Darren Criss Talks Mixing Cabaret With Coachella for New York's Elsie Fest

Christopher Polk
Darren Criss photographed while performing.

Darren Criss is no stranger to pop tunes and Broadway, having spent years as part of the singing-and-dancing cast of Glee, as well as starring in the musicals How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Now he's taking his love of pop and show tunes down a new avenue, by co-executive-producing (and performing at) the day-long Elsie Fest, an outdoor concert celebrating the music of stage and screen. The show will take place Sept. 27 in New York at JBL Live at Pier 97.

When Criss called in to the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, he described the show as the "Coachella of show tunes" but says the tag "is sort of a tall order" for their "humble operation." Still, he wants to inject "that outdoor festival vibe" (food trucks, beer, and so on) with the "playfulness and quasi-elegance of a cabaret show." (Listen to the podcast below.)

"I loved playing Disney tunes in punk-rock bands," Criss says. "I liked fusing things together that were cool to me on both sides of my brain."

Criss will take the stage at Elsie Fest, which will also feature his pals in StarKid, along with Aaron Tveit, Lea Salonga, Laura Osnes, Seth Rudetsky and Leslie Odom, Jr.