CCM alum Max Clayton steps in for Hugh Jackman on Broadway

Clayton plays Prof. Harold Hill in "The Music Man" at Winter Garden Theatre

Understudies are often credited with being the "unsung heroes" of theatre productions. They work tirelessly on and off stage to be prepared to step bravely into the spotlight on short notice when they're needed — and that's just what Max Clayton did when Hugh Jackman had to take a break from his leading role in The Music Man on Broadway.

A 2014 graduate of CCM's BFA Musical Theatre program, Clayton stepped into the role of Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man at Winter Garden Theatre on June 14, after Jackman was out sick with COVID. Clayton performs the role through June 21. Read more via Playbill.

“Once again, standbys and understudies save the day and, in this case, it’s Max Clayton to the rescue," said producer Kate Horton in an earlier statement to Playbill. "We’re excited to see him perform alongside the wonderful Sutton Foster and we wish Hugh a speedy recovery.”

You can also read an interview with Clayton about the experience via

"This is my eighth Broadway show, and I've understudied the lead in almost all of the shows I've been in," Clayton told "What's really wonderful about this bizarre time is that shows and audiences are finally recognizing the hard work that swings, understudies and standbys put in to quite literally keep Broadway open. I know it's our job, but it's certainly not easy getting thrown on without the muscle memory of doing your show time a week. I was overwhelmed, and I was proud knowing that I was supported by my company."

Clayton leads the Meredith Willson revival after a long career as a Broadway performer, appearing in On the TownGigiSomething Rotten!BandstandHello, Dolly!Pretty Woman: The Musical; and Moulin Rouge! The Musical. He was nominated for Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show at the 2017 Chita Rivera Awards for his work in Bandstand, and he's appeared regionally at Paper Mill Playhouse, Signature Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, The Muny, and North Shore Music Theatre. The Music Man stars Tony winners Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo, Shuler Hensley as Marcellus Washburn, Jefferson Mays as Mayor Shinn, Jayne Houdyshell as Mrs. Shinn, and Marie Mullen as Mrs. Paroo.

Clayton was also recently featured with other CCM Musical Theatre alums in a Cincinnati Magazine story that caught up with graduates during the pandemic; read the full story.

About CCM Musical Theatre

CCM set the standard for musical theatre training ... literally. CCM Musical Theatre was the first program of its kind in the US, and it continues to be a leader in the industry. A four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, it was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in formulating the guidelines for the accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide.

The program provides professional conservatory training designed to help singers, dancers and actors become accomplished musical theatre performers. Students participate in a number of productions while in residence and create a freshman and a senior showcase, the latter functioning as their New York debut for agents and casting directors. In addition, students undertake courses in English, history, psychology, dramatic literature, social and ethical issues and the humanities.

CCM Musical Theatre graduates are following careers as performers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry. CCM Musical Theatre graduates are working on Broadway and throughout the nation in such productions as AnastasiaHamiltonWaitressThe Book of Mormon, Pippin, WickedJersey BoysLes Miserables, Kinky Boots, Big Fish, Newsies and The Lion King. Students represent CCM in national and international touring productions, in dinner theatres and theme parks, on cruise ships, on television, in talent agencies, as producers and in many of the related entertainment fields.

Learn more about CCM Musical Theatre.

Featured image at the top: Max Clayton performing in The Music Man on Broadway. Photo/Avery Brunkus.

Additional Contacts

Curt Whitacre | Director of Marketing/Communications | UC College-Conservatory of Music

| 513-556-2683

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