Darren was cast in the lead role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, from April 29 to July 19, 2015, at the Belasco Theatre.
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I wanted to express my thoughts on what playing Hedwig on Broadway has done for Darren:
--It has helped him break out of the Glee-imposed mold of Blaine.
--It has shown the Broadway community and beyond that Darren is capable of carrying a Broadway production, that he is more than a "teen idol" from a TV show called Glee. It showed how versatile he is in terms of convincingly inhabiting a complex character like Hedwig, who couldn't be more different than Blaine, all the while under the pressure of live theater.
--It showed the breadth and depth of his acting talent. If an actor playing the lead role in a two-person show on Broadway, that is an hour and a half long, can carry that show, then that person must have talent. This role required Darren to capture and maintain the audience's attention. It required Darren to sing, to dance, and to improvise to what the audience tossed at him. It required comic timing. Most importantly, this role required Darren to touch the hearts of the audience with his dramatic acting, as they felt for Hedwig in her pain, sadness, anger, frustration, struggle to find hope, and struggle to accept herself. And boy, did Darren prove to people that he had acting talent, in a way that Glee did not fully allow him the opportunity to display. As others have said, he was breathtaking, mesmerizing, charismatic, and electrifying. He brought so much heart and soul to the role. Even though I am a fan of his, he surprised me--he blew me away--with how talented an actor he is. It was inspiring to witness him shining on stage.
--It gave him the opportunity to show the strength of his live singing, as well as his versatility in singing both ballads and rock songs. Also, it showed how Darren was able to convey Hedwig's various emotions through song. Darren was able to move people through the emotion in his singing voice.
--It showed that Darren had physical endurance, including his singing voice. He demonstrated that he was more than capable of maintaining the quality needed to act, sing, and dance in this physically challenging, two-person show, for more than a short 3-week stint (as in How to Succeed).
--It highlighted Darren to important folks in the Broadway community and beyond. Hopefully, any producers, directors, or writers (for theater, film, or TV) would think of Darren for future projects.
--It expanded other opportunities for Darren to receive positive exposure, such as co-hosting the red carpet at the Tony's, and at Stars in the Alley, that showed his talent at being a charming host.
--It also allowed for an opportunity for others to see one of Darren's most special traits, that he truly cares about others, that he is a good and decent human being. Darren spent so much time with his fans at the stage door. People at the café next door to the theater even tweeted about how Darren was a class act. In addition, his caring nature was evident when he donated his time to show his support of the Voices for the Voiceless event (to help older kids and young adults in the foster care system find families). He also was gentle and sweet to that shy little girl who he serenaded at that fundraising event.
--Darren lived out yet another one of his dreams. How many has he checked off so far? Meeting and working with Stephen Sondheim, singing for Alan Menken and also performing one of Alan's songs from Aladdin ("Proud of Your Boy") on a Disney TV special, (ha!) doing a duet with Kermit, and . . . performing in a musical that he has loved since he was a teen (and working with John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask). The other actors who performed Hedwig on Broadway were older, further in their careers, with more experience in theater, on Broadway and off-Broadway. This is a role that truly challenged the actor playing the lead role of Hedwig, but this role also truly shined a spotlight on the actor. That Darren was able to star in this wonderfully poignant, socially relevant, critically acclaimed work so early in his career, as a young actor, given the talented older men who have starred as Hedwig, is such a honor for Darren, one that he took to heart.
Last edited by Poppy on Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:19 pm; edited 2 times in total