Born in San Francisco, CA, Darren is best known for his star roles in A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel.
Darren, along with the group StarKid Productions, produced, starred in and wrote songs for the YouTube videos "A Very Potter Musical" and its sequel.
Darren released his first EP Human which featured five tracks in July, 2010.
Darren won the 2010 Greggy Award for role of Blaine on Glee.
Darren can play the piano, violin, guitar, kazoo and harmonica.
Darren's brother, Chuck Criss, is in the band Freelance Whales.
Darren originally auditioned for the role of Finn on Glee before landing the part of Blaine a year and a half later.
Darren has a Bachelor in Fine Arts in performance and acting from the University of Michigan.
Darren is half Irish and half Filipino.
Darren (In response to Katy Perry's reaction to Darren's rendition of "Teenage Dream" on Glee): So Katy Perry tweeted about the song, she said it made her cry. I hope it was like a good cry, instead of a bad cry because it was really bad or something.
Darren: There's nothing more badass than being yourself.
Darren: (when asked what color he would like to see the world in) Pink. Because it would be really funny. 'Cause then really mean people wouldn't look so mean.
Darren: (On the stigma attached to playing an out gay character) Not at all. To be quite honest, that doesn't take up a huge chunk of what really matters about Blaine. After having gotten to know the show a little bit, I was really excited to see that a character like this - such a strong gay character, especially a young, male, out and proud teen - was going to make its way onto network television, much less Fox. This is the first time I'd really seen an out student that was so young and innocent and really struggling with the big ordeal it is to be an out student at such an early age. When other shows present the gay character thing, it's typically been in much more adult situations, like gay men living in New York or closeted men who are married and struggling with that ordeal, but never really the core of the journey of defining your sexuality. Blaine offers a beautiful counter to that and makes such a great addition to the many-coloured palette that is Glee. So as far as me having any reservations about it, no. I read it being like, this would be so cool, whoever gets to play this, it's going to be a great thing for an already great show.
Darren: (On Chris Colfer) I mean, I've spent most of my time with Chris, but I've only been there for a short amount of time. I really like Chris a whole lot, we get to geek out a lot of musical theatre things and I think we enjoy a lot of the same things in general. I think both of us strive to be generally fabulous on a day-to-day basis, so that's something I like to relate to Chris about. But I read that Jane said that about him. I don't know – maybe it's because – well, I wouldn't say that he's an 80 year old woman. I'd say he's more of like – he's like a magical creature, like a really fun, magical.. I can't figure out what entity I want to say. Yeah, he's like… man, I'm trying to think of a good creature that's like, awesome. He's like a really playful wood nymph. A wood nymph that's caught in Chris Colfer's body. That's what I would say, because he loves – he's a really positive, playful guy. So wood nymph does it better for me than 80 year old woman. But then again, that might just be a difference in sentiment between me and Jane Lynch, because arguably, they are the same thing. Maybe wood nymphs are, in fact, 80 year old women, maybe that's…
Darren: (On his preferred type of performing) I do. No matter what, I will always prefer a live performance. Whether it be a play or a musical, or playing music live. As long as it's live, it's the best because there's sort of an immediacy to connection between an audience and a performer, whereas where you do film or television, you're at the whim of so many different forces. You know, there's a lot of editing and camera work involved, and also you have to wait quite a long time before you see any kind of reaction or connection to what it is that you did on camera. So, yeah, I always prefer doing things live. Between acting and as a musician, I'd say I probably prefer playing my own shows as a musician because that's when you're truly the master and commander of your own ship and it's always fun just playing music with a band, really just actively putting your energy into something that you've created is so much fun. You know, where you don't have a script not to necessarily hold you down, because if the script is good it doesn't really matter. But yeah, so playing music is definitely my preferred mode of transport, as it were.
Darren: (On what he does in his spare time) I don't really have spare time. When I have spare time, I start freaking out because I get really antsy because I'm like, "Oh my God, there's so many things I should be working on." Man, oof, I gotta take care of the chores. You know, my laundry, I gotta go to the grocery store, I gotta clean the schmutz off my mirror that I've been trying to get rid of, clean my room – I don't know, try and make my life somewhat less of a mess and a joke of chaos than it is, so that's what I do in my spare time. But when I'm not working on Glee, certainly I'm spending all my time working on the next show that we're doing with my company, Starkid Productions, and I'm finishing and developing the music for that.
Darren: It's fundamentally crazy. Nothing has really sunk in, partially because when you're doing television, there's a disparity and disconnection. There's no immediacy like in theater when you're doing something and then everyone is experiencing it in real time. When you're doing something like Glee, you do it, you disappear, and then even when I watch alone in my room, it's like I don't feel like this crazy machine that is Glee. The only way I feel like it is when I'm on the phone more, and a couple more meetings more, and busier than I was before. But it's a blessing and the cool thing about being busy with the show is that it's with a character that I really love, I'm really proud of, and capitalize each day so it's busy for a good reason. I'm not like a crazy action villain in a blockbuster movie, it's something that I can gladly take on cause it has to do with something so strong.
Darren: I play mostly guitar, and I played drums for my brother's band growing up. I grew up playing the violin which is basically how I expanded to other musical endeavors involving some of my violin training. I play a mean kazoo and harmonica if I have some alcohol in me. Of course I condone drinking and playing the harmonica at the same time cause it won't sound good at all.
Darren: (On the sound of his music) Oh man, that's tough. I have no idea–in fact, that's been a problem for me, because I am kind of all over the place. If you know my musicals or anything, I'm a lover of genre…And a lover of long songs, and a lover of many things. So because of that, I really don't know. I'm still working on defining that, and that's been a problem for me when I'm getting any kind of attention from labels. They're like, "What's your deal?" I'm like, "I don't know. I like anything." I like to say that we are of the iPod generation. We are the first generation that has so much accessibility and exposure to so many different things, and it isn't so weird anymore to have on a playlist Beethoven, Tupac, Miley Cyrus, and Barbra Streisand. That's not weird. Well, maybe a little weird.
Darren: My greatest involvement in my life has always been my production company, StarKid Productions. I started it with my friends from the University of Michigan and we have a number of musicals. I am a composer so I do a lot of composing and lyrics for musical theater. We have a number of YouTube musicals that have been doing rather well for us. Those have been pretty big. That's been a very big force in my life. We have just recently started legitimizing ourselves as a theater presence in Chicago. I'm in LA and I write from here, but I go back and forth from Chicago and New York to work on the next show we're working on, which is "Starship" and it will be out in 2011. I am doing the score and the music for it. Glee takes precedence, but when I go home or I'm in my trailer I'm working on music and developing the next musical we're doing. It takes up a lot of my time and a lot of my love and passion but Glee is of course so much fun and I am so happy to be working on it as much as I am. Obviously Glee is a huge thing, an arguably much bigger one than the StarKid stuff. The StarKid stuff is near and dear to my heart because it's my own personal thing and they are my best friends. I am trying to balance both of those right now. Before Glee I was auditioning quite a bit and I was on a show on ABC for a bit called Eastwick and I've done little spots on film and in television before. I have had a good introduction into that world and with Glee I auditioned and it stuck and it's been unreal because not only is it a great part but it's a great show. I consider myself so blessed. A lot of good things are happening, I'm knocking on wood right now.
Darren: (On if he grew up in a musical family) My parents encouraged it, but they didn't really play music. I'm in a real minority as far as having really supportive parents in regards to the arts. They never batted an eye as far as not letting me do that stuff. That's invaluable. I can't believe how unabashedly supportive they were about everything, between music and acting.
Darren: (About Glee) I'm still a guest star. I'm not there eight days a week, like all the other kids. (laughs) Everyone's been really warm and welcoming, and I have nothing but glowing reviews of everybody. Glee is a wonderful opportunity and a great, great atmosphere. But, you know, as much as I want to tell you when I get there you can feel the energy and all that stuff, of course you can, but the end of the day, it's just work, and you're there to do a job, and you're there to tell a story. And when you show up to work, you don't have millions of people looking at you being like, "Hey, I love the show." I don't mean to devalue how awesome it is, because God knows I love working on the show, and it's very, very special, but what I mean is, it is work. But it certainly is a blast, and I'm very grateful to be there.
Darren: (On how he auditioned for Glee) For the pilot, when I was auditioning for Finn, I sang "Part of Your World" from "The Little Mermaid." I thought it would be funny and give me a shot in the dark at amusing the casting people. I did some Marvin Gaye for another one. But because Blaine is such a preppy, Tom Ford guy I went in preppy. It was night and day for anyone who knows me, that's for sure. I cut my hair and sang "Where Or When" by Rogers & Hart and then I sang an A capella version of "Baby One More Time".
Darren: (On working with Chris Colfer on Glee) He's a lovely guy. I enjoy Chris a lot – very generous as an actor, big heart, huge talent. I think both him and I are curious to see where these two go. Everyone assumes we're going to date – and as a fan, I get that. I also want to see Kurt get somebody. It doesn't even have to be romantic, we just want to see him happy because the good guys should always get what they deserve. I can't confirm or deny any deeper relationship ... but at this point, it doesn't matter – I'm excited about he fact Kurt has someone he can relate to deeply. Kurt has never has another teen gay male to relate to, and right now, that's what matters to me. It's neither here nor there if it develops into more for me -- I'm most concerned that Kurt have a support system.