I think it’s impossible to even look at a picture of Clay and not immediately smile! And believe me, it’s the same when you actually spend time with him. Clay is such a radiant person who’s determination and passion for performing has triumphed his struggles along the way. He is such an inspiration of what Broadway is all about which is a lot of persistence and a whole lot of heart making Clay Fit for Broadway!!
5 Fun Facts from Clay:
- I’m making pasta right now.
- My birthday is on Halloween.
- I want a bulldog SO bad, but Chris Rice is highly allergic to most animals.
- I want Chris Rice more than I want a dog. 🙂
- I should probably go make sure I’m not burning down my kitchen.. Boiling water is hard.
Read Clay’s Bio HERE. Interview:
Q: Yay Clay! So happy to hear about your journey after interviewing you and Chris about Empowering Your Relationship. How did you first get into performance/musical theater?
A: When I was 5 or 6, I saw a friend in a community theater production of Peter Pan. When I saw her fly on stage AND crocodiles come down the aisle (actors with scooters on their stomach… but hey back then it was pretty realistic) I knew I needed to be a part of the magic. SO when the theater was putting together there next production, I forced my parents to let me be a part of it.
Q: How did your background in gymnastics prepare you for performance? Did gymnastics influence your mindset towards fitness?
A: My parents put me in gymnastics when I was about two years old. I’m sure it was to make me use my energy somewhere other than at home! I’m so thankful they did because it made me the coolest kid on the T-ball team when I did cartwheels in the outfield (which I still do today when we play Broadway Softball in Central Park)! But really- being in gymnastics that young gave me an awareness of how to use my body and the space around me. In auditions, we are often asked if we can do any tricks/ special skills and gymnastics/tumbling skills are one of mine. I have used my gymnastic skills in several of the jobs I’ve done here in New York City.
Q: Was fitness a key part of your daily regime when you started performing full time?
A: When I was in high school, a dance instructor of mine suggested I start going to the gym because as a male dancer I would need to lift girls in most professional shows. So I started going to the gym occasionally, but it wasn’t until I booked the national tour of West Side Story and met Chris that I really started pushing myself. I have Chris to thank for whipping me into shape! I’ve partnered girls in four of the five professional shows I’ve done since college, so I’m so thankful my teacher gave me that advice.
Q: What challenges did you face along your journey to Broadway?
A: I was not cast as any roles in our school musicals throughout my four years in high school. I was told that I didn’t audition well or I was talented enough as well as a variety of other reasons. In college I had a professor that told me if things didn’t change I would never work, and if I did I would get hired once and word would get out and no one would hire me again. I used these criticisms to make me a better dancer and a better person.Q: What is your advice for aspiring Broadway performers?
A: My advice is to NEVER give up. If I would have let those authority figures defeat me I would not be where I am today. ALSO be a good person! At the end of the day, everyone is just as talented as you- so the creative team is going to hire someone they want to spend all day in a rehearsal studio with. Why waste time being a less than pleasant person??
Q: What’s an example of your favorite workout or post-workout meal?
A: Peanut Butter!! I love peanut butter! Actually, every single day of grade school my mom made me peanut butter and jelly on Ritz crackers. I made her make them on Ritz crackers instead of regular sandwich bread because the bread got soggy from the jelly, but the Ritz crackers did not! This is still a favorite snack of mine. It reminds me of how awesome my mom is AND it’s delicious!
Q: Quote to live by…
A: BElieve in YOUrself. There’s not a single person in the entire world that can be a better YOU than you can be. If you work hard enough you can accomplish anything you want. ALSO remember that everything happens for a reason. Trust your journey- remembering that everyone’s path is unique. Don’t limit yourself by comparing someone else’s destination to your journey. Q: This week’s theme word is RELEASE. How do you release stress, anxiety, fear or any other negative emotions that get in the way of being your best self?
A: Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Find a healthy activity that you love to do and have your friends join!
Something I like to do before auditions is take a minute to breathe. Auditioning can be stressful, but if you take a second to remind yourself that you’re getting to do what you love to do.