Darren Criss Looks Beyond 'Glee': Forget the Career I've Had

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Darren Criss is at a crossroads.

Following five years as Blaine Anderson -- Kurt’s buttoned-up, slick
prep school boyfriend -- on Glee, the
28-year-old actor is ready to shed the persona that made him a breakout star as
he takes on the titular East German transgender rocker in the Broadway
production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

RANKED: Darren Criss' 8 Most Memorable Performances on 'Glee'

“A lot of things have been hugely shifting in my life,”
Criss tells Out magazine in the new
Hot List issue.

Out Magazine

“Forget the career that I’ve gotten to have in the past few
years,” he says as he prepares to transform both physically and emotionally. “I
don’t care who you are -- looking through your teenage years is crazy. I was
getting in touch with a part of myself that I hadn’t really thought about in

It’s his first major role -- which started performances on
April 29 -- following the FOX series. And one that will defy everything that made
his fans diehards in the first place.

PHOTOS: How Does Darren Criss' Hedwig Compare to NPH, Michael C. Hall?

“It’ll be interesting to let people know that this is
Hedwig,” Criss says, almost as a warning about Hedwig’s aggressive and abrasive
nature. “This is her room. This is her night. Don’t f--k with her, because she
will f--k with you hard makeup’s on, it’s her show. I cannot be held
accountable for her actions. That’s all I can say. She’s in complete control.”

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While playing Hedwig will be a transformative role for the
actor, Criss admits that he’s been attracted to the part since he was a
teenager. “It was candy,” he tells Out,
appreciative of the character’s less-than-mainstream vibe. “There was an
obvious attraction to the subversive and subcultural.”

And Blaine was certainly not subversive.

Criss will portray
Hedwig on stage at New York’s Belasco Theatre now until July 19. Check out more exclusive images at Out.com