Max McLean

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Max McLean
McLean in 2019
Born (1953-04-14) April 14, 1953 (age 71)
Alma materUniversity of Texas
Occupation(s)Stage actor, writer, and producer
Years active1992-present
SpouseSharon McLean

Max McLean (born April 14, 1953) is a Panamanian-born American[1] stage actor, writer, and producer.[2] He is the founder and artistic director of the Fellowship for Performing Arts,[3] a New York City-based company that produces live theater and film from a Christian worldview.[4]

McLean is known for his stage adaptations of books by author and theologian C. S. Lewis. Some of McLean's adaptations include The Screwtape Letters (written with Jeffrey Fiske),[5][6] The Great Divorce (written with Brian Watkins),[7][8] and C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert (based on Surprised by Joy).[9] C.S. Lewis Onstage was adapted into a film, The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis, which starred McLean as an older Lewis, was released in 2021.[10]

Outside of his work regarding Lewis, McLean wrote the play Martin Luther on Trial with Chris Cragin-Day,[2][11][12] and narrated KJV, NIV, and ESV versions of "The Listener's Bible", an audio Bible.[13]

Early life and education[edit]

McLean was born in Panama City, Panama, on April 14, 1953. McLean immigrated to the United States through New York City at age four.[13]

McLean graduated from the University of Texas in 1975, where participation in theater helped him overcome a fear of public speaking. After graduating, he pursued theatrical studies in London.[14][13]


In 1992, McLean founded the non-profit theatre company, the Fellowship for Performing Arts (abbreviated as FPA).[13]

Early on, McLean and the FPA toured and performed at colleges and universities. These included one-man shows with dramatic presentations of books of the Bible. He has adapted Genesis, the Acts and the Gospel of Mark (called Mark's Gospel).[13][3]

C. S. Lewis stage adaptations[edit]

After seeing McLean perform Genesis, playwright Jeff Fiske emailed McLean, telling him that he would portray Screwtape well.[1] With Fiske, McLean adapted the 1942 novel The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis as a stageplay, which stars McLean as Screwtape.[6] It has been performed since 2006,[15] and has received positive responses from critics.[16][17][6][18]

McLean and co-writer Brian Watkins developed a stageplay for the 1945 Lewis novel, The Great Divorce, and in September 2013, McLean brought it to the Cape Playhouse in New York City for the development production.[7] On December 13, 2013, it premiered at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and toured nationally in 2014.[19] In December 2019, a revised revival of The Great Divorce opened at Theatre Three on Theatre Row in New York City.[20] After this, it began a national tour.[8]

McLean adapted the 1955 Lewis book Surprised by Joy [9] into the one-man play, C.S. Lewis on Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert. McLean also stars as Lewis.[21] The play was adapted into the film, The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis, which McLean reprises his role in as an older Lewis. It was released in 2021.[10]

Other projects[edit]

McLean co-wrote the play, Martin Luther on Trial, with playwright and drama professor Chris Cragin-Day, which premiered at the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 2016.[2]


In 2009, McLean received the Jeff Award for Best Solo Performance for his one-man show Mark's Gospel.[22]

McLean's narrations for The Listener's Bible have received several Audie Award nominations in total. One in 1999 for the "Inspirational" category,[23] one in 2000 for "Package Design",[24] and one in 2002 for "Inspirational/Spiritual".[25]

Personal life[edit]

In 1976, McLean became a Protestant Christian, after having grown up a nominal Catholic.[13]

He is married to Sharon McLean, and they have two grown daughters. They live in New York City, and are members of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church.[13]


  1. ^ a b McLean, Max (July 20, 2010). "The Devil and Max McLean, Star of the Off-Broadway Hit The Screwtape Letters". Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Blaney, Retta (April 30, 2016). "Whole story of Luther's life on trial onstage". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Max McLean as C.S. Lewis". Christian History Institute. November 22, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  4. ^ Perry, David Edward (February 2, 2020). "BWW Interview: Director Max McLean Bares His Soul on Spiritual Warfare in C.S. Lewis' THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS at BJCC CONCERT HALL". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  5. ^ Billington, Michael (December 11, 2016). "Theatre: The Screwtape Letters review – a hell of a disappointment". The Guardian. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Horwitz, Jane (December 23, 2012). "Style: A riveting, charming adaptation of 'The Screwtape Letters'". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Dominick, Nora (November 25, 2015). "BWW Interview: Max McLean Chats About THE GREAT DIVORCE and The Fellowship for Performing Arts Inaugural Season". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Gans, Andrew (November 12, 2019). "Cast Set for Off-Broadway Run of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce". Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  9. ^ a b Klett, Leah MarieAnn (November 8, 2021). "Hit CS Lewis biopic 'The Most Reluctant Convert' highlights author's dramatic conversion". The Christian Post. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Grater, Tom (September 8, 2021). "C.S. Lewis Biopic 'The Most Reluctant Convert' Sets Cinema Release; Watch First Trailer". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  11. ^ Shaw, Helen (December 21, 2016). "'Martin Luther on Trial' Goes Too Easy On Its Subject". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  12. ^ Belz, Emily (January 27, 2017). "Luther and his legacy". World Magazine. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Challies, Tim (January 21, 2008). "An Interview with Max McLean". Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  14. ^ Guajardo, Gaby (February 19, 2013). "From Sociophobia to the National Stage". Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  15. ^ Loki, Reynard (August 3, 2009). "National Tour Dates Announced For THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  16. ^ Hampton, Wilborn (June 12, 2010). "Lewis's Tempters, Meticulously Paving the Road to Hell". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  17. ^ Palm, Matthew J. (December 30, 2011). "Entertainment: Theater review: 'The Screwtape Letters'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  18. ^ Askar, Jamshid Ghazi (March 28, 2013). "Theater review: C.S. Lewis' 'Screwtape Letters' is devilish fun". Deseret News. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  19. ^ BWW News Desk (August 15, 2014). "National Tour of C.S. Lewis' THE GREAT DIVORCE Comes to Cullen Theater This Weekend". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  20. ^ Rabinowitz, Chloe (November 12, 2019). "Casting has Been Announced for C.S. Lewis' THE GREAT DIVORCE at Theatre Three at Theatre Row". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  21. ^ Wren, Celia (April 29, 2016). "The tangled questions on C.S. Lewis's journey to becoming a Christian". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  22. ^ "Past winner archives". Jeff Awards. Archived from the original on May 28, 2022. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  23. ^ "1999 Audie Awards®: Inspirational". Audie Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  24. ^ "2000 Audie Awards®: Package Design". Audie Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  25. ^ "2002 Audie Awards®: Inspirational/Spiritual". Audie Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2022.