Lea Michele and Darren Criss In Concert

Theater Review – November 4, 2018


ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

Lea Michele and Darren Criss proved on television’s “Glee” how talented the young performers are.  Now touring the country in a superb concert, the pair brought their dazzling talents to ASU Gammage for a single dynamic performance that featured several of their “Glee” song hits, a rich selection of musical theater classics, and several contemporary hits.  The pair is personable, poised, and polished.  They delivered a wonderfully diverse two-hour song fest to a near capacity audience of fans and others not familiar with their past work but who were no doubt new fans by the performance’s conclusion.  By the end, the pair and their excellent back-up band had the audience delivering a well-earned standing ovation.

The duo sang a representative selection of the over 800 songs the pair sang during the popular show’s six year run.  Michele was part of the series from the beginning while Criss joined “Glee” in the second year.  The pair chatted easily with the audience and asked for “Glee” favorites of which they performed many.  Their generous musical theater selections included songs featured on “Glee” and others from current shows.  The pair was backed by a band that Criss works with and the boisterous song arrangements allowed Criss and Michele to run with many expressive moments that added to each song.

Michele told stories of her on-stage fears.  Although she claimed she’s always nervous and apprehensive performing, she seemed relaxed and comfortable throughout the performance.  Criss is obviously a relaxed performer who enjoys every minute of his time before his audience.

The pair sang brilliantly together in carefully conceived arrangements that made the most of each performer’s vocal acumen but each singer commanded the stage during solo moments and sections.  Criss accompanied himself and Michele on both the guitar and piano as she told what an accomplished musician he is.  He composes songs some of which they sang including a wonderful solo number Michele performed on “Glee’s” finale.  While the two sing together well they emphasize in solo moments the different song styles they perform making the concert pleasant for including various musical styles.

It is refreshing to have two remarkably talented young professionals.  Since both performers sing musical theater songs beautifully and since Michele has starred in two Broadway tuners, it is nice to know that musical theater has two young stars.

It is a shame that the Lea Michele/Darren Criss concert was in town for just one performance.  The pair delivered a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Grade: A