Like TV spot says, “It’s Darren Criss like you’ve never seen him before.” The Glee favorite has traded in Blaine’s signature bow ties for Hedwig Schmidt’s gold pumps and denim dress as he gives an all-out performance in the Tony-winning Best Revival Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
When BroadwayBox caught up with Criss, he revealed to us the three biggest building blocks he uses to unlock a part of himself and transform into the trans German rocker each night.
“Hedwig is kind of like painting by numbers because there is so much work that is done for you. You have the hair, the makeup, the outfits and shoes, and they are so outlandishly big that they can’t help but elevate your character. It’s a lot of outside in work. The heels change your physique and the way you walk, and you feel powerful and sexy and strong. It empowers you. It immediately changes the way you carry yourself. That’s the physical part.
Then makeup: you look at yourself in the mirror with that sharp, contoured, edgy, biting, rock ‘n’ roll look and you start to speak differently. You interact with people in a different way. There’s a bite to everything you say and it’s sassy; and it’s something very strongly associated with drag culture—even though I wouldn't put Hedwig in that category—and the makeup does that to men. It unlocks parts of yourself that you didn't know existed.
And lastly the other thing that has really helped me is that Hedwig has been around for a while and that I have this caldron of evil tricks to derive from. Whether it’s something Neil did or Michael or Ally Sheedy or John, of course, did. There’s a lot of images I’ve used mentally for this character that are from the movie and John [Cameron Mitchell] has encouraged that. A lot of the work has been done for me and I’m very, very lucky—I just have to connect the dots.
Don’t miss Darren Criss as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco Theatre.