While the rest of Team StarKid was off gallivanting with Sean Astin, Dylan Saunders and Darren Criss returned last weekend to their hometown of San Francisco to take part in the 2012 Season Gala for the American Conservatory Theater, where they met ten years ago as young performing arts students.

Darren and Dylan joined 400 other guests and alumni at the gala, which was “black-tie-with-a-twist,” so bright colours and extreme accessories were encouraged. The evening included a cocktail reception, dinner, and the performance of an original musical titled Tales of A.C.T.!, written especially for the occasion by A.C.T. Publications Manager Dan Rubin.

Aside from participating in the musical alongside two-time Tony Award winner Bill Irwin, actors Patrick Lane and Betsy Wolfe, students from the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program and Young Conservatory, and members of A.C.T.’s Board of Trustees, Darren also performed a few musical numbers, including James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” with Dylan and other alums Rachel Rubenstein and Charlotte Ubben, as well as addressing “I Believe In You” from How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying to a child version of himself, played by young A.C.T. student Matt Avery. He also played his well-known original song, “Not Alone,” backed up by the Young Conservatory Cabaret, and appropriately, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”

Dylan, Darren and some other alumni also took part in a Q and A, an acting advice session for the 180 Bay Area high school students and teachers with a passion for the arts who were sponsored to attend this event.

(Darren Criss and Matt Avery perform “I Believe In You”)

(Darren Criss and Bill Irwin)

(Darren and his parents at the Gala)

(Darren, Dylan Saunders and fellow alums give a Q&A)

Darren spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about returning to the city by the bay for the event:

Q: What’s it like to return home as a headliner for ACT, where you used to be a student?

A: It’s one of those full-circle moments. I started with ACT’s Young Conservatory when I was 9 or 10, and I used to take part in the galas as a kid. I remember one where I played the violin. I probably wasn’t that good on the violin, but I was this cute kid wandering around in coattails. I was a walking, talking prop, which was fun.

Q: You made your professional stage debut here in a trio of musicals with 42nd Street Moon, “Fanny,” “Do I Hear a Waltz” and “Babes in Arms.” What does that experience mean to you?

A: The 42nd Street Moon years are in tandem with the ACT years, and I’m grateful I got to foster my love of performing from a young age. Looking back, it was nice to have a place to put those interests. I was learning so much about musical theater that I never could have learned on my own. I mean, what 11-year-old knows every song in “Do I Hear a Waltz?” by heart? On a more personal level with 42nd Street Moon, all my friends were these twenty- and thirty-something theater hopefuls giving me rides home and taking me under their wing. Most kids were home watching TV and playing video games, and I was getting a burger with these guys in the Castro. I was surrounded by this vibrant, wonderful theater culture. I wasn’t really aware of it then. That’s just how it was.

Dylan shared his feelings about the event on Twitter:

Doesn’t this sound like a fun event?

Cassandra Clare keeps expanding the Shadowhunters’ universe, with the first adult books of the chronicles just announced!

Clare announced via press release this morning that she’ll publish a trilogy about Magnus Bane, the fan-favorite warlock who’s appeared in every single one of her books and already received a collection of eleven spin-off novellas all about him (The Bane Chronicles). There is no word yet on whether the new books will tie in with the stories told in The Bane Chronicles.

Interestingly, this trilogy will be Clare’s first foray into adult literature, after writing extensively in the YA realm. She always pushed the boundaries of YA, though, with the inclusion of “Dirty Sexy Balcony Scenes” and the like. The first Shadowhunter book, City of Bones, was published in 2007, and the teens who picked it up back then will feel right at home in the adult section of a bookstore today.

Also of note, the series will be co-written with Wesley Chu (author of The Lives of Tao). Clare seems to like having co-writers when dealing with Magnus Bane; The Bane Chronicles are the only other Shadowhunter books that have other authors attached.

The first Magnus Bane book is expected to be published in November 2017. This means that Cassandra Clare will have three Shadowhunters series being published concurrently… The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and this Magnus Bane series.

If various sources are to be believed, all three will have an installment published in 2017. The second Dark Artifices book, Lord of Shadows, is expected in April. The Magnus Bane book, as mentioned above, is due in November. And the official site of the Shadowhunter Chronicles still says that the first Last Hours book, Chain of Thorns, is expected in 2017. Clare has a sixth series planned after getting some of these finished, The Wicked Powers, so there’ll be more Shadowhunters coming to a bookstore near you at least through the early 2020s.

Perhaps the decision to publish the Magnus Bane trilogy was based on the character’s success on the Shadowhunters TV show, where the fan favorite is portrayed by Harry Shum Jr. Shadowhunters was renewed for a second season by ABC Family, and it looks like they may have many seasons ahead of them.

Clare said, “Over the years writing the Shadowhunter books, Magnus Bane has emerged as one of the most fun and fascinating characters for me to bring to life… There are so many things we don’t know about Magnus, from the story of his first love to the secrets of his parentage, to the beginning of his relationship with Alec. All those are things I was able to touch on in The Bane Chronicles, but I’m excited to dig in even more deeply in these three volumes devoted to Magnus, his past, his future, and his present.”

Are you excited for three books all about Magnus Bane, or is this Shadowhunter overkill?

The Boxcar Children are heading to the big screen for a new movie series.

Many of us grew up with the wonderful Boxcar Children book series when we were kids. The stories by Gertrude Chandler Warner follow Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who live in a train boxcar as they search for a home. As kids we all wanted to live in that boxcar (or at least I did — I thought it was so cool to live in a train car with friends!).

According to a press release from Shout! Factory Studios and Legacy Classics, work on a new Boxcar Children animated movie series is well underway, with the first movie aiming for a release in 2017 (which marks the 75th anniversary of Boxcar Children #1). Two more Boxcar Children stories are also in development.

If the animation quality is at the Sunday-morning-cartoon level I probably won’t be very excited about it, but if it’s a more mature animation style (like a Pixar or a Coraline) I can imagine myself loving it.


The Boxcar Children movie series is poised to do well thanks to the overall success of the books they’re based on. The novels have collectively sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with over 160 books (?!) in its arsenal. The two most recent books are titled The Legend of the Irish Castle and The Celebrity Cat Caper, which were both published this year. Looking through the history of the series, roughly four Boxcar Children books have been published annually. The original author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, only wrote the first 19.

A low-budget animated Boxcar Children film debuted two years ago, but today’s announcement marks a reboot with a new studio at the helm.

Arrested Development‘s fourth season aired three years ago today. To celebrate its legacy (and to try to forget how much we’re missing it right now), let’s rank the best recurring Arrested Development jokes!

It’s really no secret that Arrested Development has some of the best recurring jokes and gags of all time. Even people who don’t watch the show are familiar with things like “There’s always money in the banana stand” and “I’ve made a huge mistake.” The jokes in this show are just so understated and catchy that it would’ve been crazy had they not have caught on. Thanks to Arrested Development‘s recurring jokes, pop culture has never been quite the same.

To celebrate our undying love for Arrested Development, we decided to forgo the banner (sorry, everyone) and instead put together a list of all of the gags and jokes that we think are the best ones the show’s ever done. Not only that, but we’re leaving it up to you to rank them!

How to play: Love a certain joke and think that it should be at the top of the list? Upvote it. Really hate another joke and don’t understand how it got on the list in the first place? Hit that little downward-facing arrow. Don’t care either way for some of these gags? Then you can just leave them untouched. It’s all good! We just want to know what YOU think! With everyone participating we’ll be able to build a definitive list of the best Arrested Development jokes!

So, grab your denim cut-offs and hot ham water, and maybe even do a little chicken dance to get yourself pumped up (but not with the hot ham water in your hand, please). If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you’re sure to love ranking these jokes.

(Just be careful about which arrow you hit. You don’t want to hit the wrong one and find yourself saying “I’ve made a huge mistake.”)

Are there any ‘Arrested Development’ jokes missing from the list? Add them below!

Related: Arrested Development season 4 drinking game