Since it’s already February 5 here in Australia, and because I come from the future, it’d only be fitting to put something together in celebration of Darren Criss’ 27th Birthday. And I have chosen to celebrate the best way I know how, by compiling a list of 27 totally awesome things, all about Darren.
There’s no rhyme or reason to the list. It’s not a countdown, it’s not a best to worst, it’s simply 27 things about Darren for the sake of writing 27 things about Darren.
Number 1 – StarKid
After obtaining his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009 from the University of Michigan, Darren along with his friends and classmates founded the musical theatre company StarKid Productions. Their stage debut and flagship production, A Very Potter Musical, a parody of the Harry Potter series, has since gained over 10 million views on YouTube.
Number 2 – He’s Harry Freakin’ Potter
Number 2 is not only self explanatory, but is also my personal favourite. In all three of StarKid’s Harry Potter musical comedies, Darren stars as not just Harry Potter, but as Harry Freakin’ Potter.
Number 3 – Glee
On November 9, 2010, Darren made his debut on Glee as the lead of the Dalton Academy Warblers. The road to his casting was a long one, auditioning several times by posting self made videos to his MySpace page, including what has become one of his most beloved covers, “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid.
Number 4 – Broadway
On January 3, 2012, Darren made his Broadway debut in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, succeeding (no pun intended) Daniel Radcliffe, who ironically played Harry Potter in the Harry Potter films, and as we know, Darren is Harry Freakin’ Potter… I am I the only one sensing a theme here? Darren’s run was short lived at 3 weeks due to his Glee commitments, but during those three weeks, the stage at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre never looked better.
Number 5 – Teenage Dream
Darren’s first performance on Glee, Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, quickly made history when the song debuted at #1 in digital track sales with over 214,000 sold. The song has been featured twice on the show, first in his debut and the second with an acoustic arrangement by Darren that was featured in the now infamous “The Break Up” episode.
Darren has said himself that “Teenage Dream” was the song changed his life, “I was a struggling actor, a part-time composer, and all of a sudden they put me in a blazer, slick my hair back, and give me a Katy Perry song on a hit show, and a year and a half later I’m on Broadway. So, yes, it’s the song that changed my life.” I can assure you, he’s not the only one whose life has been forever changed thanks to that blazer and slicked back hair.
Number 6 – Whiffenpoofs
On April 14, 2013, Darren appeared at the P.S. Arts benefit concert and not only performed alongside the Yale Whiffenpoofs, he was even inducted as an honorary member of the acapella vocal group, earning himself the nickname, Darren ‘Best Supporting Act’ Criss.
Number 7 – Listen Up Tour
May 29, 2013 saw Darren take off on his first ever, solo headlining tour across North America, the Listen Up Tour. Beginning in his home town of San Francisco and ending in Silver Spring, Maryland, Darren performed to sold out crowds for 16 performances and showcased not only his most loved and well known songs, but included a few new ones as well, prompting fans everywhere to scream “When’s the album coming out Darren?”
Number 8 – Klaine
I sat here for a good while trying to come up with something to write that accurately describes not only how I personally feel about Klaine, but how I would describe it to someone else that has no idea what I was talking about, and I can’t. Klaine is love, it’s soulmates, it’s forever, but it’s also something that stands for those things. Klaine stands for love, it stands for acceptance, and it stands for the ability to love who you choose to love. It’s revolutionary, it’s reality and in the words of Darren himself, it’s “groundbreaking”.
Number 9 – Girl Most Likely
Darren made his big screen debut starring alongside Kristen Wiig in the film Girl Most Likely, or Imogene depending on where you live, (here in Australia it was released as Imogene). The film is quirky and light-hearted but at the same time deals with some serious topics, such as the destruction of a relationship, the loss of a career and the ability to build a human exoskeleton.
Number 9 – Trevor
A regular fixture among The Trevor Project’s events, Darren is an enormous supporter of the organisation that focuses on preventing youth suicide within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community.
Number 10 – The Warbler’s Appear On Ellen
On April 22, 2011, Darren and the Warbler’s appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to promote the Warblers very own album, Glee: The Music Presents The Warblers. Enough said. Darren was on Ellen! The End.
Number 11 – Postcards For The Philippines
On November 8, 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc across the Philippines, killing at least 6, 201 people. Darren has always been proud of his Filipino heritage and in an effort to raise funds needed for relief efforts; he launched the ‘You’re Not Alone’ campaign, in which he vowed to hand sign postcards for anyone that donated $20 or more to the World Food Programme. I am incredibly proud to say that I am one of the over 3300 people that donated and raised over $100,000 in much needed aid.
Number 12 – Meeting President Obama
Darren met The President. Darren met the President and fist bumped him, at President Obama’s LGBT fundraiser gala on June 6, 2012. In addition, Darren got to perform one of his own songs, “Not Alone”, for Obama and everyone in attendance at Obama’s Inauguration on January 19, 2013. How freaking cool is that?!
Number 13 – Human
Human was released digitally on July 20, 2010 and made it to number 17 of Billboard’s Top Heatseekers. The album features what Darren called “old songs” saying that the title track, “Human”, was the first song he wrote, back when he was 15. Also included is “Not Alone” which appeared in A Very Potter Musical as well as “Sami” which was a part of both AVPM and Little White Lie, a webseries by StarKid in 2007.
Number 14 – Kermit The Frog
Darren is no stranger to the red carpet, but at the 2012 Oscar’s pre-show he was accompanied by a very special guest, Kermit the Frog, and together they performed “The Rainbow Connection”. Can you say Awwwww!
Number 15 – Darren’s Love Letter To His Fans
October 5, 2012 will be forever known as the day Darren Criss made his fans cry. On his public Facebook account, Darren wrote a letter thanking us for being a part of his life and for “what we have accomplished together” and signed it “your biggest fan, Darren”. I’m not even going to try and summarise it, that would do it a serious injustice, so instead I have screen capped it so you can read it for yourselves if you haven’t already, or read it again if you have. In either case, have your tissues ready. (click image to enlarge to a readable size)
Number 16 – The Cleveland Show
In 2012 Darren became a churchaholic, kind of. Ok, so not really, but he did get animated and appear on an episode of The Cleveland Show, titled “Jesus Walks”
Number 17 – Musicians On Call
In November 2013 Darren partnered with Tom Poleman and Musicians On Call to be a part of their Bedside Performance Program at the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, that brings live, in-room performances to patients who are either undergoing treatment, or unable to leave their hospital beds.
Number 18 – Livestream
On April 20, 2011, Darren took part in a Celebuzz Livestream where he answered fan questions, played a few songs, called people from all over the world that had submitted their phone number and hugged the camera because he was sad that he couldn’t hug everyone watching in person. Again, I say, “Awwwww.”
Number 20 – Toys For Tots
As an ambassador for eBay’s annual “Toys For Tots” program, Darren performed a free acoustic concert in New York on December 9, 2012 as well as two sold out shows, back-to-back, at the Roxy, donating a portion of ticket sales to the cause.
Number 21 – Amnesty International With Chuck
In 2012, Darren and his brother Chuck, teamed up for the Amnesty International Chimes of Freedom tribute album, where they covered the classic Bob Dylan track, “New Morning”.
Number 22 – The Motley
Darren joined forces with men’s grooming e-tailer The Motley in August 2013. Not only are the products affordable and unique, we scored some pretty awesome promotional photos out of it. And besides, who wouldn’t want the man in their life to smell like Darren? (not really).
Number 23 – Hosted the We Day Celebrations
We Day is an annual youth empowerment event organised by the Free The Children charity which is held at various cities across Canada and the US. On September 20, 2013, Darren hosted the Toronto portion of the event and even performed on “Skyscraper “and “Neon Lights” alongside Demi Lovato.
Number 24 – Winning The 2012 Broadway.com Audience Award for Best Replacement
Not only did Darren host the 2012 Broadway.com Audience Awards, he also took one home with him, winning the Best Replacement award for his limited run as J. Pierrepont Finch in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Darren even joked that Broadway.com had lived up to their end of the bargain by suggesting the award was rigged.
Number 25 – Six By Sondheim
In December 2013, Darren appeared in the HBO documentary Six By Sondheim that takes a look at the life and career of Tony Award winning composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim.
Number 26 – The Mighty 7
Darren Criss – Superhero. That’s right, Darren lent his voice to Stan Lee’s Micro, in the animated film The Mighty 7.
Number 27 – Hosted the 2013 Teen Choice Awards
Together with Lucy Hale, Darren hosted the 2013 Teen Choice Awards. Declared by broadway.com as the “best host ever”, Darren spent much of the evening changing outfits, joking with the audience and other celebrities present, and twerking. Yes, twerking, in a onesie, and setting a world record for the most number of people to twerk at once (or something like that, I was mostly distracted by the onesie).
And that’s it, I’m done. Thank you for reading, thank you for watching and thank you for sticking it out through all 27.
On behalf of myself, and all of us at FYE News, I would like to wish Darren the most happiest of birthday’s and raise a glass to toast whatever the future may hold.
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