google769d8eed1bfa06a9.html PRIDE SERIES: Chris Rice and Clay Thomson Interview

PRIDE SERIES: CHRIS RICE and CLAY THOMSON On How They Met, Inspiring A New Generation of Performers and What Pride Means to Them

June 29, 2019

 Chris Rice and Clay Thomson

 

In this new feature called Pride Series, RyeTheNewsGuy.com talks with some powerful LGBT couples in the Broadway community. From how they met, to how they are using their powerful dynamics to make a difference in the world, each couple share their stories of how they got to where they are today. These Pride Series interviews are in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Stonewall Riots, and to celebrate WorldPride in New York City. This series will run throughout the month of June and each week features a new couple and their stories.​

 

 

Chris Rice and Clay Thomson are the next (and final) couple in the #PrideSeries interview with RyeTheNewsGuy.com. Both have extensive resumes that include Broadway, National Tours and viral video campaigns--making Chris and Clay one of the hardest working couples on Broadway. They are reinventing the way actors put themselves out there with their "TAPPY" video series (where Chris choreographs insane dance numbers to some of the most popular songs with a troupe of dancers) and The Chris and Clay Vlog, where they document their life in the city. Check out the exclusive interview, and the FINAL interview in our Pride Series below! 

 

Keep up with Chris & Clay  on social media and their websites: 

@ChrisRiceNY (Instagram/Twitter), ChristopherRiceOnline.com

@ClayThomson (Instagram/Twitter), ClayThomson.com 

 

Can you tell us a little bit more about how the two of you met?

 

Chris: We met in callbacks for the Broadway National Tour of West Side Story. We read together at the end of the callback day and we were both cast in the roles we read for! We clicked in rehearsals and decided to be roommates on the road. Sparks flew and here we are… engaged, and getting married on our 8th anniversary this fall!

 

 

Within the last year you’ve gotten engaged and will be walking down the aisle soon. What was the proposal like-- I understand it included a flash mob and Central Park?

 

CHRIS: It was the most special moment of my life, thus far. My goal was to make Clay feel special, supported, and loved in as big of a way as I could. I put together a giant flash mob of all of our friends and some of Clay’s family and we surprised him in Central Park! Watching his reactions made my heart burst with joy.

 

CLAY: Chris proposed in Central Park with 30 of our friends and my parents even traveled in and learned the dance as well! Chris told me we were doing a photoshoot in Central Park, and I totally thought that that’s what was happening. I will admit that when we were walking  through the park, I had a feeling he was going to propose on one of the beautiful tree lined streets. But when it didn’t happen at our first couple spots we stopped and took pictures at, I thought I was being silly. Then we turned the corner and BAM! A flashmob proposal. It was perfect. 

 

See the Broadway Boyfriend Flash Mob Proposal here:

 

 

I know you both have been busy wedding planning, where are you getting married and what's been the hardest part of that?

 

Chris: We’re getting married this fall in Palm Springs, CA We couldn’t be more excited. The hardest thing is how long it can take to make one decision. You have to research all of the options, talk about it, see what’s available, the budget, etc- all just to make a “simple” decision. And to add to that, we’re planning all of this from across the country. But we’re trying to space it out as best as we can so we don’t feel overwhelmed. 

 

  Chris Rice and Clay Thomson
 

You recently started The Chris and Clay Vlog— can you tell me a little bit more about this and the idea behind it? What do you hope to accomplish with this new vlog? ​

 

Chris: Our goal is to expand the ways in which we can connect with others. With Instagram we can share snapshots of our lives, but with YouTube we are allowed to take more time to share fun things or have important conversations. It gives us more freedom with how we can share and connect.

 

What’s your advice for couples who may be in the same industry or a different one and have crazy schedules and are trying to maintain a relationship? How have you managed to keep your relationship strong when one is touring or in another part of the country for work?​

 

Chris: Communication is key. Long distance is extremely hard and requires a lot of trust. That can take time to build, but in the end, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable for the time being while trusting that it will all be worth it when you reunite. They say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and I couldn’t agree more. It made me fall even more in love with him!

 

Clay: And if your schedule IS something that becomes a problem for your relationship, find time to set aside to spend together. We love having movie nights on our couch or going to see Broadway shows together when we get the chance. We also LOVE traveling and would travel year-round if we could!

 

 Chris Rice and Clay Thomson

 

You both have a heavy presence on social media- how have you used your presence to connect with the LGBTQ+ community and also help them as well?

 

Chris:I think the biggest thing one can do is to live authentically and be honest. By us doing so, people have taken notice of different areas of our lives. People have shared that watching our relationship on social media has changed their opinions and shifted their views to a more inclusive and supportive place. We have even gotten messages from LGBTQ+ youth and some parents of LGBT youth, thanking us for showing our love. That wasn’t our initial intention by sharing moments from our life together online, but we are thrilled with the result and it encourages us to continue to live authentically and help make a change in the world

 

 

What is one trait that each of you have that you love about the other?

 

Clay: I live Chris’s sense of humor. As much as I roll my eyes at his dad jokes, I love them. He makes me laugh and smile every single day and I will never ever take that for granted. At the end of every day, we both say our favorite part of that day- and more often than not it has to do with one another. I feel very lucky to have someone in my life who makes me so happy. 

 

Chris: There are too many to name. I love the way he lights up a room with his smile.

 

 

What is your advice for other gay men on finding love and finding the right one?

 

Chris: Marry for money. …Totally kidding. ha! Trust that when the time is right, it will happen. That can be said for many areas of your life, but it is especially true for relationships. 

 

Clay: My advice for a gay man looking for love would be to put yourself out there and be yourself. Find someone who loves you for the person you are and also be willing to grow with them. 

 

 Chris Rice and Clay Thomson

 

You both have done a lot of work with Broadway Cares through the shows you’ve done, what are some other causes that are near to your heart?

 

Chris: We’re both big advocates of The Trevor Project. They help with suicide prevention for the LGBTQ+ community. Please check them out and consider supporting them! 

 

 

I know you both teach classes for performers- how are you inspiring the next wave of actors/performers through your work?

 

Clay: When I teach, I try to implement notes I’ve gotten in the professional world- whether it be notes I received in auditions or rehearsal processes. The more you’re willing to absorb information the better off you will be. But one of the most important things to remember is just to be a genuinely good person. At the end of the day, everyone in the room is talented- so be the person that the team would want to spend a long rehearsal process with. 

 

Chris: I aim to build up instead of tear down. Many teachers choose a harsh approach and intimidate their students. My goal is to highlight what IS working and find ways of making the adjustments needed to improve in a positive way.

I also try to paint a realistic picture of life as a working (and sometimes non-working) actor in NYC. Its a really tough life, but as I tell my students, “If you want it more than anything, go for it, fight for it, and anything is possible.”

 

 

What is coming up next for you both?

 

Clay: I am currently a vacation swing with King Kong on Broadway and have dates for the next little while. Come to the Broadway Theater and see King Kong Alive on Broadway!

 

Chris: I am ecstatic to be joining the Broadway production of Pretty Woman! So thankful to be returning to Broadway! I also have some new videos in my DISNEY series debuting on my youtube channel soon. Feel free to subscribe and check those out! Youtube.com/ChrisRiceNY​

 

 

Finally, What does pride mean to you?

 

Chris: Pride, to both of us, means embracing your true authentic self and loving yourself completely. 

 

Thank you for having us! Happy Pride! Have fun, be safe, and spread love! 


 

 Chris Rice and Clay Thomson

 

 

 

 

 

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