Age & Hometown: 24; Santa Fe, NM
Current Role: Jauntily navigating the dual puppeteering roles of wide-eyed college grad Princeton and uptight and closeted Rod in the off-Broadway transfer of the Tony-winning musical Avenue Q.
That's Dr. Bluestone to You: If Darren Bluestone weren’t an actor, he might have become a doctor. “I was deciding between Northwestern or Washington University for biology or medicine,” he recalls. His love of drama had been sparked by seeing Big on Broadway when he was seven, doing plays after school and dressing up in crazy costumes with his sister, but his academically minded parents urged him to pursue a more secure career. “So, of course, I did exactly the opposite,” he jokes. Bluestone entered Carnegie Mellon University, where he majored in musical theater. “It was such a fantastic and stunning experience,” he recalls. “I was given so much freedom there, and it really prepared me for what was to come.”
Finding "Purpose" on YouTube: Bluestone made his NYC debut in NYMF’s 2011 production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and was offered a gig as an Avenue Q vacation swing six months after college graduation. Technically, however, he had auditioned seven years earlier. After seeing the show on Broadway, Bluestone uploaded a video of himself singing “Purpose” on YouTube. “[Composer] Jeff Marx saw it, and we started Facebook messaging but lost contact after a couple of years,” he recalls. “After I got Princeton/Rod, I emailed him to tell him I was going to be the lead in his show. He was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s you?!’” When Bluestone told original star John Tartaglia the story, “He was like, ‘That’s how I know you! Jeff showed us this video of a dorky high school sophomore trying to sing that song!’ I was mortified.”
It’s That Little Flame: Avenue Q's fresh-faced Princeton was a perfect match for Bluestone as he made his own transition to New York City. “Figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, moving into an apartment, finding a good group of friends—I was going through all of that while singing ‘I Wish I Could Go Back to College,’” he says. Luckily, he made those friends, found an apartment in Morningside Heights and has never been more sure that he’s found his “purpose.” The recent 10th anniversary performance of Avenue Q felt like a re-opening for the show, “our cast's opening and our re-introduction to the world.” Next, Bluestone hopes to make his way to the Main Stem. “I really want to play Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys, and I’d love to be in The Book of Mormon,” he says. While dreaming big, “I’m learning how to relax in this whole process and enjoy it.”