"I'm Harry Freakin' Potter, and I'm the man!"Darren Criss started out in the surprise Youtube hit and Affectionate Parody A Very Potter Musical, as the title character. He banded together with a few fellow University of Michigan students and formed Team StarKid, a theater production company that is now Chicago-based. Among the StarKid projects that he's been in are A Very Potter Musical, A Very Potter Sequel, and Little White Lie.Even though he's been quoted as wanting to be an actor who sings and not the other way around, he's inseparable from music. He wrote part of the music for AVPM and Me and My Dick, and all the music for A Very Potter Sequel, as well as for the new musical Starship. In the meanwhile, he put out his own 5-song EP, “Human”. He loves singing live; give this guy a mike, a guitar, and a stage, and he's a happy man.After graduation from U of M, he had a role in the short-lived series Eastwick, and made an appearance in one of the final episodes of Cold Case ("Free Love").He played the character of Blaine Anderson, an openly gay student at the all-boys' school Dalton and Kurt Hummel's love interest on Glee. Criss's start on Glee made a huge splash, as his version of “Teenage Dream” featuring the Dalton Warblers (a.k.a. the Tufts University Beelzebubs) became the highest-selling Glee song overnight, easily beating out “Don't Stop Believin'”.Criss made his Broadway debut in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in January 2012. Whether Casting Gag or just unintentional, he replaces the original Harry Freakin' Potter, Daniel Radcliffe. He then got the lead as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2015.
— Harry Potter, A Very Potter Sequel
Tropes that apply to this actor include:
- Affectionate Parody: A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel are among the most affectionate.
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Averted. The guy has Glee, writing songs for Team StarKid, performing live shows for either Glee, StarKid or himself, tons of photoshoots, and a Twitter feed to maintain, as well as side projects like voicing "Life of Leopold" for Funny or Die.
- Band of Relatives: Criss used to play for his brother Chuck's band Freelance Whales.
- The Cameo: In Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night"."BEST PARTY EVER! WOOOOO!"
- Camp Straight: He grew up in gay-friendly San Francisco and is a huge fan of musical theater. When asked about playing a gay character on Glee, he often mentions that he had to "come out as straight" to his theater friends. Taken Up to Eleven with his attire◊ from the Coachella music festival, where he walked around shirtless covered in multicolored body paint and wearing clip-on earrings and rainbow nail polish.
- Companion Cube: Criss is famous for his trademark pink sunglasses. He even got them into a scene on Glee.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Usually averted in his songs, whether it's Disney, Glee or his own work. Arguably plays with it in the case of Glee, as he plays a gay character. And in the case of this cover of "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm", a song sung by a woman who dreams of being the ultimate housewife, he explicitly plays it as a gay man to his husband, and some of the lyrics are changed to show Criss's support for gay marriage.
- Cover Version
- Has an old YouTube account under the name of Iclemyer, where he does covers of Disney songs. Included are "Belle", "I'll Make a Man Out of You", and "Part of Your World".
- Lampshaded in AVPS. "I make weird covers of Disney songs. Who does that?"
- His cover of "Teenage Dream" is widely considered to be far better than the original.
- Deadpan Snarker
Darren: Looks like we finally did what everybody was waiting on for so long... A Hey Monday song! Boy, I sure hope people liked it!
- He and Chris Colfer were snarking jointly on Twitter after "Original Song" aired, in which their characters kissed.
Chris: I fo' sho' thought "RIP Pavarotti" would be trending before "They Kissed". Tisk tisk. He is rolling in his bedazzled grave.
Reporter: How has your life changed since Glee?
- He does this all the time, really.
Darren: How hasn't it changed?!... I bought a new sweater.
- "I Am" Song: "The Coolest Girl". Written (as quoted by Word of God) by Criss to be another "Part Of Your World" or "On My Own", sung by Bonnie Gruesen (Hermione) in AVPS.
- Incredibly Long Note: "To Have A Home", AVPS.
- "I Want" Song: Most of his songs, of the romantic variety.
- Looped Lyrics: "Don't you want the way I feel/Don't you want the way I feel/Don't you want the way I feel for you".
- Love Nostalgia Song: "Sami"; "Don't You"
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Jealousy", a sunny and energetic song about Envy so consuming that he can't stand looking in the mirror, and he tries unsuccessfully to drown it out with alcohol.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Harry Potter is, by his own admission, a total douchebag. Darren Criss, on the other hand, is a very friendly and personable guy.
- Obsession Song: "The Muse"; "Jealousy"
- One of Us: Admitted fanboy of Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Lord of the Rings, Flight of the Conchords, musical theatre, comic books, Disney movies, and of course, Harry Potter. He even attended the Deathly Hallows premiere in cosplay. He is also a shipper and voted for "KurtCoBlaine" as the official Portmanteau Couple Name for Kurt×Blaine.
- Performance Artist: He was a fan of musical theater growing up, and plays six instruments, sings, acts, and writes his own material.
- Promoted Fanboy:
- A Very Potter Musical became so popular that he was invited to the Deathly Hallows, Part. 1 movie premiere... which he attended excitably in full Harry costume.
- With "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" He discovered the movie as a teenager and if you want proof of his fan-love for the show, just pick a recent interview, any recent interview. He describes it as his dream role, and has apparently been lobbying to play the part for a long, long time, until the stars finally aligned for him and he was cast to play Hedwig in the Broadway revival.
- Rewritten Pop Version: "Not Alone", "Sami" ("Harry"), "Even Though" and "Stutter" all have solo versions.
- Similarly Named Works: His EP shares its title with one of Death's albums.
- Wild Hair: He sheared down to a more debonair look for Glee, but he has naturally curly hair which can become this when he lets it grow out.