Distinguished Alumni – Emerging Leader Award
Erin Clemons, Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre, 2011
Since graduating from Central, Erin Clemons has worked hard to make a name for herself. An accomplished actor and singer, Clemons harnessed what she learned in UCO’s School of Music and has continued to shine. Former professor at Central and close friend, Greg White, Ph.D., says Clemons is “lit from within.”
“When Erin Clemons arrived at UCO, she seized the moment… she took advantage of everything UCO has to offer,” White said.
Clemons’ most notable role to date is portraying Eliza Hamilton on the national tour of “Hamilton,” as well as Éponine in “Les Misérables.” Additional roles have included being cast in the national tour of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” as Janelle Woods and the international tour of “Prince of Broadway.” Clemons also had a role in the Netflix hit “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
In spring 2021, Clemons made her directorial debut at UCO with “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” which cast Central students in roles portraying legends such as Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and Thomas “Fats” Waller.
Much like the triumphant return of Broadway following the COVID-19 shutdown, Clemons’ star is certain to continue to rise and shine bright. To keep the momentum in her career, she lives in New York City, sharpening her skills through the Jen Waldman Studio.
“It’s just the beginning,” White said. “This is just the start for the changes that she’s going to help make in the arts and just in the world. Erin Clemons is going to take over the world – here she goes.”
A Look Back: Erin’s Days at Central
What were your favorite UCO events?
The shows we got to perform in; I was always with the music theatre kids!
Where was your favorite place to be on campus?
My favorite place on campus was the Music Building. That was where I felt the most comfortable and the most engaged. Getting into a practice room and working for uninterrupted hours on my material were some of my favorite memories. Musical theatre was my world and back then and that’s where most of our major courses were.
If you could go back in time to give yourself advice, what would it be?
Take advantage of every lesson, every class, every moment to learn because once you’re out of the incubator of school, it’s all on you. Keep the fire you have now; don’t lose that passion. Don’t be afraid to embrace all aspects of what makes you who you are.
Did you have a standout professor who impacted you?
Greg White, head of musical theatre, pushed me the most as a performer. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and I will never forget that. Also, my voice teacher, Dr. Barbara Streets. She is a class act, a confidant who was kind, understanding, and empowered and inspired me to be a good student and human being.
What was your favorite film or TV show?
I am embarrassed to say I have been a “Real Housewives” fan for many years and it started in college, but I have always loved old TV shows like “I Love Lucy.” My favorite film was “The Notebook.”
What was your favorite song/band?
Always oldies, Motown, 90s R&B, pre-2000s country and back then I used to really be into Ne-Yo, Maroon 5, Amos Lee, Ingrid Michaelson, and Tori Amos – anything we danced to in modern/contemporary dance.