Tony Nominee Rob McClure Returned to His High School Roots Following Chaplin's Final Bow

By Michael Gioia
15 May 2013

Rob McClure as Chaplin
Photo by Joan Marcus
What's happening is that McClure, who took home a 2013 Theatre World Award and was also nominated for 2013 Outer Critics Circle and Astaire awards, is now carrying the banner for the entire Chaplin team. He was the only person — including both performers and creatives — from the musical to receive a 2013 Tony nod.

He carries the honor with pride, crediting all involved with Chaplin for his nomination. "Ever since the nominations came out, I've just been trying to track how many people are responsible for me being right here, right now, in this moment, in this time," McClure said. "The number of miracles that had to happen…to culminate in this celebration for me in this role…! For me to be here is the greatest honor."

But what really sent him "over the edge," he said, was when he received a text message from a student at New Milford High School, who was involved with the school's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The high schooler said the entire school "erupted in first period" when they heard his name announced on television. "It's that type of thing that makes me realize how long this journey has been," said McClure. "It didn't start at my audition for this show. It started when teachers at that school started nurturing my interest in [theatre]."

McClure, truly inspired from his high school experience, added, "What they're doing at their school is remarkable. Performing on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre in Chaplin on Broadway was the exact same experience as performing How to Succeed… my junior year of high school — in terms of what we're doing. We're playing make believe for the sake of storytelling, and trying to convince an audience that what's happening on stage is real and affect them. If high schools do it successfully, they're doing the same thing, and they're training the generations of artists who are going to keep this medium alive."

The magic of New Milford High, along with the Little Tramp, lives on in Rob McClure.

( staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)