Photo of Max Clayton, Sutton Foster, and company at bows by Avery Brunkus
Standby Max Clayton made his debut as Professor Harold Hill last night in The Music Man, stepping in for marquee star Hugh Jackman following the three-time Tony winner’s second diagnosis with Covid-19.
Clayton’s co-star Sutton Foster celebrated his accomplishment at curtain call, calling it a “Broadway miracle.” Foster delivered a heartfelt tribute to her new co-star, praising his performance as well as the contributions of all standbys, understudies, and swings.
“We are so grateful to you – I’ll go to the footbridge with you anytime,” Foster joked to roars of approval from the packed house.
“Thank you to all of our amazing understudies and swings,” she continued. “The incredible generosity and versatility of this company humbles me on a daily basis.” Foster went on to thank the audience for being there, declaring them “the most important cast member we have.”
On Sunday, Jackman performed at the 75th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall as a nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.
In a statement Monday, producer Kate Horton said, “Once again, standbys and understudies save the day and, in this case, it’s Max Clayton to the rescue. We’re excited to see him perform alongside the wonderful Sutton Foster and we wish Hugh a speedy recovery.”
Hugh Jackman will be out of The Music Man for all performances this week, and next Tuesday’s performance following a positive test for COVID-19. Jackman is expected to return to the show next week on Wednesday, June 22.
The Music Man is directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle. The production also stars Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley as Marcellus Washburn, Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays as Mayor Shinn, Tony Award winner Jayne Houdyshell as Mrs. Shinn, and Tony Award winner Marie Mullen as Mrs. Paroo, Remy Auberjonois as Charlie Cowell, Gino Cosculluela as Tommy Djilas, and Emma Crow as Zaneeta Shinn.