This article in The Daily Beast is part review, part interview. I only included the part that had to do with Darren's performance in Hedwig, but the entire article is interesting.
The Daily Beast wrote:
How Darren Criss Graduated 'Glee,' Mastered 'Hedwig,' and Became the 'It Boy' Again
What little glitter hasn’t been sweat off has been sufficiently showered away and Darren Criss, minutes after soaking in his curtain call applause for his exhausting, indisputably brilliant turn as Hedwig in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is still high on her energy, flitting around his dressing room in a short kimono.
[. . . ]
When we meet the next afternoon at Manhattan’s Soho House, Hedwig’s black nail polish is still noticeable as Criss peruses the menu. “It’s always on,” he says. “It’s just chipping off now because it’s Friday.”
A cavalcade of friends are in town, both to see him in his raved-about Broadway run as one of Neil Patrick Harris’s replacements in Hedwig and to just visit New York on a perfect spring day, and a few can’t resist stopping by the table to say hi.
[. . . ]
He’s also midway through a 12-week run in Hedwig, fulfilling a dream he’s had of playing the role ever since sneaking viewings of his DVD of the movie version in his parents’ San Francisco basement as a teenager. Winning ecstatic reviews for his revelatory performance and now safely shed of the ghost of Glee, . . . Criss is at an exhilarating crossroads in his career.
And the 28-year-old, biding his time at the junction while singing and dancing his ass off eight times a week in the most demanding and rewarding male role on Broadway, is impressively self-aware about the whole thing. But then again, as he ponders future stage, screen, and more music opportunities, that’s probably why he’s more poised than most former It Boys—a status he earned with that a capella “Teenage Dream”—to retain hold of that pop culture crown.
When it was announced that Criss would be “the next Hedwig,” a superlative of star power and faith-in-talent given to those who have played the role on Broadway since Harris’s departure (including Girls star Andrew Rannells and Dexter’s Michael C. Hall), many people assumed it was a high-heeled attempt to add edge to an image made tween-friendly, as happens when a person stars on a teenage soap opera musical for years.
Those people, clearly, were unaware of the extent of Criss’s obsession with John Cameron Mitchell’s progressive musical, about a genderqueer East German rock singer coming to terms with her past and future; after college, he even tried to stage a one-man version of the show. Those people, most likely, were also unaware of how severely Criss finds the presumption that he was in any hurry to break out of a so-called mold to be ridiculous.
“That’s lazy journalism,” he says. “That’s what people will say about anything. Like, if all you knew Jennifer Lawrence from was Hunger Games and she does something else, which is what we call an actor, it’s like ‘breaking out the cage!’ We are actors. We are acting like other things. That’s how it works.”
Lazy as it might be, it’s certainly what’s happened. To that regard, it’s done Criss many favors in changing people’s minds of what he’s capable of—and if you’ve had the chance to see him perform Hedwig, he’s capable of what even your highest expectations of his talents might suggest—that the last round of headlines he made in his time at Glee were for writing an original song. Nothing says “legit” like being a songwriter.
[ . . . ]
It’s a version of what’s happening to him right now with Hedwig. Sure, people knew he could act, sing, and dance. He was arguably the brightest spot of Glee for years because of how well he could do those very things. But those people were still unprepared for the mature, ribald, all-dressed-up and yet emotionally naked performance he’s giving in The Angry Inch.
[. . . ]
When it started to become clear that Hedwig and the Angry Inch would live on past Neil Patrick Harris’s departure, that Criss would be a replacement became somewhat inevitable. One of the first connections he made after Glee made him into a name was with the show’s producer David Binder, who he passionately told he wanted to be in a revival of the show one day—even before the Harris-led Broadway sojourn was in the cards.
“John Cameron Mitchell has given us a Hamlet,” he says, of what has quickly become a Holy Grail role for musical theatre actors. “He’s given us a Mama Rose.”
On the one hand, some might find it odd that a straight 16-year-old boy would spend more than a decade with such a passionate desire to play a transgender German rock star, a character that has become an icon for the queer community.
“You do kind of raise an eyebrow,” he says. But he recalls those days watching the movie in the basement terrified that his mom would walk in on him. “It was inappropriate and subversive and different, everything you like as a teenager. Fucking punk rock, you know?”
“I was the kid who wore weird-colored pants because I liked people questioning what was cool,” he continues. “I wore nail polish and weird glasses because I thought it was funny, but I still would show up at the football games like a bro. And she’s really fucking funny.”
The sacred keeper of Hedwig, her creator and original star John Cameron Mitchell, certainly has given Criss his approval.
[. . . ]
It’s at this juncture that we discuss what’s next for Criss when his 12-week Broadway run ends in mid- July. He’d like to do more songwriting, he says, and there are talks of more projects with Star-Kid Productions, the team he created “A Very Potter Musical” with. As for acting, “just give me a fucking interesting character,” he says, “that’s all I need”—while admitting that, after a demanding Broadway run, a film that shoots on a beach would be nice.
“I didn’t dream about Glee because I didn’t grow up with Glee,” he says. “It happened and turned out to be a dream. But I’m truly in the midst of a fantasy. I dread this being over.”
The rest of us, however, should be very excited.
-The Daily Beast
June 18, 2015