Darren Criss returns to Broadway in MAYBE HAPPY ENDING this Fall

May 14, 2024

Maybe Happy Ending Broadway MusicalEmmy Award® & Golden Globe Award® Winner




 Will Star in the New Broadway Musical






(New York, NY) – Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Darren Criss (American Buffalo, Little Shop of Horrors, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) will return to the stage alongside Helen J Shen (The Lonely Few, Teeth) in the Broadway premiere of the new romantic musical comedy Maybe Happy Ending with music by Will Aronson, lyrics by Hue Park and book by both Aronson and Park. Direction is by Tony Award-winner Michael Arden (Parade, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Once on this Island). Maybe Happy Ending will also feature Dez Duron (NBC’s “The Voice”) who makes his Broadway debut along with Shen.  

Maybe Happy Ending will begin previews on Wednesday, September 18, 2024 and open on Thursday, October 17, 2024 at the Belasco Theatre (111 W. 44th St.).

Final casting as well as ticketing and on-sale information will be announced at a later date.

Having led the visual development of the piece since 2018, Tony Award-nominee Dane Laffrey (A Christmas Carol, Once on This Island) will design the Set and Additional Video, while Costume Design is by Tony Award-winner Clint Ramos (KPOP, Eclipsed), Lighting Design is by Tony Award-nominee Ben Stanton (A Christmas Carol, Fun Home), Sound Design is by Tony Award-winner Peter Hylenski (Moulin Rouge!: The Musical, Beetlejuice), Video Design by George Reeve (Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends, UK), Deborah Abramson (The Gardens of Anuncia) is the Music Supervisor and John Yun will be the Music Director. Casting is by Telsey & Co, Craig Burns, CSA and Justin Scribner is the Production Stage Manager.

Inside a one-room apartment in the heart of Seoul, Oliver (Criss) lives a happily quiet life listening to jazz records and caring for his favorite plant. But what else is there to do when you’re a HelperBot 3, a robot that has long been retired and considered obsolete? When his fellow HelperBot neighbor Claire (Shen) asks to borrow his charger, what starts as an awkward encounter leads to a unique friendship, a surprising adventure, and maybe even...love? Winner of the Richard Rodgers Award, Maybe Happy Ending is the offbeat and captivating story of two outcasts near the end of their warranty who discover that even robots can be swept off their feet. Helmed by visionary director and Tony Award winner Michael Arden (Parade, Once on This Island), with a dazzling scenic design by Dane Laffrey (A Christmas Carol) and book, music, and lyrics by the internationally acclaimed duo Will Aronson and Hue Park, Maybe Happy Ending is a fresh, original musical about the small things that make any life worth living.

“I am so very happy to be joining the enchanting world of Maybe Happy Ending,” said Darren Criss. “It’s already such a special piece, but all the more exciting for me to get to build it for Broadway with people I admire - namely my ol’ pal Michael Arden, a visionary I’ve been wanting to work with for longer than I care to admit, as well as the very talented Will Aronson and Hue Park. Their inventive book and music, combined with Michael’s direction, is exactly the kind of alchemy that gets me most excited about what musical theater can be. I can’t wait for audiences to take part in this wonderfully original theatrical experience, and behold a story from a future that explores one of the most ancient questions of humanity- why love?”

Maybe Happy Ending was written in both Korean and English-language versions. The Korean-language version opened in December of 2016 at DaeMyung Culture Factory in Seoul and subsequently won six Korean Musical Awards including Best Musical. The English-language version was awarded the 2017 Richard Rodgers Production Award and had its U.S. premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in the 2019-2020 season under the direction of Michael Arden.  The acclaimed production was hailed by The Atlantic Journal Constitution as a “dazzling, new musical…a tour-de-force” and Atlanta InTown said the show is “breathtakingly beautiful to watch. You will see stage magic that you’ve never experienced in person in the live theatre.” Broadway World noted the show is “marvelous…the story is interesting and beautifully realized, and it’ll leave you both eager and afraid to access your own relationship to love.”

Maybe Happy Ending is produced by Jeffrey Richards, Hunter Arnold, Darren Criss, making his Broadway producing debut, Rebecca Gold, Spencer Ross, Adam Zotovich, Kayla Greenspan, M/B/P Productions, Fahs Productions, Ken Greiner, Ruth Hendel, Willette and Manny Klausner, Cody Lassen Mix and Match Productions, The Nederlander Organization, Jacob Stuckelman & John Albert Harris. Allan Williams serves as Executive Producer.


DARREN CRISS (Oliver). Multi-hyphenate actor and musician, Darren Criss burst on to the scene as one of the most memorable TV characters of all time, Blaine Anderson in Fox’s hit show “Glee.” His portrayal of Andrew Cunanan in Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed limited series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” earned him a Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice Award. In addition to his work on television, Criss is a veteran of the stage whose Broadway credits include American Buffalo opposite Sam Rockwell and Laurence Fishburne (2022), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2015), How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (2012), and most recently the off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors (2024). He released a solo EP in 2021 titled Masquerade (BMG), and in the same year, released a full-length holiday album titled- aptly- A Very Darren Crissmas (Decca), for which he recently toured in North America.

HELEN J SHEN (she/they) (Claire) is an actor, musician, and writer who has quickly established herself as a force within the theatre industry. Helen currently stars in MCC Theater’s musical The Lonely Few by Zoe Sarnak and Rachel Bonds, directed by Trip Cullman and Ellenore Scott, following their acclaimed performance in the show's world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse in 2022. For their portrayal of JJ, Entertainment Weekly described them as a “force to be reckoned with.” Recently, she captivated audiences in Anna K. Jacobs and Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael R. Jackson’s musical Teeth at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Sarah Benson. Helen’s regional credits also include starring in Anna Ouyang Moench's Man of God at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and as Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard at ACT of Connecticut. Helen earned a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan, receiving the esteemed Earl V. Moore Award.

DEZ DURON (Gil Brentley) is a singer/songwriter from Shreveport, LA. Before his famed debut on NBC's “The Voice,” Dez grew up singing in the church where his parents pastored. Upon graduating high school, Dez left singing behind, albeit temporarily, to pursue his love of football after being recruited by Yale to play quarterback. But, with his roots grounded in music, he left college after his sophomore year to try out for “The Voice”. His natural on-camera presence, undeniable likeability, charm, looks, and voice swooned viewers, pushing him all the way to the Top 8.  As an actor, he starred in the world premiere of the new musical Maybe Happy Ending at the Alliance Theatre, directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden. He also starred in the world premiere of the musical Music City at Cape Fear Regional Theatre. On screen, he starred in the Freevee pilot “Open Book” (created by Jessica Simpson). In addition to singing, Dez has seen success in modeling, being featured in the influential American Eagle Outfitters "Live Your Life" campaign. Since “The Voice”, Dez has been in the studio making music, and booking personal appearances around the country, performing in front of thousands of fans. His next single “Let’s Just Call It Love” is set to release May 17.

WILL ARONSON (Book, Music) and HUE PARK (Book, Lyrics) have created the original musicals Maybe Happy Ending (Richard Rodgers Production Award, six Korean Musical Awards, productions running in Korea, China and Japan), IL TENORE (currently running at Seoul’s 1700-seat Blue Square Theater), and the upcoming Ghost Bakery (December 2024, Seoul’s Doosan Arts Center). They also created the musical stage adaptation of the film Bungee Jump (Korean Musical Award for Best Score), which was cited by The NY Times in 2013 as “Korea’s most popular original musical.” In addition to his work with Will Aronson, Hue Park has written lyrics for K-Pop (including the top-20 song 울어도 괜찮아), and has translated many shows for the Korean stage, including The Phantom of the OperaThe Bodyguard and M. Butterfly. Will Aronson’s other work includes the music for My Scary Girl (Best Musical, NY Musical Festival), Mother, Me & The Monsters (Barrington Stage, Boston Globe Critic’s Pick), Pete the Cat (TheatreworksUSA, six national tours), Wind-Up Girl (Ars Nova Uncharted), and Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter (Village Theater, NAMT grant).

MICHAEL ARDEN (Director) was awarded the 2023 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of Parade starring Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, which will have a national tour beginning early 2025. Michael was also Tony nominated for his revivals of Once On This Island and Spring Awakening. Michael wrote and directed Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which played the Nederlander Theatre last holiday season starring Jefferson Mays. Michael is currently co-directing The Preacher’s Wife at the Atlanta Alliance Theater by Tituss Burgess and Azie Dungey. He will also soon helm the new Stephen Schwartz and Lindsey Ferrentino musical The Queen of Versailles starring Kristin Chenowith, and a new musical adaptation of the cult film The Lost Boys. Other directing credits include: Maybe Happy Ending at the Atlanta Alliance, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, and site specific works: American Dream Study and ALIEN/NATION with his company The Forest of Arden. Arden has been named on Variety’s Impact List and is the winner of an NAACP Award for best direction of his revival of Merrily We Roll Along at the Wallis Annenberg in Los Angeles. In addition to directing theater in America and around the globe, he regularly directs “The Connors” on ABC, and has appeared in numerous features and TV shows, most notably: “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Bride Wars”, “Anger Management”, “Source Code”, and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. On stage, Arden has appeared on Broadway in Big River; The Times, They Are A-Changin’, and King Lear. Arden is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and alumni of the Interlochen Arts Academy and The Juilliard School.

DANE LAFFREY (Scenic and Additional Video Design) is a designer and creative based in New York City. With Michael Arden on Broadway, Dane designed the set for Parade; set and costumes for Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which he co-conceived with Arden and for which he was nominated for Hewes and Tony Awards;  set for the 2018 Tony-winning revival of Once On This Island for which he received Henry Hewes, Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations; set and costumes for the Deaf West revival of Spring Awakening. Elsewhere, he and Arden have collaborated on Queen of Versailles (upcoming in Boston), Guys and Dolls (Toho, Imperial Theatre Tokyo), Merrily We Roll Along (Wallis Annenberg), Annie (The Hollywood Bowl) and many forthcoming projects for stage and film. Laffrey and Arden are partners in At Rise Creative, which won a 2023 Tony For Best Revival of a Musical for Parade. He has designed for most major off-Broadway theaters including Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club (also Fool for Love on Broadway), Lincoln Center Theatre, Second Stage, The Public, Playwrights Horizons, others. Laffrey also designs Disney’s Hercules which recently premiered in Hamburg, Germany. Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in set and costume design.


CLINT RAMOS (Costume Design) is a creative director, designer and producer. He is the Producing Creative Director for Encores! at New York City Center where he led and designed projects like Billy Porter’s revisal of The Life, The Light In The Piazza with Ruthie Ann Miles directed by Chay Yew and Jelly’s Last Jam directed by Robert O’Hara. He was the lead producer for Here Lies Love on Broadway and is the visual director for Lincoln Center’s Summer For The City Festival. In 2023 he designed long-time collaborator Robert O’Hara’s landmark production of X:The Life And Times of Malcom X at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Film credits include production design for Lingua Franca by Isabel Sandoval for Netflix. And costume design for RESPECT, the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson for MGM. He is the recipient of a TONY® Award for Best Costume Design of a Play for Eclipsed starring Luipta Nyong’o, making him the first person of color to win that category.  TONY nominations were for his costume designs for The Rose Tattoo, Once On This Island, Torch Song, KPOP and for his scenic design for Slave Play. He also is the recipient of two OBIE Awards, including one for Sustained Excellence in Design, 3 Lucille Lortel Awards , A Drama Desk Award, An Outer Critics Circle Award, 2 American Theater Wing Henry Hewes Awards, TDF Irene Sharraf Young Master Award, Helen Hayes Award, Craig Noel Award,  among other honors. He is the recipient of the Ani ng Dangal Presidential Medal for dramatic arts from the President of the Philippines-he received this honor twice. He has designed over two hundred theater, opera and dance productions. Selected credits include the Broadway productions of Grand Horizons, Burn This with Adam Driver and Keri Russell, Six Degrees of Separation with Allison Janney, Sunday in the Park With George with Jake Gyllenhaal, In Transit, Violet with Sutton Foster and The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper (also West End) among others. International credits include designs for The National Theatre, West End and the Barbican (London), O’Reilly (Dublin), Kanon (St. Petersburg), Rijksteatern (Stockholm), Thalia (Bucharest), and Tanghalang Pilipino (Manila). @clintramos

BEN STANTON (Lighting Design). Broadway Credits Include: The Notebook, Mary Jane, Days of Wine and Roses, Goodnight Oscar (Starring Sean Hayes), The Collaboration, A Christmas Carol (Starring Jefferson Mays, TONY™ nomination), The Rose Tattoo (Starring Marisa Tomei), Derren Brown: Secret, Regina Spektor: Live On Broadway, Fun Home ( TONY™ nomination), Junk ( TONY™ nomination),  Six Degrees of Separation, Deaf West’s Spring Awakening ( TONY™ nomination); Fully Committed (Starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson), An Enemy of the People, Seminar.  Ben serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Brooklyn College, and he’s the founder and principal designer at Stanton Collaborative, a full-service design firm specializing in concerts, events, and lighting installations. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, the projection designer Lucy Mackinnon, and their two children.

PETER HYLENSKI (Sound Design). Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award Honor for his work on Moulin Rouge! The Musical. A Grammy, Olivier, and eight time Tony nominee, his selected Broadway designs include: Moulin Rouge!, Frozen, Anastasia, Beetlejuice, Once On This Island, Something Rotten, King Kong, Rock of Ages, After Midnight, Motown, The Scottsboro Boys, Side Show, Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway,.  Other designs: Awakening, Le Rêve and Lake of Dreams at Wynn Las Vegas.  Peter holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

GEORGE REEVE (Video & Projection Designer) is a London based video and projection designer whose work can be seen across the UK and internationally. Upcoming video design credits: OLIVER! (Chichester Festival & West End); The Lord of the Rings (ShakespeareTheatre, Chicago); Hairspray (UK Tour); Sondheim Old Friends (Broadway); A Christmas Carol (The Lowry); Maybe Happy Ending (Broadway). Video design credits include: Hercules (Neue Flora, Disney Theatrical); Tarzan (Stuttgart, Disney Theatrical); Sondheim Old Friends (Gielgud & Sondheim Theatre, West End); Sunset Boulevard (Princess Theatre, Melbourne); In Dreams (Leeds Playhouse/Toronto); The Lord Of The Rings (Watermill); Hey Duggee The Live Theatre Show (Royal Festival Hall and UK Tour); My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) (Turbine Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe, West End); The Great British Bake Off Musical (Noel Coward Theatre); Notes From a Small Island (Watermill Theatre); Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Hope Mill Theatre); Dawn French Is A Huge Tw*t! (UK/Australia Tour, BBC); Sandi Toksvig - Next Slide Please (UK Tour); SIX (London & Broadway); The Sound of Music (National Tour); Now Is Good (Storyhouse Chester); Gypsy (Alexandra Palace); Christmas Carol (Dominion Theatre); RENT, The WIZ & Hushabye Mountain (Hope Mill Theatre); But I’m A Cheerleader (Turbine Theatre); The Pleasure Garden, The Convert (Above The Stag); Avalanche (Bloom Theatre); The Wind in the Willows (UK and UAE Tour); NoiseBoys & VIVA Club (Norwegian Cruise Line); Cinderella In Concert (Cadogan Hall); Welcome Aboard (Viking Cruises); Musicals In Concert (Palladium, Stuttgart). George won the award for Best Video Design in the 2023 Broadway World UK/West End Awards for his work on The Lord Of The Rings at the Watermill Theatre. He was also an Offie 2022 Finalist for Best Video Design for his work on The Pleasure Garden at Above the Stag.

DEBORAH K.  ABRAMSON (Music Supervisor) has served as Music Director for the Off-Broadway premieres of The Gardens of AnunciaBernarda Alba, and Broadbend, Arkansas, and the Off-Broadway revival of Vanities.  She has also served as Associate Music Director for several Broadway and Off-Broadway premieres, including Spring Awakening, James Joyce’s The Dead, Dessa Rose, My Life with Albertine, and The Glorious Ones.  First Children's Music Director on Broadway, for Matilda the Musical.  Music Director for world premiere of The Gardens of Anuncia (Old Globe) and English-language premiere of Maybe Happy Ending (Alliance Theatre).  As composer, she has written Old Older Oldest (with William Finn), Young Marco Polo (with Peter Mills), The History of War (with Amanda Yesnowitz and Chip Zien), On the Verge (with Amanda Yesnowitz).  Education from Wheaton College Conservatory and NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing.

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