Originally set for a 16-week run, the play has recently been extended by three weeks because of strong sales. One of the actors enjoying that success is Brendan Griffin, who appeared in the original Playwrights Horizons production.
But Griffin didn’t always intend to be an actor. As he tells his hometown newspaper the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he was involved in sports in his youth. Griffin explains that he switched to theater as a senior when he stopped enjoying playing football, saying, “I realized I wasn’t having fun anymore. You know how competitive it is, how serious football is in Western Pennsylvania.”
After graduating Kenyon College with a degree in drama, he moved to New York City and soon found himself intimidated by other musical actors in the city. He recalls, “they were Mandy Patinkin-caliber singers. I’m a good singer but I didn’t have the money to cultivate that, to hire a voice coach, long range. I didn’t have any dance training so I couldn’t go to a dance call.”
Griffin was eventually cast in the original production of Clybourne Park, but at first it seemed unlikely that the show would be the success it ended up becoming. He explains that 2010 “was the year Broadway was really heavily dominated by Hollywood actors: Scarlett Johansson and Denzel Washington both won Tonys and there was Catherine Zeta-Jones [winning for A Little Night Music]. We didn’t have any ‘star’ names in our cast, and there wasn’t really any possibility for it to find the [production] funds to take it up the street.”