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Darren Criss/Blaine Anderson

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I agree with those who say the Hedwig team know what they are doing. Darren didn't get the part on the day they made the announcement. He had the role for months before that and most likely working and proving himself in those months. If they didn't think he can hack it, they would have said "no thanks" within those months and the public would never even know Darren was in the running in the first place. We also don't know what those changes and re-writes mean. Darren's not really *that* famous, and sadly, have many haters. I really can't see them (especially JCM) ruin their show and reputation for him. 

 

And no, I am not a Darren "stan." I can take him or leave him. I do feel sorry for the kid though. Both his fans and haters are scary.

Edited by Snow Apple
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I wasn't saying there could be no discussion about Darren's role in the show because let's face it, there's already been quite a bit from the moment the press release came out announcing he'd be doing the show. It's just personally, I read the comment and as I said, I really thought it was quite vague. All I really got is that changing leads on a show every three months is always a challenge which I would think is obvious, Mitchell is really excited for and rooting for Darren and wants to add somethings to the show specifically for Darren.

 

In my opinion, it is quite a leap to go from that to "he will be mediocre, a giant fail, Mitchell clearly knows that, knows it was a mistake to hire him and now they're trying to cover their asses." Like mercfan3 noted, for all we know those new additions specific to Darren may just be something that he's good at that Mitchell thinks will be fun to add to the show. I don't know and I'm not going to pretend I do - I just don't think the statement was damning enough to jump to these giant conclusions. 

 

Right, there has been absolutely nothing negative said about Darren previously. They knew who they were hiring. And now, just because they mentioned they'd like to make a few changes with Darren in mind, it means he's doing poorly? It's just a silly rush to judgement. And more likely, people are hoping that's what the comment means rather than what it actually means. 

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I don't hate the guy with the heat of a thousand suns like many, but when I read those comments it feels like expectation setting to the Broadway crowd. Fans of his can take it as some kind of neutral they decided to talk about how changes are being made to show off his skills, but it's not what it reads as to a long time follower of that world. They're setting the bar low. 

 

It had to happen. This is an insanely hard and demanding role. He barely held up in How to Succeed in Business and that's a cake walk by comparison. More than half my church choir could nail that role, and we're most anybody willing to show up for rehearsals. This takes more than charm and enthusiasm. Good on him for landing a dream role where they're willing to hold his hand and make it work, but this is some Tim Gunn level make it work stuff.

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Keys are lowered for established Broadway actors too. It happened for Matt in " The Light in the Piazza" and now " Finding Neverland." Granted those occurred before the shows actually opened, but still. It doesn't always indicate a lack of talent.

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Yeah, key changes happen all the time. This isn't just a key change, and they almost never publicly warn audiences about a simple key change. This is something else. I'm not as convinced as others that Darren's run will be a total faceplant. They seem determined to avoid that, but at what cost? Defanging the role might keep the show alive, but it's unlikely to be as impressive a show. The thing I find most damning is the promise that the tour version won't be the very special Darren version. If it was some kind of creative lightbulb moment that improved on the show, they'd do it in all subsequent versions. This is the very special tv guy gets to play on Broadway version and we'd rather not hurt your ears. 

 

I'm fairly sure it'll sell well and he'll probably live to do another show, but it's still messy.

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Yes, people haven't noted changes announced for NPH, Michael C. Hall and Andrew Rannells in such a manner -- that's why they think it may be more than key changes-- but indeed it's not quite clear what from the quote. Just speculating here: if they didn't change more than some keys for the previous leads, who are all Broadway vets, pretty good to great actors, and known commodities able to handle lots of stuff -- while they want to do actual rewrites for Darren, Occam's Razor tells me they either want to fan up the interest through novelty changes, or need to tweak to make his casting work (better), or both. But we can't predict what the outcome will be until his run opens, and the reviews and box office numbers are out.  People will go see him of course. The creators said they wanted to attract different audience, and I think they will, to what extent and final tally remains to be seen. 

Edited by fakeempress

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I just think it's more likely that it's a bit of novelty stuff for Darren. Those comments don't read as lowering expectations. They read as making Darren a special snowflake. Perhaps they are a warning that the show won't be identical, but even that..I mean..knowing they'll be key changes (and people really need to understand that higher is not necessarily better. A person who can sing from B2 to B5 has just as impressive of a range as someone who can sing from E3 to E6) what else could they possibly change to make it easier for him? (Serious question. What might be necessary to change for those who have seen the show..) I suppose they could change the way the melodies slightly..but even then..only the most diehard fan of the show would notice (and, that's not even abnormal. I can't tell you how annoying it is when Elphaba doesn't sing the high note at the end of defying gravity..)..and it's not unusual. So, this rewrite isn't about singing. 

 

It's not going to be about acting, cause he'll have to act whatever he puts in there. 

 

Perhaps choreography..but once again, they know what he can do there..and wouldn't have hired him if his lack of ability was going to detract from the show. 

 

It just seems like a lot of negative jumping to conclusions. Darren, IMO, is not a big enough name to really be a "stunt" cast. Sure, he's got some name recognition, and he's going to pull some fans..but it's not like Tom Hanks or Bradley Cooper...he has to be able to actually do the musical or they wouldn't have bothered hiring him, because I'm sure there were many others at Darren's celebrity level interested in the part. 

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The original script has already been "sassily tweaked" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/theater/hedwig-and-the-angry-inch-stars-neil-patrick-harris.html) to accommodate [the depth-challenged acting and singing skills of] NPH, whose OTT performance of "Sugar Daddy"

(

) couldn't be more different than creator JCM's ( https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vUPT1mmONW0 @ 36:25). Who knows, maybe Darren will be able to restore some common humanity to the title role. Edited by Higgs
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The original script has already been "sassily tweaked" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/theater/hedwig-and-the-angry-inch-stars-neil-patrick-harris.html) to accommodate [the depth-challenged acting and singing skills of] NPH, whose OTT performance of "Sugar Daddy"

(

) couldn't be more different than creator JCM's ( https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vUPT1mmONW0 @ 36:25). Who knows, maybe Darren will be able to restore some common humanity to the title role.

LOL did you actually read what the tweaks were? It's about updating the script not to accommodate NPH but the passage of time since the show was first produced these many years ago, with more current references, including the name of the theatre where the show takes place.

 

The show also allows ad-libs (which are not rewrites, but ahem, ad-libs on the spur of the moment and as a reaction to the audience of the night), which now come in handy since JCM plays with a leg brace due to his torn meniscus. 

 

I guess the common humanity has already been restored, if it was ever lost, because the creator JCM is the current Hedwig. As to what Darren will bring to the role that the other actors before him failed to do, we'll have to wait and see, don't we. I wish him and everyone else to be able to get the kind of review NPH got from the NYT in the article you linked.

Edited by fakeempress
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NYTimes: "Well, you start with a sassily tweaked script, which has the title character taking over the Belasco for one night — following some, er, gentle persuasion of a Shubert Organization producer — after the premature demise of its previous tenant, “Hurt Locker: The Musical.” This allows the witty designer Julian Crouch to come up with a ludicrously extravagant set, which depicts a besieged cityscape frozen in midexplosion. Then you bring in Mr. Harris ... you dress him up in fab over-the-top rock goddess outfits ... with flashy wigs and makeup ..."

"Ludicrously extravagant" also descibes NPH, here and elsewhere. So, yes, it was done to play to NPH's "strengths" and the tastes of a typical Broadway audience. The point is that there already has been enormous latitude allowed in Hedwig's characterization (e.g., JCM's accent, Nazi salute, and goosestep) and that Darren might do it in some other way need imply nothing regarding his ability to succeed in the role.

Edited by Higgs

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NYTimes: "Well, you start with a sassily tweaked script, which has the title character taking over the Belasco for one night — following some, er, gentle persuasion of a Shubert Organization producer — after the premature demise of its previous tenant, “Hurt Locker: The Musical.” This allows the witty designer Julian Crouch to come up with a ludicrously extravagant set, which depicts a besieged cityscape frozen in midexplosion."

"Ludicrously extravagant" also descibes NPH, here and elsewhere. So, yes, it was done to play to NPH's "strengths". The point is that there already has been enormous latitude allowed in Hedwig's characterization (e.g., JCM's accent, Nazi salute, and goosestep) and that Darren might do it in some other way need imply nothing regarding his ability to succeed in the role.

 

LOL "Then you bring in Mr. Harris.." means exactly the opposite of what you suggested about hiring NPH and then tweaking the script specifically to accommmodate him. These tweaks are in the current script for all the Hedwig actors of this revival, because they are there to update references in the text as current for today's public. As the review also mentioned further down:

"you may feel that our Hedwig is improvising as she riffs on subjects that now include the history of the Belasco, social media and Anderson Cooper. She’s not.."

 

But thank you for linking the review. Especially:

"Playing an “internationally ignored song stylist” of undefinable gender in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Mr. Harris is in full command of who he is and, most excitingly, what he has become with this performance. That’s a bona fide Broadway star, the kind who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid."

 

That's why I said I wish any actor to be able to get this kind of review from the NYT. 

 

Just for comparison, NYT's reaction to the Darren casting so far is: "whether he is enough of a draw to fill seats for 12 weeks as Hedwig, especially as “Glee” has faded in popularity, remains to be seen." 

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"Playing an “internationally ignored song stylist” of undefinable gender in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Mr. Harris is in full command of who he is and, most excitingly, what he has become with this performance. That’s a bona fide Broadway star, the kind who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid."

From the NY TIMES:

How in the world is that a bad review of Neal Patrick Harris turn as Hedwig?

Here's a few more on NPH:

Hollywood Reporter

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/neil-patrick-harris-hedwig-angry-698195

The big question from the start was whether Neil Patrick Harris could sing the hard-driving glam rock-meets-punk score of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. And would the former Doogie Howser be able to go as far out there as the title role of the embittered East German singer with the botched sex-reassignment surgery demands? The swift answer on both counts is that Harris is beyond fabulous, holds nothing back and plays it any way but safe in Michael Mayer's exhilarating production.

Variety:

http://variety.com/2014/legit/reviews/broadway-review-hedwig-and-the-angry-inch-starring-neil-patrick-harris-1201161271/

It’s astonishing how polished a physical performance Harris gives. Channeling his inner Rockette, along with Iggy Pop and Lou Reed by way of the Ramones, he carries off some advanced dance and acrobatic moves, while showing a lot of shapely leg. In “Hedwig’s Lament,” the diva returns to her constant complaint of being cut up into pieces — torn from her true love, from her musical partner, from her divided homeland, from her missing penis, from her beloved wigs. But in Harris’ bravura performance, she manages to integrate about 30 years of rock musical styles. Which ain’t peanuts.

Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/sc-hedwig-broadway-review-column.html

Hedwig Schmidt surely would never have imagined her tired body would be brought to life on Broadway, no less, by a star of the magnitude of Neil Patrick Harris, a song-and-dance man of stunning charm and talent.

Reviews of Neil Patrick Harris lauding his performance go and on and on. Think he also won a Tony.

 

Higgins posted:

Who knows, maybe Darren will be able to restore some common humanity to the title role.

Wishing Darren well, but somehow I don't think he's restoring the "humanity" to the role of Hedwig that inescapably eluded Neil Patrick Harris.

I mean FUCK.

Edited by caracas1914
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I never said the NYTimes review was bad. I provided links to actual performances by the creator and NPH. No one here has yet given their personal opinion of those dramatically different characterizations and whether there might be room for Darren to add his own. Uncertainty voiced in the press regarding Darren's assumption of the role has been about ticket sales (which dropped significantly after NPH left), not talent. For the record, I am not a fan of Darren's singing, his acting has served the intentions of Glee's writers and directors, I avoid all things Klaine, and "Rise" was the only thing I liked in tonight's episode. I hope he succeeds in Hedwig as it will redound to the prestige and acceptance of all Glee alumni.

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You linked the article to argue NPH got rewrites to accommodate him specifically, when the article suggests nothing of the kind.

Then you say Darren will restore the common humanity of Hedwig lost by NPH -- despite there being three other performers between NPH and Darren, including the original Hedwig himself, JCM, who are very able to restore it if it was ever lost. 

There is always room for Darren and other successors to provide their own interpretations, But the initial conversation was about JCM mentioning rewrites to accommodate him specifically, which hasn't happened with the previous actors. Anyway, people who've seen more than one cast change in this revival have noted how each actor's style brought out different nuances. The creative result in Darren's case still remains to be seen, we just don't know yet. The creative result for NPH is available in the excellent reception by both critics (judging by the reviews) and the audience (judging by the ticket sales), as well as the Tony award. 

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It's very possible that the Hedwig people are less interested in Darren being "great" and want him to fill the theater for his twelve week run. So long as Darren is at least passable (so that he doesn't totally offend the non-Darren stans who may be watching) and he's got enough of his fan base with their asses in seats, that's probably fine by them. It's not as if the show has any awards to shoot for at this point and as others have pointed out, it's already made back it's investment so the goal at this point is to keep the theater filled so that they can continue raking in the profits. At this point, I think that Darren's "talent" is probably a secondary consideration to the belief that he can be a draw.

 

But that is the big question - does he have enough fans to fill a theater for more than just a few weeks (the way his last run was)? RIght now, seats are still readily available for all his performances. I would have expected that a least his opening night would have been sold out after the announcement was made, but that doesn't appear to be the case. At the very least, Darren needs to maintain the current audience per show (about 85%) but I'm sure that the producers want to see better numbers to justify his presence.

 

And for Darren, this is going to be the big test. Does he have the chops to play a lead role over an extended period and does he have enough of a fan base left to keep a theater filled over the long run. I may not think he has the talent to do the part, but less talented performers get cast all the time when they are profitable. This is what I think they are really looking at - can Darren bring in an audience and keep Hedwig alive. If audience share improves, remains flat, or drops, then we'll have an answer.

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1. You linked the article to argue NPH got rewrites to accommodate him specifically, when the article suggests nothing of the kind.

2. Then you say Darren will restore the common humanity of Hedwig lost by NPH ...

3. The creative result for NPH is available in the excellent reception by both critics (judging by the reviews) and the audience (judging by the ticket sales), as well as the Tony award.

2. I said "maybe".

3. I can read the professional critics' opinions, including the praise accorded him by the NYTimes (not so admiring of his voice that MM buried on Glee) which I went out of my way to find. But I still haven't read a single opinion by anyone here re: NPH v.JCM.

1. I was wrong about NPH being specifically considered with respect to the "sassy tweaks". Nevertheless, when a show transfers to the bigger Broadway stage and the sets, costumes, makeup, context, stage directions, etc., are changed, actors are brought in that are a fit to the new concept. If the author makes chnages to accommadate a different personality in the lead, my first assumption is that it will be done to make the show at least as good, in a NEW perspective, not a LESSER one. There is nothing sacrosanct or inviolable about a Broadway rock musical. This ain't "Parsifal". When Bartlett Sher chose Lauren Ambrose as Fanny in the planned FG revival, it sure as hell wasn't going to remotely resemble Streisand's shtick. He even said he was planning to restore songs cut from the original.

Anyhoo, break a leg Darren, although, to be honest, I'd rather see Lea do Hedwig as a man in a completely gender-reversed production. You sneer? Rewatch the Glee pilot and think, "She had never once done comedy before."

Edited by Higgs
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I have seen many shows over the years and several shows more than once (so I had the chance to see the show with different casts). I have never heard of a show being re-written in any way for an actor taking over a role for a limited period late in the show’s run. It’s really hinting that Darren just isn’t up to the job and they are actually altering the show to try to make it work.

 

So no, Darren is not getting rewrites because he’s so amazing that they have to give him new material to play with. They’re rewriting things because Darren apparently can’t perform the part the way that multiple other actors had managed to before him. 

 

You may have seen many shows, but obviously you don't know Hedwig very well. I've seen NPH, Andrew Rannells, and JCM. NPH and Rannells stuck more or less to the same script (though performed it very differently) and JCM rewrote a big chunk of the book for himself. Not only to take into account his knee injury, but other jokes and added audience participation bits. You can't really "dumb down" Hedwig. It's monologues interspersed with songs. There is no one else to take the brunt off of Darren; he still has to fill that time himself. And the big emotional beats can't be taken out of the material because they're necessary for the song setups and the plot. JCM's quote sounds way more to me like he is talking about tailoring jokes and bits to Darren. I bet anything there will be meta about his age because he is without a doubt very young for the role. Part of the fun of Hedwig is how each performer embodies the character differently and puts their own twist on it.

 

 

what else could they possibly change to make it easier for him? (Serious question. What might be necessary to change for those who have seen the show..)

 

 

As someone who knows the show pretty well, this is exactly what I'm asking myself when I read these doomsday "well the rewrites are because he clearly can't handle the material!" proclamations. I don't think these people understand how the show works. Yitzhak is a great role but aside from a very small intro at the start of the show, and performing some songs, Yitzhak literally has no dialogue. They're not going to suddenly expand that role so Darren has less to do. I'd say a little over half of Hedwig's monologues are discussing her life and past-- alternating between hilarious and heartbreaking-- and have to stay intact because it's necessary exposition. The other less-than-half is cracking dirty jokes for the most part. I really don't know what people think can be changed to make it "easier" for Darren, aside from removing things completely. The show is already only 90 minutes, I don't think that's going to happen. Choreography? It's a rock show setup, the dance moves are not incredibly intricate and if Darren has anything on his side, its energy. Lowering the key on some songs is not "writing stuff just for him" either. But of course, this assumption from someone who is practically salivating over the idea of him not doing well and has decided that since JCM used a bunch of complimentary adjectives but left out "talented" (even though he's already gushed about that) he's now suddenly changed his mind and deeply regretful and embarrassed by casting Darren. Of course, if he had said "talented" he'd just be overcompensating, wouldn't he? Hmmm.

Edited by crashboom
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I have seen many shows over the years and several shows more than once (so I had the chance to see the show with different casts). I have never heard of a show being re-written in any way for an actor taking over a role for a limited period late in the show’s run.

You may not be aware of this, but plays, musicals and operas get tinkered with all the time for a new production or when there is a cast change, even when well-established performers are involved; as a matter of fact, the latter often have the clout necessary to ask for such changes. Transpositions or tweaking of keys are frequent, while opera arias can have some notes shaved off or added to the top or the bottom to accomodate the specific vocal ambitus of new performers (and allow for some showing off).

 

Scenes and even whole characters get cut or rearranged. It's a long tradition, although not as extensive as it once was; Handel sometimes had to transpose castrato roles to a lower male voice, write new arias or find some way to insert in the plot of his works the personal "hits" the new leads carried with them in their luggage, composed by other musicians of course, and which their fans expected them to sing.

 

Even classics are not immune to that sort of reworking and plays by Shakespeare or Molière often get rearranged, shortened or otherwise modified.

 

In this case the author is not only still around but also directly involved with the production. As I said in another thread, I am sure that the production company did not have a sudden mystical revelation and did not cast DC on blind faith alone, without some discreet auditions or private tryouts and discussions just to make sure that this selection could work. It is a very popular ticket in NYC and I do not think that the producers and author would wish to jeopardize its established reputation through a bit of stunt casting. If they cast him, it must be their business judgement that he will be more than credible in it.

 

They’re rewriting things because Darren apparently can’t perform the part the way that multiple other actors had managed to before him

That's jumping to a conclusion that is unsupportable by facts at this point in time; no one outside perhaps the production company has heard him in the role.

 

I am not convinced as others appear to be that JCM's statement means that he will be writing a bunch of new songs or do extensive rewrites. Adapting some material, both text and music, certainly (it must be made clear by now that it is happening in the past, particularly with much younger actors than JCM in the role), or perhaps a new tune or two; but major changes to a currently running show? I doubt it. The audience has certain expectations with regards to the content of this show and the producers have to keep in mind these general theater audience members, local or visiting, many of whom have listened to the recordings and know the score.

 

Besides, as hs been said, the show was tweaked before, by the very fact of the various recastings. I know that in the two productions I saw, there were notable differences in the performing style and the musical flavour of the show, owing to the different personalities and voices of the lead actors. That will not be a surprise to anyone familiar with how theater works and one does not need to imagine machinations intended to hide a performer's supposed shortcomings to explain such a development.

 

He barely held up in How to Succeed in Business and that's a cake walk by comparison.

Since I saw that production at the end of his run in that show, I can only rely on the concrete testimony of my ears, and I certainly disagree with that characterisation of his performance. Hedwig is indeed an exhausting play for the lead; some people commented on how gaunt NPH looked in his last weeks in the show. But it's not the only draining part in the répertoire and several performers have shown that it's possible to survive it. And again, the production must have satisfied themselves that he would have the stamina to last through the 12 weeks.

It is a perilous choice for him and gambles of that kind can go either way. I will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

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Just for comparison, NYT's reaction to the Darren casting so far is: "whether he is enough of a draw to fill seats for 12 weeks as Hedwig, especially as “Glee” has faded in popularity, remains to be seen."

 

I honestly think people will be surprised by his draw, and it's far too soon to  tell what the ticket sales will be like in the end.  And I don't think the producers would have cast Darren if there were any doubts about his ability to perform the role. JCM would probably frown on MAJOR changes to a play that has been around for so long. (Updating of some of the lyrics to be contemporary, I can totally see, but beyond that? I"m not sure.)

 

Of the people who will remain "unscathed" by Glee (and maybe get a tad bit of forward momentum in their career), I think the "Big Three" are Chris Colfer (Book Series/Noel Coward movie, etc.), Lea Michelle (Broadway Darling prior to Glee, already booked on new show), and Darren Criss (Starkids, Boradway, possible solo album).

 

I was fortunate enough to see him perfom live in concert, and on Broadway (H2$); while I thought he was great on both ends, he really shines more when doing his own stuff, IMO. (To be fair, though I'm an avid Broadway/theater geek, I'm not super-knowledgeable about "Key Changes" and such.)

 

WHile Darren's not who I picture as Hedwig, neither was NPH, and he won a Tony!

Edited by ShadowDenizen

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I'm curious to see what Darren does with his role as Hedwig. I'm not sure he fits the role, but I don't want to judge until I see it for myself, or at least read the reviews. 
 
On another note, I'm not sure what got me prompted to watch A Very Potter Musical again, but I've just started watching it again. Wow, that was the Darren Criss I really was looking forward to seeing on Glee as Blaine. Such high hopes. I remember seeing this video when it came out, and made me see how humble Darren was back in 2009. About 1 minute in, you really see what a great guy Darren was and why I personally was excited to see him play Blaine:
 

 

Also, side note, out of all the interviews I've seen with him, this is the happiest I've seen him become. I'm not a big Criss fan anymore, but moments like this remind me that this guy is probably still around. Also, he really does have a knack for songwriting and I totally forgot that he wrote all the music and lyrics to this musical. And, another thing to note, Darren made me like Teenage Dream! I hated the song before I heard it on Glee (not that I hated Katy Perry, but I didn't see the hype about her songs) so....wow, how things changed in a few short years. 

Edited by jessied112

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Ironically, I started watching Glee because I was a starkid fan.

I hated Blaine so much, it bled into me hating Darren for a while. It wasn't until someone on my Twitter posted him doing a cover of "proud of you boy" that I remembered why I liked him to begin with.

I think I might rewatch AVPM again soon, to see if I can like him again. He's also said some stuff that I think will keep me from liking him as much as I used to, but I don't think he's completely void of talent. I think Glee just overestimated him and shoved him down my throat a bit too much, at the expense of others.

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Darren still comes off as a good guy to me. He talks a lot..but I think he has the opposite reaction to the fans as Chris Colfer does..which is..I think he talks more to try and make himself clear, whereas Chris just stays quiet. 

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Darren still comes off as a good guy to me. He talks a lot..but I think he has the opposite reaction to the fans as Chris Colfer does..which is..I think he talks more to try and make himself clear, whereas Chris just stays quiet. 

 

Agreed. Darren also always makes sure to temper any comments about fans with complimentary remarks and stresses how appreciative he is, unlike some other cast members. 

 

I made a remark a few weeks ago about guessing John Cameron Mitchell may be referring to adding meta about Darren's age into the show, and just saw a recent video interview where he alluded exactly to that (paraphrasing from memory but when the subject of Darren being young for the role came up, he said something along the lines of "having fun with that" and adding a bit to touch on it in the show).

 

Hedwig doesn't need to sell out shows to be profitable at this point and rarely has since NPH's departure from the production. If you look at the weekly revenues, the show has gone as low as 55% at times, so really if he can keep the numbers 60% and above during his run he will be doing well.

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Hedwig fan since I caught it on cable as a teen, heck, I was even a Blaine fan at one point. No qualms with Criss. But that first picture? To quote Buffy, a world of no.

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From the media thread:

 

And considering examples of others were, say, calling Lea an author..I'd say it's fine to list that. It's just funny that no one can ever give Criss credit.

Lea is an author because she has two books published. She can legitimately put "NYT best selling author" in her bio.

 

That Darren can play multiple instruments was never denied. I don't know how well he plays all those though, so we won't go into that. The fact is other actors are multi instrumentalists too. They may not play the exact same set of instruments, but Darren doesn't play the exact same set as some of them either. When we go into the details of which is more important to count, harmonica or saxophone, it gets rather silly.  

 

Seems like you want to find an exact equivalent of Darren's skills and pursuits, down to the exact instruments. I don't see things like that. Hugh Laurie is a multi-instrumentalist in the same way Lenny Kravitz is regardless of the exact instruments involved.  Many actors are multi-hypens and Darren isn't an exception but part of that numerous group, that's the bottom line here. If for you his skills are so much different than all the rest, just remember that actors are called to learn new skills for roles every day. People learn boxing, dance steps, martial arts moves, sign language, etc. - that's in the nature of the profession.

 

And Darren himself just said he wasn't a dancer. I have no idea who called him a dancer in that bio blurb because you didn't say where it came from. 

 

 

Darren has never been someone to stay on pitch too well live.Darren has never been someone to stay on pitch too well live. I mean, decent enough but he's just not a flawless vocalist like Lea or Amber. So I doubt it'll happen on this broadway run.

Aren't singers on B'way supposed and expected to stay on pitch well, and for extended periods of time, and take the notes they're supposed to take? This isn't a Darren Criss gig where anything goes, it's a B'way show - a rock musical but still musical theatre where the standard is somewhat different.

 

With regard to the audios from opening night linked in the Media thread, some are better than others. But the problems are evident even in a bootleg recording. Just take Wig in a Box -- such a pretty song by itself, damn shame he doesn't really sing it. (And in answer to another poster, I'm sure Groff can sing it as it should be done). I'm sure more bootlegs will appear in time so we'll  see if he'll manage to find his singing groove. 

Edited by fakeempress
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From the media thread:

 

I don't think including the harmonica in instruments Darren can play is strawman or silly or whatever. My argument was simply, the kid is involved in a ton of different areas of the entertainment industry in many different ways. Perhaps that's a little different. And considering examples of others were, say, calling Lea an author..I'd say it's fine to list that. It's just funny that no one can ever give Criss credit.

 

 

Again with the false equivalencies.  I mean Lea is legitimately a published author with a NYT bestseller, but even then nobody is using that to make the argument she's some super special unique to her generation talent.

 

I think trying to justify the case that Darren is some special rare entertainer because he can play the harmonica, is a percussionist, etc. is a completely different argument.  I give Darren credit for being a decently talented guy, but I just ain't buying the line you're trying to sell.  

 

Also, I think the fact that Darren can't stay on key kind of undermines his credibility as a Broadway actor.  Hopefully it improves during the run and it's just nerves.

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This might sound harsh, but if you can't stay on pitch, you shouldn't be on Broadway.

 

Thank you. Those audios were so painful to listen to (and I thought that Darren's strength was his credibility as a live performer). His voice was so thin and powerless and even a layperson could tell that he was singing strictly from his throat and not engaging his diaphragm or abdomen to give himself power. There was no projection or oomph in any of the songs. As for the pitch problems... he's had more than two months to prepare for this role. I don't buy the excuse that he needs time to settle into the part. Not when people are plunking down money to see him perform. He's supposed to be a professional. If he sounds this weak now, I have no clue how badly he's going to sound in a month after doing eight shows a week.

 

But for me, the most egregious problem is that there is so little Hedwig in any of these songs. None of the layers and complexities of the character. It's so much like the problems that I had with Darren's performances on Glee - it's all surface. He doesn't have any interest (or ability) to really explore his character and find something unique to bring to the role. One person described it as a Darren Criss drag show and not at all Hedwig and I don't think that's an unfair criticism. Now to be fair, he's not the only problem with the show (there are plenty of criticisms about the actress playing Yitzhak and her interpretation of the role) but he's basically got to carry the whole show and I just don't see him being up to the job.

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Jesus, Idina Menzel doesn't have perfect pitch. (I"m not comparing the two, trust me I'm not.) Adam Lambert doesn't.  Most singers don't. I haven't listened to Darren's audio, but I know him well enough to know he's never going to have perfect pitch during the show because he never has perfect pitch. (And in fact, if he does...good on him.)  He just doesn't have the voice..and if that's an issue for Broadway (which, it isn't..I've been to enough broadway shows to know that) then it's not Darren's fault, because the show runners should have known that before hiring him. 

 

And this whole "harmonica" and "exact equivalency" is a complete straw man of my entire argument. The ONLY reason why I listed every single little thing Darren did was because others had done the same with their examples of multi-talented younger entertainers. (And yes, calling Lea an author, and listing that as an example of being multi-talented, is just silly. The Kardashians did the same type of book, are we going to list writing as one of their talents?) My point was, that yes..I do think it's kind of rare that a younger entertainer is involved in as many aspects of entertaining as Darren is. He's a singer, a songwriter, an instrumentalist, and an actor through all mediums. 

 

That's not to say that he's amazing at what I just said he is. That's not to say that other younger entertainers aren't multi-talented. But to have his hand in so much, I think is pretty rare. And the starter list provided in the other thread didn't change my point, because no..none of those people are as heavily involved in as many different areas as Darren is. And that point is only made further when you feel the need to list Lea as an author. 

 

But the only reason why I said that, is because of the praise Darren has been receiving from the show runners. My point was simply that, perhaps..Darren's involvement in so many different areas struck the show runners as special. Maybe that's why they see him as really talented. 

 

It's also ridiculously silly to judge Darren's songs and ability to connect and emote through bad audio. And shows a bias that probably isn't even worth arguing. From what I've seen, the most picky broadway fans say he did an adequate job opening night. Given he's nervous and from what I can tell, Hedwig is a difficult role, and who he's following..I'd say that's pretty much as good of reviews as he was going to get from those people. 


 

Edited by mercfan3

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That's not to say that other younger entertainers aren't multi-talented. But to have his hand in so much, I think is pretty rare. And the starter list provided in the other thread didn't change my point, because none of those people are as heavily involved in as many different areas as Darren is.

 

Oh dear.

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I do think it's kind of rare that a younger entertainer is involved in as many aspects of entertaining as Darren is. He's a singer, a songwriter, an instrumentalist, and an actor through all mediums.

 

It. Is. Not. Rare. 

 

There are "renaissance men/women" in entertainment all over the world. 

Edited by fakeempress
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It. Is. Not. Rare. 

 

There are "renaissance men/women" in entertainment all over the world.

But are they as dreamy as the dreamiest dreamboat that ever dreamed about a boat? I bet not.

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But are they as dreamy as the dreamiest dreamboat that ever dreamed about a boat? I bet not.

They probably have their stans with blindfolds on too. 

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They probably have their stans with blindfolds on too.

If only Internet boards were there for David Cassidy, Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Scott Baio, Kirk Cameron...

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David Cassidy and Shaun Cassidy were quite the renaissance men. 

 

 

Haha I just went to DC's wikipedia entry and someone put in how he won a award in college in the National Latin Exam.

 

What about little league? 

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It. Is. Not. Rare. 

 

There are "renaissance men/women" in entertainment all over the world. 

 

Then. Name. Them. 

 

Oh wait..someone did and they felt the need to use Lea's status as an "author" as an example. 

 

Also, "rare" and "only" aren't synonyms. 

 

You know, Darren's done pretty well for himself. Being that he's an unnattractive, untalented (in anything), uncharismatic, unintelligent human being. 

Edited by mercfan3

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Then. Name. Them. 

LOL 

 

How about expanding your cultural horizons on your own? 

 

 

 

Haha I just went to DC's wikipedia entry and someone put in how he won a award in college in the National Latin Exam.

What about little league?

Hey, don't knock Wiki down, it's a treasure trove :)

One can learn that "Lenny Kravitz began banging on pots and pans in the kitchen, playing them as drums at the age of 3. At the age of 5, he wanted to be a musician. He began playing the drums and soon added guitar."

Percussion pots!

Edited by fakeempress

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LOL

 

How about expanding your cultural horizons on your own? 

 

So you can't. This is too funny. 

Edited by mercfan3

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Then. Name. Them. 

 

Oh wait..someone did and they felt the need to use Lea's status as an "author" as an example. 

 

Also, "rare" and "only" aren't synonyms. 

 

You know, Darren's done pretty well for himself. Being that he's an unnattractive, untalented (in anything), uncharismatic, unintelligent human being. 

You know trying to deflect this onto Lea is not helping your case.   That was one example out of many just from the glee cast. 

 

Again no one is saying Darren isn't multifaceted just that it isn't as rare as the producers were making it out to be. 

 

It is just a matter of opinion if you think it is is rare then great.  

Edited by tom87

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OMG, nobody mock Shaun Cassidy!!

He was a GRAMMY nominated singer for best new artist and sold millions of records, he was so cute!! TV star and also acted on both BW and the West end, and is now a Producer, Writer and Director.

Renaissance men don't come any dreamier than Shaun Cassidy!

Haters begone.

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OMG, nobody mock Shaun Cassidy!!

He was a GRAMMY nominated singer for best new artist and sold millions of records, he was so cute!! TV star and also acted on both BW and the West end, and is now a Producer, Writer and Director.

Renaissance men don't come any dreamier than Shaun Cassidy!

Haters begone.

David was  dreamier.

Edited by tom87

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What a hater you are TOM!!

Though I do confess I have a soft spot for "I think I love you", who doesn't?

He had a HUGE pop following in his day, selling out arenas and stadiums. Think of a solo "New Directions". Good musician also, played guitar, piano and drums quite well (not sure about harmonica though)

David I grudgingly admit had a longer lasting recording career than Shaun, quite a talented musician actually , had a hit version of "I write the songs" in the UK BEFORE Barryt Manilow released his version.

Did a few BW musicals and straight plays and made a pact with the Devil for many years to look young.

Those Cassidy boys....!!

Edited by caracas1914

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You know trying to deflect this onto Lea is not helping your case.   That was one example out of many just from the glee cast. 

 

Again no one is saying Darren isn't multifaceted just that it isn't as rare as the producers were making it out to be. 

 

It is just a matter of opinion if you think it is is rare then great.  

 

I'm not trying to deflect anything. That list consisted of a bunch of "sings, dances, acts in theatre, acts in film, acts in television" etc..essentially any little thing that entertainer has done. Then, using Criss' example of playing the harmonica was mocked, while apparently Lea's "author" status is totally legitimate (and if you'd like, I could go back to that list and pick on different ones..that one just stood out to me.). You don't see the hypocrisy? 

 

I agree that someone who sings, dances, and acts isn't rare. (Someone who does them all amazingly well, that's rare.) Now, when you add in theatre, film, and tv..that's a little different. (And they have distinctions because you act different in each medium.) But then when you add in the songwriting, and the ability to play multiple instruments,  that's what makes it different. 

 

Most of the time, people who are multi-faceted in the entertainment area where their focus is to "put on a show," they aren't as involved in the "background" areas like songwriting, play writing and playing instruments. (IMO, because most of the time, there's personality differences for individuals who prefer one side over the other.) I'm not saying they don't exist. But to say that it's common is inaccurate, IMO.  

Edited by mercfan3

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So you can't. This is too funny.

Donald glover, kid cudi, Jennifer Hudson, Ryan gosling, Andy samberg, drake, Zooey dechanel, Kevin bacon, viggo mortensen, Hugh Hackman, Justin timberlake, Farhan ankh tar, jack black, Jared Leto, Jason schwatzman, Mia wasikowska, Robert pattison...

Interestingly, if you google "multitalented young Hollywood actors" Darren Criss never seems to be a result. If a tree falls in the woods and nobody sees it, does it make a sound?

Edited by Myrna123
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Donald Glover is more of what I'm talking about. Where his talent spans more than what someone who is "multi-talented" typically spans. Singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, producer, writer, standup comedian. That's what I'm talking about.

 

My point was, that is different from someone like Jennifer Hudson..who is extremely talented, but she's really just the typical singer/actress multi-faceted entertainer. 

Edited by mercfan3

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Donald glover, kid cudi, Jennifer Hudson, Ryan gosling, Andy samberg, drake, Zooey dechanel, Kevin bacon, viggo mortensen, Hugh Hackman, Justin timberlake, Farhan ankh tar, jack black, Jared Leto, Jason schwatzman, Mia wasikowska, Robert pattison...

Interestingly, if you google "multitalented young Hollywood actors" Darren Criss never seems to be a result. If a tree falls in the woods and nobody sees it, does it make a sound?

Viggo happens to also be painter, photographer and poet (the last not to be confused with lyrics, cause stans).

John Lurie also paints. Plays the harmonica! America shits itself (tm RIB)

Edited by fakeempress

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You know if Lea gets to claim author and Darren Harmonica playing , I call dibs on Chris for stage acting for the play "8" which he acted opposite George Clooney, Kevin Bacon and Brad Pitt. Plus Chris can do Sai Sword play!

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