BWW Interviews: Hairspray's Link Larkin, aka Darin Richardson, Takes on The Friday Five

May 11
9:40 AM 2012


Inspired by's Friday Six, welcome to's latest installment of The Friday Five: five questions designed to help you learn more about the talented people you'll find on stages in the Volunteer State.

Today's spotlight falls upon Darin Richardson, who is currently onstage in Circle Players' Hairspray, getting his 1960s teen heartthrob on as Link Larkin, playing opposite Whitney Vaughn as Tracy Turnblad. For Richardson, it's just the latest in a long list of onstage roles, which includes his recent role in The Keeton Theatre's Kiss Me, Kate, and a stint at the Miracle Theatre in Pigeon Forge, where he and castmates were forced to sort of re-write The Good Book when Jesus got stuck in the tomb. Seriously. So, gentle readers, read on…and find out more about the handsome and talented Darin Richardson, and go to The Larry Keeton Theatre and see him in Hairspray (he's there for the next two weekends).

 What was your first "live onstage" taste of theater? My first taste of live theatre came during the Christmas season at church. As a kid, I remember performing in the children's Christmas program ranging from simple cantatas to full blown storyline plays.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I really don't have any pre-show rituals to speak of.  I think my favorite part is the whole experience of getting into character before the show.  It's the atmosphere, the costumes, setting pre-sets, hair, make-up, warm-ups, everything that makes up my pre-show ritual. Looking at at the mirror and seeing a transformation each night into whatever character I'm portraying is what I look forward to each night.  

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? Through the years I have had several "the show must go on" moments including forgetting the opening lyrics to the opening song of the show, but there is one moment onstage that stands out. Last summer while working at the Miracle Theatre in Pigeon Forge, I had one those unforgettably awkward moments onstage. It was during the Resurrection scene of "the Miracle" where Jesus rolls the stone away and walks out of his tomb. I was playing the Archangel Michael and was onstage with three other actors all gesturing towards the tomb.  We watched as the stone shook a little and then…nothing. Didn't take long for us to look at each other and realize that Jesus was stuck in the tomb! So we finished that song with Jesus running center stage at the end...and crickets chirping. Nothing like re-writing the Bible in front of an live audience.

What's your dream role? There are so many good shows out there that I would LOVE to be a part of. I've always wanted to play Link in Hairspray (which I am getting to do in Circle's Production this May!) and Gabe in Next to Normal.  In a few years, or maybe longer, I want to play Jamie in The Last Five Years.

Who's your theatrical crush? I have never been really big on celebrity crushes. There have been moments of "yeah that person is crazy sexy and unbelievably talented" (i.e. Reese Witherspoon) but they have always been short lived.  With the exception of one. There is one person who has mastered stage, television, movies, AND music all the while looking unbelievably sexy. She is a down to earth woman with more talent and poise than anyone. Ironically, I tend to steer away from red-heads, but Reba McEntire is someone that I have never been able to get over. I admire everything about her.

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About the Author

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors - the history of which can be traced to 1989 and the first presentation of The First Night Awards - which honor outstanding theater artisans from Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and also includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors recognition. Midwinter's First Night honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. An accomplished director, Ellis helmed productions of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, all in their Nashville premieres, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show. Ellis was recognized by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.

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