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