Three years ago, Lea Michele and Darren Criss said goodbye to their quirky characters on the television musical show “Glee.” But the music hasn't died for the pair since the hit Ryan Murphy-bred series ended.
Earlier this year, Michele and Criss — who have each released studio albums and performed on other shows since — embarked on their “LM/DC Tour.” They started in Nashville and hit 14 cities spanning the East Coast and Midwest from May to July.
On Oct. 26, the duo is bringing the tour to the West Coast and abroad, including early November stops at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa and at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.
The performances will include selections from “Glee,” as well as Broadway hits and original songs by Michele and Criss.
“When you come and see us, it’s kind of like sitting in our living rooms and getting to talk and hang out and sing at the same time,” Michele said in a phone interview. “We try to make the shows as intimate, enjoyable and personal as possible.”
Ahead of the tour, Michele sat down to discuss her excitement to work with Criss again, the timelessness of “Glee” and the performers' career growth since the show ended.
TimesOC: What made you want to hit the road with Darren again?
Lea Michele: I think we knew conceptually that it would be a great idea. We’ve performed at smaller benefit concerts together and charity events and, obviously, for years together on “Glee.” It’s a much different animal when you’re on the road with someone and performing on a stage with them every single night.
The last leg totally exceeded my wildest expectations, and I just had so much fun with Darren. The response from our audiences and our fans was so incredible that when we were done, we literally looked at each other and we were like, “We have to do this again.”
TimesOC: What makes Darren such an easy choice to tour with?
Michele: Darren and I are quite different, but in many ways, we’re also very similar ... he’s incredibly spontaneous and adventurous, and I'm way more organized and coloring within the lines, [but] when it comes to working together, we’re very similar in how seriously we take our jobs and our professions ... We’ve really remained friends out of working together post-“Glee.”
TimesOC: Given that this is the second leg of the tour, can fans expect anything different from the first set of dates?
Michele: We definitely learned what our fans were really enjoying. We think we've put together a really great concert. It’s a fantastic combination of songs from “Glee,” from our albums and Broadway ... With social media and people just constantly posting stuff online, we do want to make sure this concert is different so that the people who are at these shows are getting a new experience. The great thing is we did over 800 songs on “Glee,” so there are so many songs that we can pick from.
TimesOC: Speaking of “Glee,” what does that mean to you to still have that fan support after all these years?Why has “Glee” remained so timeless for people?
Michele: “Glee” was just such a phenomenon, and it really came at such an incredible time where we really brought music back into people’s homes. We played these characters that were incredibly unique and relatable to so many people. What's happening now is “Glee” is really sort of recycling. We’re gaining so many new fans, including kids that were too young years ago to watch the show. It's so exciting when we see young kids who say, “We just started watching ’Glee,’ and we love it so much.” It's exciting to think that hopefully that will continue and the show will just keep growing for the rest of our lives.
TimesOC: Your careers have seemed to skyrocket since the show. You've released two studio albums and have performed on several sold-out tours. Darren just won the Emmy Award for Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” Can you discuss that growth in your careers and where you’re at now?
Michele: We’re both just incredibly grateful. Obviously, I couldn’t be more proud of Darren. I cried so hard when he won the Emmy, and he deserved it so much ... We just have worked really hard. Coming off such an iconic television show, it is very difficult to move on and have audiences see you as someone other than that character. Darren and I have really tried hard to branch out, play different roles and go on to different [television] shows. We just love working and we both love what we do. You can see that if you see us perform live. We just want to keep growing and working. The sky’s the limit, hopefully.
TimesOC: Have you discussed any other Ryan Murphy shows or “Glee” spin-offs?
Michele: I love Rachel Berry so much, and it goes without saying that I would love to play her again whenever Ryan would ever want to do that.
TimesOC: What else can we expect from you in the future?
Michele: I’m working on some new TV shows and starting to also work on my third record. Darren is also working on new music ... We’re both just keeping busy. The fact that we're able to align our schedules and make time for this tour, it’s not an easy task, but we really just love this tour so much. We’re so grateful we were able to make this next leg work out.
Brittany Woolsey is a contributor to Times Community News
IF YOU GO
What: Lea Michele and Darren Criss, “The LM/DC” tour
When: Nov. 2 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa; Nov. 5 at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles
Cost: $39 for balcony to $459 for VIP/meet-and-greet packages