“When you’re studying theatre on an academic level, American Buffalo simply cannot be avoided. As one of the seminal American plays, specifically if you’re a young dude looking to have a life in the theatre and to work as an actor, it’s a standard.”
The aspiring young dude in this particular instance is Emmy-winning actor Darren Criss, who returns to Broadway this season in the revival of that 1975 David Mamet classic, playing Bobby alongside Laurence Fishburne’s Donny Dubrow and Sam Rockwell’s Teach in the story of three small-time hustlers.
Criss first gained national attention when, in 2010, he joined the cast of the hit musical television series Glee, which followed with a Broadway debut in 2012 for a stint headlining How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. “I never had any idea that I’d have any connection to a life in musical theatre. That would have been absurd to me if you told me that when I was a kid,” he says. “To go back to this is, after all this time, it’s the first time I feel like I’m doing what I did in school.”
“Theatre is one of the only mediums that you can see, and go ‘hopefully one day I can do that.’ And not in the abstract. You know, you see a film and maybe go ‘oh, I’d love to do something like that. I didn’t watch The Godfather as a kid and say ‘I can’t wait for my hand at playing Michael.’ It’s done. But in theatre, with the great classics you can kind of keep it in your back pocket and think ‘one day I’d really love to do my version of this.’ This is a play that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.”
Add to that costarring along side two actors “whose careers I’ve greatly admired for so long,” “the fact that it’s on Broadway,” and “the fact that it was two years delayed,” and “It’s just a whole ice cream sundae of gratitude and excitement,” says Criss. “I can hardly contain myself.”
American Buffalo runs through July 10 at Circle in the Square Theatre.