MEET BECKETT ELIJAH DONOVAN (Darren Criss) BECKETT IS 30 AND HAILS FROM CHICAGO,IL. UNFORTUNATELY FOR YOU, THIS ROLE IS TAKEN BY AUDRA.
AGE & BIRTHDAY: 30, FEBRUARY 5
THREE POSITIVE TRAITS: friendly, reliable, talented
THREE NEGATIVE TRAITS: oblivious, insecure, clingy
OCCUPATION: Owner - Coda piano bar
[ TW: homophobia, bullying, depression]
The middle of three children, Beckett was a cheerful, happy child, if a little bit hyper. His father is a successful lawyer specializing in family law, and his mother a personal stylist in high demand, so he grew up firmly upper middle class. From the outside, he wanted for nothing — except his parents’ attention, which was limited with three children and busy careers. Beckett’s older brother was the golden child and standard against which he was always compared. No matter how good his grades, how well-behaved he was, how talented he could be, Beckett always seemed to fall short. In contrast, his younger sister was a free spirit who didn’t care about anyone else’s opinion of her, and as the baby of the family she seemed to get anything she wanted.
In an effort to compete with his much more impressive siblings, Beckett threw himself into music at a young age. He started piano lessons when he was five, then quickly picked up other instruments as he got older. By age thirteen he was scribbling song lyrics in a notebook in his spare time – terrible song lyrics, full of starry-eyed romanticism and naïveté, but those early songs gave him a much needed outlet for self-expression, especially during his difficult teenage years, when he started to feel even more untethered and disconnected.
Beckett came out to his parents at fourteen, and their reaction was mixed. While not outright homophobic, his father was concerned with how difficult Beckett’s sexuality would make his life, and had no idea how to relate to his younger son. Emotionally distant at the best of times, his relationship with Beckett became even more strained as he got older. Beckett’s mother was convinced that he would never have a family of his own, something she considered a tragedy. Both of them gradually let go of their fears for their son, but their initial reaction left Beckett shaken, especially in light of his own feelings of inadequacy next to his siblings.
Unfortunately, school became a nightmare as soon as he came out. He was small for his age, with a riot of unruly curls and a marked preference for music and theater over sports, so he became an easy target for bullying. Keeping his head down never worked, especially since the only time he seemed to shine was performing — he felt like a disappointment to everyone, except when he was onstage. It fed his need for approval and applause, and he built his teenage sense of self around it.
By the time he graduated from high school, Beckett had been accepted to several prestigious performing arts schools — including a full scholarship to NYU and Tisch School of the Arts. He threw himself into his classes, finally blossoming in a more accepting environment. He even started dating, in New York — the freedom went to his head a little at first, but after a year or so of unsatisfying hookups and one-night stands, he managed to maintain actual relationships. He tended to get attached quickly and cling too hard, however, which meant his fair share of heartbreak; a messy breakup in his sophomore year nearly cost him his scholarship. Beckett’s grades tanked, and only the intervention of his closest friends kept him from flunking out of college entirely. For the first time, Beckett seriously considered therapy; he had a history of depression already, but it wasn’t until he sought help that he finally started to get a handle on it. He’s self aware enough to realize he has a whole host of issues — the need for attention and validation, his feelings of inadequacy, all churning together to fuel his over investment in relationships — but he also knows it’s not something he can fix overnight, and he has his bad days just like anyone else.
Despite the hiccups, Beckett not only earned his degree, but also added a minor in business — at his father’s insistence, which Beckett agreed to reluctantly. He spent most of college working as a barista and giving piano lessons on the side, but he gradually began playing local open mic nights and small gigs where he could find them, mostly playing covers, with a few of his own songs tossed in here and there. He stuck it out for three more years before the old doubts and insecurities (and the insane cost of living) drove him to leave New York, discouraged and dejected. Going home in apparent disgrace wasn’t an option, so Beckett took a year off to travel a bit — and ended up falling in love with the easy charm of Amsterdam.
He went back to being a barista while he regrouped, but after a couple of years of careful planning and saving, he managed to secure enough capital to open his own place — Coda, a piano bar right in the middle of Hartenstraat. It’s been open for a little over a year and a half now, and Beckett finally feels like he has an actual, tangible accomplishment in owning his own business. He takes a turn behind the keys regularly, refusing to run things from a back office, and feels more settled than he has in years.