Behind the Scenes of Darren Criss's Teen Vogue Photoshoot

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Most Likely to Succeed Darren wears a Michael Bastian jacket. Calvin Klein shirt, $34. Levi's jeans, $58.

Rule number one if you ever see actor Darren Criss in public and you're so totally Gleeked out that you just have to go up and say something: Don't be shy. "I get it, because I'm a fan too!" says the 24-year-old, who plays openly gay high schooler—and boyfriend to Kurt (Chris Colfer)—Blaine Anderson on the hit show Glee. "God knows how many people I meet now where I just get so nervous." (The celeb he freaked out about most recently? Waris Ahluwalia, who stars in many of Wes Anderson's movies.)

Darren's approachability and fanboy status are just a few of his endearing qualities. There's also humility—"I feel so underqualified to be doing what I'm doing," he says. "To be anything less than gracious is an insult to the gifts you've been given"—and his acute awareness that, as Blaine, he's a role model for teens everywhere. "It's literally like getting a superpower that challenges me to be greater than who I am," Darren says of portraying a gay teen. "It's a beautiful thing."

Before leading the Warblers to fame, the San Francisco native skyrocketed into the pop-culturesphere when A Very Potter Musical, the parody made by his theater company, StarKid Productions, went viral on YouTube in 2009, garnering more than seven million views. This month he'll snag even more fans, as he hits Broadway for the first time, taking over the lead role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The superironic part? He's stepping into the dance shoes of Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.
"I'm over the moon," says the ever-humble star. "I've always loved Broadway, but I never thought I'd actually do it because I was never a full Broadway dancer. And I don't have a big, booming voice."
We can think of at least seven million people, Harry Potter included, who would disagree.

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