Around Town: Darren Criss ‘How to Succeed in Business’ Party Draws Chris Benz, Susan Sarandon, and More

Darren Criss
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Darren Criss in Calvin Klein Collection

If anyone at trendy NYC eatery The Darby wasn’t already in love with Darren Criss, they were once he took the stage to warble a few numbers at a party celebrating his Broadway début in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

“I was trying to think of what to play, and I figured there were a lot of Broadway people here tonight,” the Glee star told the crowd as he tuned his guitar.

“I thought I might veer on the musical theater side, which is something I love,” he said, and launched into a tender version of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid.

Indeed, stage luminaries like Susan Sarandon, Alan Cumming, John Benjamin Hickey, Tony-winning costume designer William Ivey Long, and several Book of Mormon cast members were in the audience.

“This is pretty great to meet so many of you who I’ve actually worshipped from afar, to see you from here on the other side is a really special thing for me,” Criss said, sitting down at the piano to sing one of his own compositions.

Then, accompanied by a full band, he did the classics “My Funny Valentine” and “Bring It On Home to Me,” complete with bluesy growling.

stanley tucci
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Chris Benz at the Darren Criss party

Finally, Criss returned to the piano, said, “This is the song that kind of changed my life, and that’s why I’m here tonight,” and sang a ballad-like version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” the number that launched him so memorably on Glee.

In the final stanza, he changed a lyric, and sang, “You make me feel like I’m living a teenage dream. The way you turn me on, I can’t believe that I’m doing Broadway at the age of 24.” Chills.

Criss was dapper in a suit by Calvin Klein Collection, the evening’s co-host along with The Peggy Siegal Company.

Actress Lily Rabe told FashionEtc that she met Criss while working near the Glee set in L.A. “I had an hour off from shooting, and I went over there, and they were shooting their Christmas episode, and I mean, he’s such a star. He’s incredible,” she gushed.

Book of Mormon Tony-winner Nikki M. James’s gave us her assessment of Criss: “He’s divine! He’s really cute. I can say that – he’s very cute!”

Chris Benz confessed to being a total Gleek. “I met Darren Criss backstage at Glee Live over the summer,” the designer told FashionEtc, laughing.

However, Benz revealed that he’s never pushed to get his clothing on the show. “It’s the same as, like, doing wedding dresses for people. I feel like it’s more fun to be a guest.” Definitely.