Next March marks the third anniversary of the Glee final episode. Since Darren Criss packed away Blaine Anderson’s bow tie collection, he has continued his performing arts takeover – appearing on Broadway, releasing music, doing TV guest spots, films, and creating his own music festival. 2017 saw him continue very much in this vein, much to the enjoyment of his fans around the world eager for more of anything from Mr Criss.
We began March with a surprise announcement that Darren had joined with his brother Chuck to form a new band Computer Games. Not only that, but a week later they dropped their first EP, Lost Boys Life. Featuring three songs and a demo, the tracks have a definite 80s feel to them, but with a very modern aesthetic. While there are definitely elements of traditional Criss music in there, there is also a sense of him just letting go, jamming with his brother and friends and just having fun. And it obviously resonated with fans as the EP soared up the charts to be in the top 20 on iTunes charts across the globe. Following their EP release party at NYC’s Mercury Lounge in March, the band have performed at a number of events over the year, most recently as part of A Holiday Variety Show in LA. Videos for the songs “Every Single Night” and “Lost Boys Life” were released in May and August respectively, with “Lost Boys Life” featuring everyone’s favourite Stranger Things star, Gaten Matrarazzo. We look forward to hearing more from the brothers in 2018, including hopefully a few more gigs.
March saw the return of Criss to our TV screens. Not only did we have him appear on TWO CW shows that week, even if the Supergirl cameo was literally a few seconds at the end of the episode, but we had him singing and dancing as well. Certainly a treat for many fans who have been unable to travel to either New York or LA to see him in Hedwig. Starring as the mischievous Music Meister, Criss reunited with his former Glee castmates, Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin in a special Supergirl/The Flash crossover musical episode. It was a joy seeing Criss in a villainous role for a change, though he still managed to look pretty dapper. We just wish he had more than one group number.
Elsie Fest 2017
Criss’ little music festival entered its third year in 2017 and continues to grow, attracting big name performers and fans travelling from around the world to attend. Along with Criss and his band Computer Games, headline acts this year included Alan Cumming, Lea Michele, Jeremy Jordan, Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho, Ingrid Michaelson, Norm Lewis, and The Greatest Showman’s Keala Settle. Bringing together stars and music from stage and screen, this festival is one all us Broadway babies have been crying out for and it’s fantastic to see it starting to take off. We’re eagerly awaiting the 2018 date and line up.
Good things do come to those who wait and Criss’ fans patience, support and pleas were finally answered in 2017. Not only did we get the new music from Computer Games, but we also got the long awaited Darren solo album. Seven years after the release of his first EP Human, Criss surprised fans at the end of November with the announcement that he was releasing the EP Homework next month. He celebrated the announcement by rewarding fans with a look at the single “I Don’t Mind” from the album. Along with a collection of original songs written over the past few years, the album also includes a beautiful cover of “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables that he had previously released with the announcement of Elsie Fest 2017. Like Lost Boys Life, Homework skyrocketed up the singer/songwriter charts on iTunes following its release on December 15. Fingers crossed for a tour in 2018.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Words cannot express how excited we are at 4YE for the debut of this series on January 17. While the series doesn’t air until next year, we have been teased with Criss’ performance throughout 2017 as filming has taken place. Everything we have seen about this production has just blown us away. From the cast, the production values, the sets, the costumes, the trailers, this series will be our first must-see of the year. And Criss … if we thought he was mesmerising as Blaine Anderson in Glee, as Andrew Cunanan in ACS he is going to blow our minds. Already talk of nominations and awards have been attached to Criss’ performance and we couldn’t agree more. And if nothing else, we have this project to thank for giving us the below Instagram post that broke the Internet in May.
2017 was a year when Criss’ fans patience paid off. Not only did we get two new albums, we got to see him back on our screens and the chance to see him performing on a semi-regular basis promoting the albums. However, if we thought 2017 was a big year, just wait for the next year. With the year starting off with the release of ACS, 2018 is going to be the year that Criss’ star will truly explode, taking him to another level. We look forward to covering his continued rise and all the exciting projects resulting from this here at 4YE.