Lea Michele has a lot on her plate. The actress and singer is getting ready to kick off her co-headlining tour with former Glee co-star Darren Criss, she’s working on her new album, and oh yeah — there’s a little thing called wedding planning she has to make time for.
Yahoo Entertainment caught up with Michele as part of her partnership with Whirlpool and chatted about all things music, TV, and, of course, her upcoming nuptials with Zandy Reich. On Wednesday, Michele and Criss will kick things off in Nashville. “We’ve been working on this for a while now. Darren and I have always toyed with the idea of going on tour together, and we were finally able to align our schedules. It was more difficult than we thought,” she explains.
“We put together a really great concert filled with songs we did together on Glee, some Broadway songs, also songs from my album and some of Darren’s — there’s something there for everyone,” she shares. “I’m going to do a couple songs from my latest album, Places. I’m definitely going to do ‘Run to You’ — I love that song. If you can think about some of the duets that [Darren and I] did together, some of the more popular ones, we’re going to try to do a lot of those.”
She continues, “We just had our run-through … Darren’s set is so good, I literally stood up and screamed like a fan. I’m a really big fan of his — obviously he’s my friend, but he’s an incredible performer.”
Criss might have been a little too good at rehearsal, because a light bulb went off in Michele’s head about how she planned to use him at her wedding.
“There was a song [Darren] wanted me to sing in concert, so he told me kind of last minute, and I had to learn it,” she explains. “So I learned it on our last rehearsal date. He’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you so much,’ and I’m like, ‘No problem, just start preparing all the songs for my wedding now.’ He’s like, ‘done.’”
If that’s what it takes to get Darren to perform at her nuptials, “I got a good trade,” she says.
The Scream Queens star got engaged to Reich in April. He is president of the clothing line AYR (All Year Round), and while he’s a savvy businessman, he’s not as musically inclined as his fiancée.
“Oh no, he’s not, the poor thing,” Michele says with a laugh. However, music is going to be a key component somehow on their big day. “We love music, so that’s going to be super-important,” she notes. (We hope you get the hint here, Darren.)
While the actress hasn’t gotten too far along in the wedding-planning process, she has nailed down her “maid of honor”: BFF Jonathan Groff. “There’s no one else to fill those shoes better!” she exclaims. As for other bridesmaids, she says, “I haven’t gotten that far yet, just Jonathan right now.”
The bridal party may be a work in progress, but there’s a good chance some of her elementary and high school friends will make the cut. “I did have a very enjoyable high school experience. I never thought I would say this, but I would go back!” Michele says, adding that she’s still close to 10 best friends she grew up with. “Those are the connections and relationships where they really know who you are.”
Michele also credits her parents for helping her to have an enjoyable high school experience, which is why her new partnership was a no-brainer. On Friday, Whirlpool enlisted the actress and singer to deliver a commencement address at Uplift Peak Preparatory in Dallas, as part of their “Congrats, parents” campaign, which aims to celebrate the adults behind the 3.6 million high schoolers who will graduate this year.
“It’s just really exciting for me because what we’re really getting to talk about is how important our parents are and how they’ve helped all of these students get to where they are today,” she shares. “For me, my parents worked full-time jobs, but simultaneously they were helping me with my career growing up as well as helping get me through education. They were also cooking me dinner every night, doing laundry, doing the dishes — I had very present parents, which I’m incredibly grateful for. … I just want to give a little moment of acknowledgment to all the parents out there.”
Unlike in the good old days, the singer says she isn’t taking the summer off. Michele recently starred on ABC’s The Mayor, and although it was loved by critics, the show wasn’t picked up for a second season. Still, she says, she will “probably” do more TV.
“I like to take my summers as much as I can and focus on music. I’m simultaneously working on my third album; I’m in the very very very early process of that,” she says. “Hopefully in the fall, wintertime, I’ll do more television.”
Perhaps that could mean reuniting with Ryan Murphy sometime in the future? “Oh my gosh, of course. I love Ryan — he’s one of my dearest friends — so whenever [he calls], I’m there,” she says.
Murphy turned Michele and Darren Criss into psychos on Scream Queens and American Crime Story, so maybe it’s time for a killer onscreen reunion? You heard it here first.
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