Darren Criss on Starring in Broadway’s ‘American Buffalo’


“I do a play every two or three years and find any excuse I can get to be back on stage—it’s an opportunity I relish.” – Darren Criss

Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Darren Criss is returning to Broadway in the latest revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo. He’ll be starring alongside Tony Award-winner Laurence Fishburne and Academy Award-winner Sam Rockwell. Speaking with Vanity Fair, Criss reveals that it was actually an eight-year journey for him to appear in American Buffalo — and why he is looking forward to returning to Broadway.

Criss being cast in this revival of American Buffalo is an example of a long-term career payoff — an opportunity that came out of reconnecting with a producer he worked with years previously. He explains:

“I did a reading of American Buffalo around eight years ago. It was put together by Jeffrey Richards, who is now the producer of this play. Being in that room was wildly exciting to me. I remained in and out of touch with Jeffrey, and I remember reading an article online that Sam Rockwell and Laurence Fishburne were going to star in a limited run of American Buffalo, produced by none other than the same Jeffrey Richards. Within three minutes, I emailed Jeffrey and asked, ‘Hey, do you guys have a Bobby yet? Did my window of opportunity close eight years ago?’ I thought that ship had sailed, but they were very receptive of my enthusiasm and we made it work. It was hot and heavy very quickly.”

Though Criss admits that he has never seen a full production of American Buffalo, he can see how it is an advantage to an actor that he hasn’t seen other performers in the play. He says, “There’s this learning curve of how the play exists in time and with audiences now—you have to work the piece itself as you work on your character. Getting to put my own DNA and fingerprint on these notes is a really cool assignment.”

American Buffalo is Criss’ first appearance on Broadway in nearly five years after appearing as a replacement in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which was followed by Criss starring in the role in some cities on the national tour in fall 2016. Criss saw American Buffalo as a great opportunity to return the stage. He says, “I do a play every two or three years and find any excuse I can get to be back on stage—it’s an opportunity I relish. I’m all about taking hard left turns and hard right turns, and versatility, dexterity and unpredictability is kind of the name of the game for me. When I found out that they were doing the play, I couldn’t believe it. It was just too perfect.”

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