Jaysin McCollum talks about growing up in the Queen City of Cincinnati, his journey to landing a role in The Lion King on Broadway and singing backup with Elton John.
In the 7th grade, Jaysin McCollum was plucked from traditional public schooling to attend Cincinnati's renowned School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) with an impressive list of alumni that includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Carmen Electra, 98 Degrees and Rocky Carroll.
McCollum started out in art, but quickly switched to dance and musical theatre. It wasn't long before he landed a role in The Nutcracker with the Cincinnati Ballet.
As a football player at the time, the part forced a decision to exchange his cleats for ballet slippers. From there, McCollum kept on dancing.
Upon graduation from SCPA McCollum danced with The North Carolina Dance Theatre, the Cincinnati Ballet, Chautauqua Ballet, and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, with a quick gig on a cruise ship for good measure before landing a role in the Las Vegas company of The Lion King. Two years later, he was called to join the Broadway cast.
McCollum, a practicing vegetarian, has also appeared in Broadway Bares, a vaudeville-like burlesque show featuring broadway actors and dancers with proceeds benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. His toned, athletic body also makes a “July” appearance in a new calendar by New York City portrait photographer Warren Giddaire, also known as Warrenpiece.
From Ohio caught up with McCollum as he was about to start rehearsals for The Lion King's reopening on Broadway.