Fans of big hair and big musical numbers were beyond thrilled to tune into NBC's Hairspray Live! on Wednesday night. And although people were pretty thrilled with the musical numbers and the transition from film to Broadway to film to TV, there was one thing that bothered viewers: the underutilization of Darren Criss. Viewers at home spent the night wondering why isn't Darren Criss performing in Hairspray Live! and simply being reduced to a basic host.
When you think about it, putting Criss in the Ryan Seacrest role may not have been the best use of the actor's skill set. I mean, you've seen his resume, right? No. Well let me fill you in.
Though most people know Criss for his role as Blaine Anderson in Glee, the actor was flexing his vocal chords long before RyanMurphy came into the picture. According to his IMBD page, Criss made his stage debut at 10 in a production of Harold Rome's Fanny. He appeared in several other plays and musicals before making his Broadway debut in 2012. That year, he replaced Daniel Radcliffe in the role of J. Pierrepont Finch in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Three years later, Criss returned to Broadway to play Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. So I think it's safe to say the guy has some skills, right?
Then why is he simply giving a behind-the-scenes tour and entertaining viewers during commercial breaks? Well, it's possible that his lack of a sining role is due to his busy schedule. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Criss recently reprised his role of Hedwig for a Los Angeles and San Fransisco tour that ran from Oct. 4 to Nov. 27. And while the tour didn't conflict with the NBC airdate, Criss would have had to miss rehearsals in order to take to the California stage.
But even if the tour started after Hairspray Live! aired, Criss still may not have been able to commit to a larger role. Playing the titular character of Hedwig and The Angry Inch requires some serious physical skills. I mean, the guy is dancing and jumping around stage in the highest if heels. All while singing. Criss would have had to dedicate his time to training, not learning how to twist and shout.
But still, it's a shame that Criss isn't shaking and singing with the rest of the cast. And it's something Twitter is pretty upset about too.
Yes, it's disappointing that Criss didn't take on the role of Corny Collins or Link Larkin. But really, fans should be blessed that he decided to join them for the night at all. And who knows. Maybe he'll be cast in next year's NBC musical.