How to success in business without really trying? We're starting to get an idea of what it takes: playing gay on network TV.
Come Jan. 1, Glee star Darren Criss is taking over for Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role of J. Pierrepont Finch in the Broadway revival of How To Success In Business Without Really Trying, but that's not the only addition of a TV star to the cast.
Michael Urie, the Ugly Betty star currently walking the planks in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard Off-Broadway will be joining the cast as Bud Frump beginning Jan. 24. (At that point, Criss will have already been replaced by Nick Jonas.)
And while Urie's Marc St. James on Betty came a few years before Glee, Urie thinks that the young, gay characters have something in common.
"When I look at the things we were doing on Ugly Betty in its first season, it's amazing to see how far we've come as a society... not just on TV, but as a society," he recently told the Huffington Post. "Shows like Modern Family and Glee are two of the biggest comedies on TV and certainly very buzz worthy, and both have great gay characters who have really big problems beyond just coming out of the closet. I think we've come a long way, and I like to think we helped pave the way.
"I remember when I was a kid, watching Ellen DeGeneres come out on TV with my family. I imagine kids that were that age in 2005 or 2006 watching Ugly Betty and being able to see themselves. Also, having the Justin Suarez character [played by Mark Indelicato] come out of the closet was a major, major step forward for LGBT youth on TV. He certainly helped pave the way for the Kurt Hummel character on Glee."
Just because progress has been made, however, doesn't mean Hollywood is wide open for gay character--or actors.
"I think that for certain people, if it were to come out [that they were gay], it would still limit them as actors, which is why there are a lot of them who choose to remain mum about their sexuality," Urie said. "Every time another high-profile person comes out, it becomes less and less of a burden for actors. But people with the biggest suspension of disbelief are those who watch TV or go to the theater for pleasure only. It's so interesting what people will say when you encourage them to judge it. While it's tricky when you're trying to get jobs... once you get the job, that's the easy part."
And we're sure he's thrilled he got the job on How to Succeed.