role of Blaine Anderson on Fox TV's "Glee." Once he debuted as the out-and-proud, singing-and-dancing Dalton Academy Warbler in November of last year, his life changed forever.
Since then, he's earned a legion of fans courtesy of the landmark role, tons of magazine covers ( including Billboard's) and more animated gif action on Tumblr than thought possible. Not to mention a lot of Billboard chart ink thanks to his Warbler-fueled "Glee" singles and albums.
Lately, Criss' schedule has been nothing but a blur. He recently wrapped shooting his feature film debut in "Imogene," co-starring Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening. And in January, he'll make his Broadway bow in the lead role of the musical "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying," replacing "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe. And while filming "Imogene" in New York, he was jetting back and forth weekly to Los Angeles, where "Glee" began lensing its third season over the summer.
We caught up via e-mail with the multi-tasking (and seemingly never-sleeping) Criss to find out the skinny on "Glee," his own music career, "Imogene," Broadway and more.
Can you give us a hint as to what's in store this season for Blaine on "Glee?"
Well, he's still dating Kurt (Hummel, played by Chris Colfer), and he's still singin' and still dancing his little heart out. Where and why isn't important... or is it? dun dun DUN...
It would seem that Blaine is transferring to McKinley High. How has the dynamic changed for you -- now working full time with the "Glee" club instead of the Warblers 24/7?
Oh man, that question completely undermined the humor of my last answer. So that alone definitely changed my dynamic during this interview. But as for playing Blaine, whether or not I show up at work at Dalton or at McKinley -- I'm in a very lucky position, whereby I genuinely enjoy the people I get to work with in both places. I'm close with the Warblers, and I love the McKinley kids... except ONE. One who I can't stand. And we'll never know who I'm talking about... or will we? dun dun DUN...
Who could possibly come between Blaine and Kurt, if anyone? Some of the best TV romances are those that are terribly complicated.
Yes, they are -- but those are usually straight relationships... Wait, is complicated a good thing? Either way, I think Blaine and Kurt are pretty solid as of now. But then again, we have 22 episodes coming up this season, so who knows what might get in their way. I say, bring it on! Blaine and Kurt are a force to be reckoned with, I feel so lucky that I get to be part of such a killer duo.
What are you most looking forward to when you hit Broadway in January in "How to Succeed?"
Being in the theater again, watching a show grow and change and bend and snap every night (that was a lame "Legally Blonde" reference). I start rehearsals in December, and it's a warm feeling, to think about being part of such a great show at such a magical time of year in New York. But what's even more exciting is that I have several friends in the Broadway community -- behind the scenes and on the stage. So I can't wait to hang out after our shows every night and talk about how our performances went -- celebrate our victories and laugh over our mess-ups.
Your "Human" EP hit the Billboard charts last year -- when can we expect another solo, non-"Glee" album from you?
When I'm not trying to do a TV show in L.A., a Broadway musical in New York, and my laundry at home! Actually, the truth is that I'm always writing, rewriting and recording musical ideas at home or at work. If anything, there's actually already an album out there in my mind, it's a matter of whittling down a large collection of tunes into one, cohesive album I'd be proud of.
Your feature film debut, "Imogene," co-stars Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening and Matt Dillon. No pressure, right? How's it been going so far? Is it totally surreal for you?
I wrapped last week and I'm kinda bummed about it, I had such a good time. It was like getting paid to go to grad school. I was in a master class with artists that I aspire to and truly admire, it made every second of work a complete joy. I never wanted to leave at the end of the day.
Is there one song that's on your "wish list" of tunes you'd like to cover on "Glee" this year?
dun dun DUN...