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Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘A Very Darren Crissmas’ put a new spin on holiday classics

On tour for his recent holiday album, “A Very Darren Crissmas,” Darren Criss brought some of his Christmas joy to Madison.

Glee star Darren Criss put on a dazzling “Crissmas” performance Tuesday night at the Barrymore Theatre while on tour for his recent holiday album, “A Very Darren Crissmas.” 

His holiday album comprises a wide range of songs ranging from Christmas classics to novelty tunes for all to enjoy. Some songs featured on the album include a jazzy rendition of Joni Mitchell’s melancholy ballad “River” and a heartfelt cover of John Mayer’s “St. Patrick’s Day.” 

Criss put his own spin on each of the covers, hoping to bring something new and refreshing to the yearly classics. Each song on his holiday album and setlist showcased his wide vocal range and genre versatility.

The album has two original songs: “Christmas Dance” and “Drunk on Christmas,” a duet with Lainey Wilson. “Christmas Dance” is a lovely song about celebrating the holidays with the ones we love. On the other hand, “Drunk on Christmas” parallels the country music style of stars like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers in a light-hearted song about partying hard during the holidays. 

Outside of an incredible performance, Criss shared his personal connections with the album’s songs and how he produced them in a way that felt “Darren.” 

“I always knew that if I ever made a Christmas album, it would have to be much more than just a collection of songs you already knew,” Criss said on his website. “I’d want it to be a journey through songs that not only had a personal significance to my life but also a unique introduction to songs folks had never heard before.” 

Criss’ performance did just that. With a mix of Christmas classics and deep cuts, there was something for everyone in the audience to enjoy. 

And of course, Criss couldn’t put on a show without paying homage to his time on “Glee.” For his encore, Criss performed “Teenage Dream” with a little bit of a “Crissmasy” touch and sprinkled a little bit of “Somewhere Only We Know” into a medley of assorted Christmas songs, two songs his character Blaine performed on “Glee.” 

A lovely mix of Christmas songs and “Crissmas” shenanigans, “A Very Darren Christmas” did not disappoint “Glee” lovers, holiday enthusiasts and others in attendance who were just along for the sleigh ride. 

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Anna Kleiber

Anna Kleiber is an arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on state politics and campus news. Follow her on Twitter at @annakleiber03.

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