STAGE TUBE: Darren Criss Serenades Composer Menken With Surprise Appearance
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Criss revealed that during college, he used to perform a medley of Menken's songs at a local coffee shop. One day, to his great surprise, Menken himself walked into the shop and gave the singer a $100 tip for his efforts. "He was playing all of these songs really, really beautifully," Menken recalled. "I was really impressed with his talent. Next thing I know, Darren's on Glee! He's just doing incredible work."
Playing the acoustic guitar, Criss took the liberty of changing some of the composer's well-loved lyrics by singing, ""Just look at your songs / aren't they neat? Wouldn't you think your collection's complete? Wouldn't you think you're the guy, the guy who has everything?" The medley concluded with another surprise appearance from Lea Salonga, the voice of Disney's Jasmine.
Menken was presented with this year's Billboard / Hollywood Reporter Maestro Award by Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde after introducing him as "the Babe Ruth of composers." Among the many Disney films which Menken has composed the music for are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.