April 18, 2010

Profile on Jersey Girl & Buffalo Native Denise Payne

April 18th, 2010

Jersey Boys LogoBuffalo News arts writer Colin Dabkowski has a feature on Buffalo native, turned Jersey Girl–Denise Payne.

Sure, the show is called “Jersey Boys.” But the beloved musical about the rise and fall of the Four Seasons would never make it past the overture every night without the prodigious efforts of the show’s three female cast members. This unsung trio takes on 54 separate characters in the course of the show, adding layers of nuance and drama to the Four Seasons saga amid a flurry of quick costume, wig and makeup changes.

Buffalo native Denise Payne, a two-year veteran of the current tour, has perhaps the most difficult job of all, playing a dizzying array of 19 characters throughout the show. Payne describes JERSEY BOYS as one of the best jobs she has ever had.

Here’s a preview of Denise’s interview with Dabkowski:

Q: Tell me a bit about who you play in the show.

A: Well, this show is very interesting in terms of the ensemble, because the only people who remain the same characters throughout are the four members of the Four Seasons. The rest of us play everything else that supports their story…

My biggest character is Frankie Valli’s daughter, who is a troubled girl. I also play his mother at one point. I play a hooker, I play Frankie Nolan. I run the gamut, pretty much, of every female age, look, hairstyle, that you could ever imagine. So for me it’s like a revolving door of quick changes in act one. I’m on in almost every scene as someone different.

Q: Do you ever hit snags, say where you don’t get the wig on completely or something and you just have to wing it?

A: The only one thing that did happen to me once is, when we were singing ‘Oh, What a Night,’ I play this hooker who kind of deflowers [Four Seasons singer-songwriter] Bob Gaudio. I’m in this little red negligee, and I have these spiky heels on, and my heel went through the back of my negligee, so I couldn’t stand up straight because my heel was pulling my dress fully backwards. So I had to kind of like walk upstairs but I probably looked like I had some kind of paralysis.

We laughed so hard. The spot operator said he almost turned my spotlight off because I looked so bad. But that’s the only thing that’s ever gone wrong, luckily.

Visit BuffaloNews.com to read Denise’s full interview.

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