Reza Salazar, from surviving clown to Broadway actor

This image released by Polk & Co. shows Reza Salazar, from left, Kara Young, Ron Cephas Jones, and Edmund Donovan during a performance of Lynn Nottage's play, "Clyde's," in New York. (Joan Marcus/Polk & Co. via AP)

As part of the cast of “Clyde’s,” Reza Salazar does eight performances a week at the Hayes Theater on Broadway alongside award-winning Uzo Aduba and others. It’s an achievement that he does not take for granted: The Peruvian actor began his career out of necessity at a very young age, when he and his mother would dress up as clowns to earn a living.

“I believe that what I did with my mother is still my foundation, the essence of what I continue to do now,” says Salazar. “I always have the clown inside, and it has opened the doors to Broadway, really.”

“Clyde’s,” written by two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage and directed by Kate Whoriskey, takes place in a sandwich shop whose owner (Aduba) hires ex-convicts to give them a chance to re-enter society. While the insensitive Clyde tries to keep them under her control, forcing them to stick to her old ways and recipes, they dream of creating the perfect sandwich.