“Glee” has been off the air for three years but Gleeks seeking a class reunion can find Rachel Berry and Blaine Anderson coming together again in a special concert at the Chicago Theatre that would make even Sue Sylvester proud.
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State
The LM/DC Tour, starring Lea Michele and Darren Criss, brings the two series actors together on the stage again, singing duets made famous on the TV show while also peppering the set list with tunes from each singer’s solo releases as well as selections from their combined years on Broadway. Michele’s résumé includes “Les Misérables,” where she debuted in show business at the young age of 8, as well as “Ragtime” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” while Criss has had rave reviews for his appearances in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
“Darren and I obviously met through ‘Glee,’ but we have been friends ever since and our friendship has continued to grow. We spend holidays together, our families are friends and we often perform at benefits and charity events together,” says Michele of the “instant, obvious connection” she enjoys with her tour partner. After performing together at Elsie Fest last October — a festival that Criss started to combine pop music and Broadway show tunes — and with Michele having a full concert tour under her belt for her 2017 solo release, “Places,” the two started talking about an idea to keep the momentum going.
“I went on tour last year, and it was an amazing experience, but touring can be grueling and lonely from time to time, so I thought how great would it be to go on the road with someone like Darren. We were able to align our schedules and put the show together and everyone is having the best time. We have a show I’m very proud of.”
And so is Ryan Murphy, TV juggernaut and the creator of “Glee” as well as “Scream Queens” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” which starred Michele and Criss, respectively.
“We both texted him [recently] because we had a show date in Indiana where Ryan was born and raised, and he’s been really proud of us and just loves our friendship,” says Michele. “Before the tour even got started, we asked his opinion and heeded his advice. He thought the tour was a great idea and we just love having his support in everything we do.”
On the topic of working any new projects with Murphy, Michele is mum, though she does admit, “Ryan and I are always talking. I’d work with him for the rest of my life if I could. Whenever that opportunity might come up I’ll be available.”
Though the cast of “Glee” has also been marred by tragedy, including the sudden passings of Cory Monteith and Mark Salling, the actors remain incredibly close (Michele just named co-star Jonathan Groff as the maid of honor at her upcoming wedding) and have hopes for a resurrection or one-off special at some point.
“The show means so much to me as does the character I played. If the time and place was ever right, and as long as Ryan was the one driving the show, I’d be there,” says Michele, who believes “Glee’s” popularity really stemmed from bringing music back into families’ homes.
“Music is the universal language and we were bringing it back to this format. Back in the day there used to be so many variety shows in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and that went away for a while,” she says. “Now every Christmas and Easter, the networks do a live holiday special and now there’s so many variety shows and competitions [the actress recently appeared on ‘American Idol’], and if we played any part in that I’m so proud.”
Recent set lists in the LM/DC Tour have included covers like “Don’t Rain On My Parade” (from “Funny Girl”), Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”and a beautiful rendition of “Falling Slowly” from the hit movie and Broadway adaptation “Once” that Michele says she and Criss begged Murphy to do on “Glee” though it never worked out.
Though Chicago is one of the final dates on the tour, Michele hints there may be more coming from the collaborative duo in the future. “The dream would be to do Broadway with Darren,” she says when asked about a production she’s itching to be a part of. “Maybe even something original.”
Selena Fragassi is a local freelance writer.