John Maclay on his brilliant mom & Stephen Schwartz's inspirational music

6:26 PM
By Mithra Ballesteros, First Stage Children's Theater

In the video clip below, actor John Maclay talks about the full circle he's traveled from the days of his youth when he was comfortable in his belief that he could not carry a note to today as he performs the role of Geppetto in First Stage's holiday production MY SON PINOCCHIO.

Growing up in Champaign, Illinois and playing a lot of football, Maclay didn't think he had any ability for musical theater until his mother suggested he join the choir. He soon landed a plum part in a school musical and remembers his initial horror at singing in public: "My mother got me voice lessons with Thomas Schleis and this very nice supportive man taught me to sing this song that I loved. That song was Corner of the Sky by Stephen Schwartz."

Maclay marvels at how much that Schwartz composition meant to him as a teen and how priviledged he feels to sing Mr. Schwartz's music in MY SON PINOCCHIO. "The music is stunning. It's fun and funny and gorgeous and playful. I'm incredibly lucky to be doing what I'm doing. It's overwhelming," said Maclay, shaking his head.

Back to his prescient mom, though. "She drove up to see the opening," said Maclay. "She's always been my best fan. I'm a fortunate man."

Watch the full interview here:

MY SON PINOCCHIO runs at the Todd Wehr Theater through December 26, 2010. Tickets begin at $11.50. Click here to order.

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