Hey, Gleeks: It’s hard to forget that Glee episode when Darren Criss, who played a capella singer Blaine Anderson, pull off a spectacular riff on Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream with his fictional group, the Dalton Academy Warblers.
On Tuesday evening, Criss, 29, will be out there on his own at The Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale as part of the venue’s Broadway Concert Series — a bit of chit-chat mixed with songs — with Sirius/XM radio star Seth Rudetsky on the piano. We spoke to Criss, native of San Francisco, before his trip to South Florida.
Can you explain the show’s format?
We kind of do it by the seat of our pants. The lack of preparation and spontaneity are part of the charm. I mean, it can be charming unless it gets to the point when you don’t know the words [laughs]. But seriously, it’s all very loose and fun. It’s kind of like being in a living room, but we’re on a stage. I probably won’t take questions. Problem is I talk too much. For every one question, you’ll get 10 different answers and end up confused.
What type of songs will you perform?
I take you on a journey of my own musical background, which is a way to get to know me a little bit. Songs I did as a kid, in high school and college. From plays like Fiddler on the Roof and Pajama Game. It’s a way to chronologize my life. How do you like that word?
We hear you’ll soon be playing Prince Eric in the revival of “The Little Mermaid” at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. and will record a new soundtrack.
Yeah, I was kind of p—ed — because fans probably think I should have been Ariel [laughs]. But no, really, it’s great. The movie came out like 20 years ago, and it’s still rad. I’m happy to see kids excited. That’s the magic of a good franchise. Like you see young people wearing Star Wars T shirts, and you go, ‘You’re too young to remember that.’ And then you think, ‘Oh, maybe not.’
Who is your dream collaboration? Have a project in mind you hope to do?
There are so many filmmakers I’d love to work with but they probably don’t think I’m cool enough. I had a dream about Steven Spielberg. I remember making him laugh and feeling really proud of myself. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with Spielberg? Just to hang out with that guy would be extraordinary.
What other news do you have?
People always ask me what I’m doing. I have TV gigs here and there — like American Horror Story — to tide me over. I’m writing a lot at home. I spend a lot of the day on my computer catching up on the world. I mean I can crush 15 hours, next thing I know it’s 3 a.m., and I don’t even know how time goes by that quickly. But you don’t have to worry about me, I have a standing situation.
How do you like visiting South Florida?
C’mon, what’s not to love? It’s so beautiful there. I’ll make sure to get to the beach and take a run. I need to exercise after all that time in front of my computer!